AAPI Heritage Month
May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is the month to recognize the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. According to Asian Pacific Heritage, Asia/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).
As a Filipino born, Chinese American, I am proud to acknowledge how my Asian heritage has impacted my life and growth as a person and mental health provider. Here are some ways to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month inspired by United Way:
Explore AAPI History: A great way to learn about the AAPI experience in the US, check out the 5 episode series by PBS that “chronicles the contributions, and challenges of Asian Americans, the fastest-growing ethnic group in America.”
Read books with AAPI connections: Next time you check out a book at your local library or buy a book at a local bookstore, ask staff there to recommend books written by AAPI authors. My personal recommendation for fiction is Haruki Murakami and the book “After the Quake”
Watch a movie: When it comes to Asian cinema, I’m a fan of anime. A great director to watch is Hayao Miyazaki and movies like “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “Spirited Away.” For non-anime options, check out this BuzzFeed article.
Explore Asian/Pacific art: With art, I’m always an appreciator of Japanese block print art by Hokusa and contemporary art by Yayoi Kusamai. I have found joy in seeing the Asian art collections at museums like the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA or the Harvard Art Museum in Cambridge, MA.
Try Asian/Pacific cuisine: There are so many great restaurants in the Boston, Cambridge, Somerville area when it comes to great Asian/Pacific cuisine. Take a look at this article by Boston.com for food recommendations owned by people in the AAPI community.
Lou Lim, LMHC, REAT is a licensed mental health counselor and registered expressive arts therapist (REAT) with a master's degree in Expressive Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. He is a member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and on the committee for REAT credentialing. He has 13 years of experience in counseling and expressive therapy working with children, adolescents, teenagers, adults, and retirees.
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