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Asian Pacific American Heritage

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebrates generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, who enrich and contribute to American history, society, and culture. Prince George’s County is home to over 40,000 Asian Americans and 2,000 Native Hawaiians & Pacific Islanders (2020 US Census). “Asian American” and “Pacific Islander” are large and imperfect terms. These communities include East Asians, South Asians, Southeast Asians, Central Asians, West Asians, Polynesians, Melanesians, Micronesians, and their diasporas, including Indo-Caribbeans.

Prabal Gurung

Prabal Gurung

American politician Norman Mineta (born 1931), was the first Prabal Gurung's feminine and artfully constructed womenswear helped earn him the coveted Swarovski Emerging Womenswear Designer of the Year Award in 2011. Gurung's designs are worn by first lady Michelle Obama and Britain's Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton, among other high-profile figures. "I'm making investment clothes," he explained to WWD writer Sarah Haight about his ethos. "A few very well-made pieces will always be better than a whole closet of mediocre ones."

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Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson, also known as The Rock, was the youngest champion in World Wrestling Federation (WWF) history. Johnson's exotic looks--and impressive physique--helped make him one of the top-earning personalities in his field throughout the 1990s and 2000s. His 2000 autobiography, The Rock Says...: The Most Electrifying Man in Sports-Entertainment, spent five months on the New York Times best-seller list, and the following year Johnson made his feature-film debut in The Mummy Returns. Since then Johnson has made a name for himself outside the wrestling ring with action films such as The Scorpion King (2002), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), and several installments of the Fast & the Furious franchise; children's films such as Tooth Fairy (2010) and Moana (2016), and even comedies such as The Other Guys (2010), Pain & Gain (2013), and Baywatch (2017). In 2011 Johnson returned to the ring as The Rock and routinely appeared in the wrestling ring over the next decade. In 2015 he starred in his first ever television series, Ballers, a sports comedy that saw its fifth season premiere in 2019.

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Anderson .Paak

Anderson .Paak

Singer, rapper, and drummer Anderson .Paak made a breakthrough in 2015 with his guest appearance on six tracks on Dr. Dre's comeback album, Compton. A native of Oxnard, California, north of Los Angeles, .Paak had been making music since he was a teenager, releasing a handful of recordings under the moniker Breezy Lovejoy. His first album as Anderson .Paak, 2014's Venice, generated buzz in Los Angeles and landed him on Rolling Stone 's list of artists to watch, but it was his collaboration with Dr. Dre that thrust him into the spotlight. .Paak's 2016 album Malibu, released by Dre's Aftermath Entertainment imprint, earned critical acclaim for its deft mélange of L.A. styles, incorporating hip-hop with classic soul, funk, R&B, and other genres. It received two Grammy Award nominations for best new artist and best urban contemporary album. Regarded as a promising artist on the vanguard of hip-hop and R&B, .Paak has earned comparisons to Stevie Wonder and Kendrick Lamar. In 2019 .Paak won his first Grammy for best rap performance for the song “Bubblin.” In 2020, he won Grammy Awards for best R&B album for Ventura and for best R&B performance for “Come Home.” The following year he took home the Grammy Award for best melodic rap performance for “Lockdown.” He also paired up with Bruno Mars for a new project called Silk Sonic.

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Maya Lin

Maya Lin

Once referred to as the "black gash of shame," according to Time's Jonathan Coleman, the memorial commemorating the nearly 60,000 American veterans who died in the Vietnam War has become the most popular landmark in Washington, D.C., attracting millions of visitors to its black granite walls to touch the carved names of the dead men and women who served during the 1960s and 1970s in America's most controversial military action. Maya Lin, the creator of this monument, was at first harshly criticized for her design, which many charged was unsentimental, degrading, even ugly; Lin herself was attacked on racial grounds, many vets believing that her heritage as a Chinese American made her an unacceptable memorialist. Since its 1982 unveiling, however, the massive monument has come to symbolize America's willingness to "not only finally...confront the outcome of the Viet Nam War but also to begin the long process of healing," wrote Coleman, who added that the memorial "made it possible for the country to come together and honor those who had served--those who had died and those who had come home to anything but a hero's welcome."

