Looking Back: Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month 27 Years Ago

In the month of May we observe Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This year, the San Jose Public Library has held celebrations at Village Square and Seven Trees Branch libraries. The purpose of this observance is to honor the contributions of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans to our nation’s culture and progress.

Image: The program for the libary's Asian/Pacific American Heritage Celebration on May 12, 1990. The program was designed by myself and librarian June Hayashi (first director of the library's Partners In Reading program).

Image: The program cover for the libary's Asian/Pacific American Heritage Celebration on May 12, 1990. The program was designed by librarian June Hayashi (first director of the library's Partners In Reading program) and myself.

Image: Contents of the program show a timeline of the day's scheduled events, as well as the booths set up in the library's McDaniel Community Room. 

Image: Contents of the program show a timeline of the day's scheduled events, as well as the booths set up in the library's McDaniel Community Room.

The observance began as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week in 1979 under President Jimmy Carter. In 1990, it was extended to a month long observance through a bill co-authored by then Congressman Norman Mineta. In May of 1990, the San Jose Public Library (and Friends of the San Jose Public Library), celebrated what was then called Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month with programs throughout the public library system, with five hour celebration that was held on May 12, 1990 at the old MLK Main Library on San Carlos Street.

Image: Librarian and event chairperson Susan Ma is shown in a video capture along with Congressman Norman Mineta (back), and Acting City Librarian Virginia Carpio (right). 

Image: Librarian and event chairperson Susan Ma is shown in a video capture along with Congressman Norman Mineta (back), and Acting City Librarian Virginia Carpio (right).

Image: The day's event get going with a rousing performance by the San Jose Taiko Group.

Image: The day's events get going with a rousing performance by the San Jose Taiko Group.

A crowd gathers on the balcony of a building and outside on the ground floor as the day's events get going with a rousing performance by the San Jose Taiko Group.

Image: This photo shows a portion of the audience in attendance. The strong wind that day presented an extra challenge to both the performers and the library staff assisting with the event.

The May 12 celebration planning committee consisted of the following library staff: Susan Ma, Chairperson, Margaret Fitch, Joan Goddard, June Hayashi, Patti Iwai, Wendy Kay, George Kobayashi, Maureen Kwok, Grace Liu, Vicki Mata, Judy Miller, Pat Nguyen, Ralph Pearce, Roberta Souza, Rita Torres, Doris Tseng, Marianna Tubman, Diane White, and Tony Wong.

Further Reading in the California Room:

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