HISTORY OF ASIAN PACIFIC HERITAGE MONTH
Inspired by proclamations for Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage Week, Ms. Jeannie Jew and Ms. Ruby Moy, congressional staffers, sought to have similar legislation enacted for Asian Americans. The nationwide effort was coordinated by the National Coalition for a Pacific/Asian American Heritage Proclamation, founded and chaired by Jeannie F. Jew, an OCA National Board member. Also involved with the founding of this celebration was K.L. Wang, founder of OCA.
June 1977: Representative Frank Horton (R-NY) and Norman Y. Mineta (D-CA) introduce Pacific/Asian Heritage Week (House Resolution 540) in the House of Representatives, which calls upon the President to proclaim the first ten days of May as Pacific/Asian Heritage Week.
July 19, 1977: Senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga introduce SJ Res. 72 into the Senate, similar to legislation introduced by Frank Horton and Norman Mineta in the House.
July 10, 1978: House Representatives pass legislation to proclaim an Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week next year in May. This proclamation must be obtained yearly because the final Joint Resolution did not contain an annual designation.
October 5, 1978: President Jimmy Carter signs the Joint Resolution.
May 7, 1990: Asian Pacific American leaders around the country gathered at the White House to witness the signing of a proclamation by George Bush, declaring May to be Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
May 6, 1991: President Bush signed a proclamation designating May 1991 and May 1992 as "Asian Pacific American Heritage Month."
October 23, 1992: President Bush signed legislation into law to designate May of each year as "Asian Pacific American Heritage Month." The law (HR 5572), introduced by Rep. Frank Horton (R-NY) and Norman Mineta (D-CA) was approved unanimously by the House of Representatives and the Senate during the102nd Congress.