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Moanikeala Akaka

Moanikeala Akaka

Moanikeala Akaka was a Native Hawaiian activist who participated in many civil protests in her life. She was the founding mother of the renaissance of Hawaiian language and culture. Akaka was also an Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee. She was fondly dubbed “Aunty Moani,” and died from cancer in 2017.

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Urooj Arshad

Urooj Arshad

Urooj Arshad became an advocate for LGBTQ youth as a young adult. She went on to work with national organizations offering training and assistance to the LGBTQ community. She has frequently focused on outreach and advocacy for queer people of color.

Urooj Arshad was born in 1975 in Karachi, Pakistan. She grew up in a middle-class neighborhood and attended a private, all-girls school where classes were conducted in English. Her mother taught in a low-income school and was more religious than her father, who was from a higher-status family and indulged in practices such as drinking alcohol that were prohibited by Islam. Arshad noted that this caused friction at home and sent her mixed messages about religion.

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Maria Ressa

Maria Ressa

Filipino journalist Maria Ressa was one of the two Nobel Peace Prize laureates in 2021, an honor bestowed for her role as founder and chief executive officer of the news website Rappler. Harassed, arrested, and even subject to criminal prosecution, the US‐educated Ressa runs a media outlet that serves as a check against the increasingly autocratic regime of President Rodrigo Duterte. Her courage was recognized by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, particularly regarding the Duterte administration’s highly controversial war on drugs. “The number of deaths is so high that the campaign resembles a war waged against the country’s own population,” the Committee stated, according to the New York Times. “Ressa and Rappler have also documented how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents and manipulate public discourse.”

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Kalani Ohelo

Kalani Ohelo

The Indian American politician Dalip Singh Saund (1899-1973) was the first Asian American elected to the U.S. Congress.

An article on the IMDiversity Web site quoted Don Nakanishi, head of the Asian American Studies Center at the University of California at Los Angeles, as calling Saund "the unsung pioneer of Asian American electoral politics." His life story encompassed financial ups and downs, struggles against discrimination, and an unwavering devotion to the American ideals of freedom and equality that he had read about as a child in India--and to the universal ideals of human dignity that motivated his early activism on behalf of Indian independence and of his fellow Indian Americans. "My guideposts were two of the most beloved men in history, Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi," Saund wrote in his autobiography, Congressman from India.

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Dr. David Ho

Dr. David Ho

When Time magazine's 1996 Man of the Year announced that AIDS could be reversed, his bold pronouncements became fodder for sudden, intense publicity and controversy. If Dr. David Ho's treatment works, it might be the first time ever that doctors have found tools to eradicate a viral infection that has already entered the body. Ho's techniques, reported Christine Gorman in Time, "provided the first concrete evidence that HIV is not insurmountable," and promised to end "15 years of horror, denial and disappointment" in efforts to combat AIDS. Ho and his team of researchers, said Gorman "fundamentally changed the way scientists looked at the AIDS virus."

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Haing S. Ngor

Haing S. Ngor

A survivor of the reign of terror of the Khmer Rouge in his native Cambodia, Haing S. Ngor (1940-1996) became known for his role in the 1984 film The Killing Fields, which told of atrocities in Cambodia. Although a physician, not an actor, he won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for the film. Until his tragic death, Ngor was a human rights activist, using his fame and income to help refugees and to tell the story of the holocaust experienced by his people.

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Sunisa Lee

Sunisa Lee

Sunisa "Suni" Lee is an American artistic gymnast and Olympic champion. When she competed at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, she became the first Hmong-American Olympian. At the Olympics, Lee filled in on the floor exercise after Simone Biles withdrew from the team competition. Lee's uneven bar score of 15.400 tied the highest mark of the competition and helped Team USA to a silver medal. Lee also earned the all-around gold medal and a bronze medal on the uneven bars to take home a total of three medals from the Tokyo games. Following the Olympics, she signed on to appear on Dancing with the Stars, the seventh Olympic gymnast to appear on the show.

