Celebrate Asian Pacific American Month

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Annabel Monroe
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
In a celebration of long-honored traditions, heritage and culture, May is designated Asian-Pacific American Month. Malmstrom Air Force Base's multi-cultural and Asian Pacific committees will offer free festivities open to all.

"During Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we honor the perseverance of those who courageously reached for their hopes and dreams in a new land, and we celebrate the important impact the AAPI community has made on our Nation's progress," said President Barack Obama.

After a congressional bill passed in 1978, President Jimmy Carter finalized legislation in a Joint Resolution to recognize the first 10 days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week.  In 1992, President George H.W. Bush extended the celebration to cover the entire month.

May's significance is evident in the U.S.'s immigration history.  The transcontinental railroad was completed May 10, 1869, by primarily Chinese immigrants, just two decades after the first Japanese immigrants arrived May 7, 1843.

"My family is originally from the Philippines, my great grandmother brought my family to Hawaii to live a better life," said 2nd Lt. Marie-AnnJanette M. Verdida, 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron officer in charge of facility maintenance. "My family has a history of serving. My Dad served in the Navy and my brother is currently serving in the Navy.

"I chose to serve because I come from a military background and want to be part of something bigger than myself, to better myself and my country," Verdida added.

Serving honorably since the War of 1812, a rich history stands behind Asian Pacific Islanders in the Armed Forces.  A recent census reports 52,433 Asian Americans currently serve. According to the most recent Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity, there are 2,966 Asian American Pacific Islander officers in the Air Force.

Members of the multi-cultural committee and Asian Pacific committee are eager to celebrate this heritage.

"I was thrilled to be part of this committee because everyone was so excited to help and give suggestions," said 1st Lt. Mayrem Morales, Asian Pacific committee president. "We have decided to host two different events this month, in hopes of sharing how vibrant and festive Asian Pacific culture is.  We are also very excited about our booth at the multi-cultural fair July 8, so make sure to check us out then!"

The two upcoming events include:

Sushi rolling class: May 21, 5-7 p.m.
This is how WE ROLL - come learn how to make sushi, hosted at the Malmstrom AFB Chapel Annex. All sushi will be cooked. RSVP to 1st Lt. Mayrem Morales at 731-7642, limited seating available. 

Lei making class: May 29, 4-6 p.m.
Learn to make a lei, just in time for graduation, hosted at the Malmstrom AFB Chapel Annex. RSVP to 1st Lt. Mayrem Morales at 731-7642, limited seating available.