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Kalpana Chawla

Kalpana Chawla

Her family's legacy was one of triumph over tragedy, and for Kalpana Chawla, the dream of adding to her family's legacy materialized when she went became the first Indian woman to go up in space in 1997. On February 1, 2003, as a member of the ill-fated Columbia shuttle crew, Chawla would be honored for a life she lived too briefly--but during which she realized spectacular achievements against great odds.

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Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink

Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink

While representing Hawaii for nearly 20 years in Congress, Representative Patsy Takemoto Mink (born 1927) made great strides toward peace, women's rights, civil rights, equality and justice.

On January 3, 1965, Patsy Takemoto Mink was the first Japanese-American woman and the first woman of color to be elected to the United States Congress. Breaking new ground for women and ethnic groups, though, was nothing new for her. The road to Congress was paved with many firsts, such as being elected the first female class president in her high school and being the first Japanese-American woman to practice law in Hawaii. Mink's dedication to helping others has resulted in legislative reforms in health care, education, women's rights, civil rights, conservation, employment and environmental affairs.

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Phillip Villamin Vera Cruz

Phillip Villamin Vera Cruz

Phillip Villamin Vera Cruz was a longtime leader of the movement, begun in the 1960s, to unionize the nation's farmworkers, especially the immigrant, itinerant workers who do much of the back-breaking, extremely low-paying work on the majority of America's large non-grain farms. Vera Cruz was a leader of the successful Filipino-led sitdown strike in the vineyards of Coachella, California, in 1965. It was this galvanizing event that led to the creation of the United Farmworkers of America.

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Yuri Kochiyama

Yuri Kochiyama

Yuri Kochiyama was best known for her work as a civil rights activist, starting in the 1960s. Kochiyama was friends with Malcom X, and was with him when he died. She promoted equal rights for African Americans and for women.

Mary Yuriko Nakahara was born in 1921 to parents who were Japanese immigrants. Her father owned his own fish and marine business, while her mother taught piano. She grew up in San Pedro, California. At San Pedro High School she was involved in sports and wrote a sports column for the San Pedro News-Pilot. She attended Compton Community College, where she studied journalism. However, her life changed when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.

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Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka is a Japanese tennis player renowned for her amazing serve speed, which clocked in at 124 miles per hour at the 2016 U.S. Open. In 2018 Osaka made headlines when she beat Serena Williams, arguably the best tennis player in the world at the time, at the U.S. Open. With the win, Osaka became the first Japanese tennis player to win a Grand Slam title. She went on to win the U.S. Open again in 2020 as well as the Australian Open in 2019 and 2021. Osaka became embroiled in controversy later in 2021 when she withdrew from the French Open after she was fined for refusing to answer questions from the media. Her stance brought to light the conflict between athletes’ obligations to their sport and their own mental health.

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Maitreyi Ramakrishnan

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan is a Canadian actress. She is best known for her role as Devi Vishwakumar in the Netflix series Never Have I Ever (2020-2023) and as Priya in the 2022 Pixar movie Turning Red. In 2022 she received the Radius Award from the Canadian Screen Awards.

Ramakrishnan was born in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. She was raised there and graduated from Meadowvale Secondary School. Ramakrishnan is of Tamil ethnicity and her parents were refugees who moved to Canada to escape war in Sri Lanka. She said that as a child she wanted to work in animation but later changed her dream.

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Roshani Chokshi

Roshani Chokshi

Roshani Chokshi has been celebrated by critics as a new and original voice in young-adult fantasy. Her debut novel, The Star-Touched Queen, "follows Maya, a teen with a cursed horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction," stated Shelley Diaz in School Library Journal. "Though she would rather be studying in the library, the young woman is pushed into a union of political convenience, which sets her off on a course of adventure, love, and, of course, demise and ruin." "Just before that fateful moment ... a mysterious stranger walks into her room and makes an offer she can't refuse: to become the queen of the fairway kingdom of Akaran," wrote Ana Grilo in the Book Smugglers. "For Maya, the prospect of taking her life in her own hands is good enough to make her accept Amar's offer, in spite of any misgivings or doubts she might have. But Akaran is more than a kingdom: it is a place of otherworldly lore, of silent walls, of shadows and light--and Amar tells her all of its secrets will be revealed." However, explained a contributor to Nice Girls Read Books, Akaran has "thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most ... including herself." Featuring "a swoony romance, betrayal, and a journey to power and self-affirmation, with a slightly wicked, slightly funny animal sidekick," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor, the book delights readers. "If you love fantasy, or you just want to try something new," wrote a TeenReads reviewer, "pick up this fantastic debut novel and it will be so much more than you expected."

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Kahlil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran

Gibran (Jubran Khalil Jubran) was born at Bshirri in northern Lebanon and in the late 1880s moved to the United States with his sisters. He is known in the West for his book The Prophet, and in the Arab world for his contributions to the reformation of the modern usage of the Arabic language. He wrote in prose and poetry, and excelled in both. He ignored the rigid, traditional forms and called for free artistic expressions. Gibran was nonconformist: He opposed the dominance of the clerical establishment and called for the modernization of the Middle East without copying Western models.

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Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi

New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2020 for Jojo Rabbit, his slyly humorous yet emotionally harrowing portrait of a ten‐year‐old boy in Nazi Germany. He also directed it and appeared as little Johannes’s imaginary friend, a cartoonish doppelgänger of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Jojo Rabbit received mostly positive reviews but Waititi made Academy Award history as the first person of indigenous roots to be nominated in the screenplay category and also as the first Maori to win an Oscar for a screenplay. In 2021 he won his first Grammy Award.

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Lana Condor

Lana Condor

Lana Condor is an American actress known for her roles in films such as X-Men: Apocalypse and To All the Boys I've Loved Before. Condor has also appeared in the films Patriot Day (2016) and Summer Night (2018). Condor was cast in the James Cameron-penned sci-fi/action film Alita: Battle Angel, scheduled for release in 2019. She also signed on to costar in the SyFy channel original series Deadly Class, set to premiere in 2019.

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Daniel K. Akaka

Daniel K. Akaka

While other politicians grandstand to win votes and impress colleagues, Senator Daniel K. Akaka has been a quiet presence in Congress. Keeping a low profile was one of his trademarks. But while the slight man with the salt-and-pepper hair quietly shunned the spotlight in Washington's beltway, he did not go unnoticed. Akaka was the first native Hawaiian ever to serve in the U.S. Senate. His political ambitions were simple: to preserve and bolster Hawaii's interests. So intensely devoted was he to his native land that in 1990 he delayed accepting an appointment to the U.S. Senate after serving in the U.S. House of Representatives for fourteen years until he could ensure that several projects in Hawaii would advance by the House Appropriations Committee. After first being elected to the Senate in 1990, Akaka won reelection in 1994, 2000, and 2006. In 2011, Akaka announced that he would retire when his term ended in 2012.

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Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong is a Vietnamese American writer whose debut novel, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, was showered with unreservedly approving accolades in 2019. A few months after its publication, he won a prestigious "genius grant" in the amount of $625,000 from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. One of Vuong's early champions was Ben Lerner, author of another 2019 standout novel The Topeka School and Vuong's undergraduate writing teacher at Brooklyn College. "It was unclear if Ocean was aware of the immensity of his talent," Lerner told New York Times writer Kevin Nguyen, "but everybody around him was." Vuong works as an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He also travels to give lectures at other institutions.

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Salman Khan<npg/h1>

Salman Khan

Salman Khan knows his numbers. When a young relative was having trouble in school, Khan tutored her over the phone. That long-distance assistance led to more students and eventually a series of videos featuring Khan and his lively illustrations. A few years later, the not-for-profit Khan Academy had six million students tuning in each month. Salman Khan was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. His father was born in Barisal, Bangladesh, and his mother was born in Calcutta, India. Khan earned his MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was president of the student body. He earned a master's degree in electrical engineering and computer science, a bachelor of science in electrical engineering and computer science, and a bachelor of science in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he was president of the class of 1998.

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Stop Asian Hate

Originally Asian Pacific Heritage Week, this celebration was created by a 1978 congressional bill sponsored by the U.S. Representatives Frank Horton and Norman Y. Mineta and U.S. Senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga. Twelve years later, President George H.W. Bush signed an extension making the week-long celebration into a month-long celebration. May was chosen because the first Japanese immigrant arrived in the United States in May of 1843 and the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad, on which many Chinese laborers worked, was held on May 10, 1869.


Sat, May 18, 11:00am - 12:00pm
Learn to appreciate art by listening to an interactive story and then creating a craft related to the theme.

Sat, May 18, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Bladensburg - Bladensburg Large Meeting Room
Discover the captivating blend of Bharathanatyam, an Indian Classical dance form with elements of Hip Hop culture. In this interactive demonstration and dance class, Chitra will offer social exchanges, movement exploration, and simple choreography. Designed to foster connections among participants, this inclusive experience welcomes individuals of all levels and ages!

Mon, May 20, 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Watch your favorite anime, talk about and preview new manga. Create art, comics, and costumes. Join fellow anime and manga fans. Participants can receive community service hours for this program.

Tue, May 21, 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Greenbelt - Auditorium
Explore science, technology, engineering and math. Drop in and make your very own Japanese-style Kakudako kite.

Tue, May 21, 4:30pm - 6:00pm
Oxon Hill
Listen to favorite stories read aloud and do related activities and games.

Tue, May 21, 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Watch your favorite anime, talk about and preview new manga. Create art, comics, and costumes. Join fellow anime and manga fans.

Tue, May 21, 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Mixt Food Hall - 3809 Rhode Island Ave, Brentwood, MD 20722
Join a lively discussion! This month the Mount Rainier Branch Library and Prince George’s County Office of Human Rights are discussing, "They Called Us Enemy" by George Takei, co-writers Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott, and artist Harmony Beckeri.

Tue, May 21, 6:30pm - 7:30pm
South Bowie - Large Meeting Room (213)
Have fun crafting and creating Cherry Blossom Trees! Supplies are provided.

Tue, May 21, 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Virtual Branch - PGCMLS Programming
Have a lively discussion about "Hula: A Novel" by Jasmin ʻIolani Hakes.

Wed, May 22, 3:30pm - 4:30pm
Bowie - Conference Room
Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with ‘A Scatter of Light’ by Malinda Lo; we will check out some art and poetry from the novel, chat about it, and listen to excerpts from the book. Snacks will be provided.

Wed, May 22, 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Upper Marlboro - Large Meeting Room
Enjoy your evening making crafts and learning a new skill. Hands-on learning with step-by-step instructions provided. Learn the history behind Zen gardening and how it can help with mental health and mindfulness. Supplies provided. Adults only.

Thu, May 23, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Upper Marlboro - Large Meeting Room
Step into the enchanting world of origami, where we'll be introduced to "Kamishibai," a captivating storytelling tradition blending illustrated paper cards and a scripted performance by the Japanese Information and Cultural Center.

Thu, May 23, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Virtual Branch
Join the Prince George’s County Office of Human Rights and the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System in conversation with author Jiaming Tang.

Tue, May 28, 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Listen to favorite stories read aloud and do related activities celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage.

Tue, May 28, 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Celebrate solidarity and diversity at this festive event presented by Council Member Wanika Fisher and Council Chair Jolene Ivey, honoring Asian Pacific Americans in our Prince George’s County community and beyond. Enjoy family fun, enlightening discussions, and delicious cultural cuisine.

Tue, May 28, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Upper Marlboro - Large Meeting Room
In this online tour presented by the National Museum of Asian Art, participants will have the opportunity to view stunning imagery and examine refined brushwork in a selection of Chinese handscrolls, hanging scrolls, and more. This event will take place in-person at the Upper Marlboro Branch Library, where attendees will gather to watch the live, online tour together.

Tue, May 28, 6:00pm - 6:45pm
Do you nerd out about "My Hero Academia," "Attack on Titan," "Demon Slayer," or "Sailor Moon"? Join the Manga and Anime Club! Come for discussions, activities, trailer screenings, and Japanese culture. All levels of fandom welcome.

Tue, May 28, 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Do you nerd out about "My Hero Academia," "Attack on Titan," "Demon Slayer," or "Sailor Moon"? Come to the Bladensburg Branch Library for a Manga and Anime Club Watch Party showing of “Liz and the Blue Bird." Watch the movie, meet people with similar interests, and explore our collection. All levels of fandom are welcome.

Wed, May 29, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Upper Marlboro - Large Meeting Room
Experience the serene beauty and harmonious melodies of traditional Japanese koto music. The koto, a 13-string instrument made of paulownia wood, is the epitome of elegance and simplicity, mirroring the tranquility of Japanese nature. Join us for a captivating performance showcasing the exquisite sounds of the koto, played with precision and grace.

Tue, Jun 25, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Upper Marlboro - Large Meeting Room
Have fun exploring, crafting and creating with hands-on experiments and activities. Suminagashi is a Japanese paper marbling technique. Transform plain paper with water and ink into something vibrant and colorful. Supplies are provided. Space is limited.

Wed, Jul 24, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Virtual Branch
The Prince George’s County Office of Human Rights and the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System welcome Thao Votang in conversation about her brand new novel, "Linh Ly Is Doing Just Fine."

Music Playlist on Freegal


Kanopy Videos


Kanopy is an online video streaming platform with 26,000 movies, doh2cumentaries, and indie and foreign films from over hundreds of producers including The Criterion Collection, The Great Courses, Kino Lorber, PBS, and thousands of independent filmmakers. Users are limited to 10 videos streamed every month.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Timeline



The first Filipinos in what would become the United States landed in Morro Bay, California


Filipino sailors traveled across the Gulf into Louisiana’s bayou country. These “Louisiana Manila men” are the oldest continuous Asian American settler community in North America.




John Newton, one of the earliest documented South Asians in the U.S., is listed in the Virginia Gazette as a runaway indentured servant.


In People v. Hall, the murder conviction against George W. Hall was reversed because all three witnesses were Chinese. This case established a precedent that Chinese Americans or Chinese immigrants could not legally testify against white people in court.




In the era’s largest labor strike, thousands of Chinese railroad workers for the Central Pacific Railroad Company stage a strike to demand equal pay to white laborers, shorter workdays, and better conditions.


First Japanese settlers arrived on the U.S. mainland, in California.




Naturalization Act of 1870 restricted naturalized citizenship to white and Black people.


 California’s Second Constitution prohibited the employment of Chinese people.




Chinese Exclusion Act suspended immigration of Chinese laborers for 10 years.


Philip Jaisohn arrived in the U.S. as a political exile, becoming the first Korean to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen




In Yick Wo v. Hopkins, the Supreme Court ruled that the discriminatory enforcement of race-neutral laws is unconstitutional, regardless of how impartial the law is written. Yick Wo and Wo Lee had been imprisoned by the San Francisco Sheriff for operating a laundromat without a permit. However, the city had not granted permits to any Chinese-owned laundromats, which accounted for nearly 90% of San Francisco’s laundromats at the time.


Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom: a minority of subjects of the Hawaiian Kingdom and foreign nationals, which included citizens of the United States, met to organize a takeover of the political rights of the native population in the Kingdom.




The U.S. invaded the Hawaiian Kingdom and overthrew Queen Liliʻuokalani.


The U.S. occupied Guam after the Spanish-American War and the Treaty of Paris of 1898.




The U.S. annexed eastern Samoa, and Germany annexeds the western part of the islands.


Five hundred white men violently attacked two hundred South Asian migrant workers in Bellingham, Washington to expel them from town. Within ten days, the entire South Asian population fled Bellingham to seek safer conditions.




Duke Kahanamoku, a Native Hawaiian athlete and actor, won his first of five gold medals in swimming at the Stockholm Olympics.


American Samoa’s Mau movement for independence from American colonialism was suppressed by the U.S. Navy. Samuel Sailele Ripley, who led the movement, was exiled from American Samoa but later served as mayor of Richmond, California.




In United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, the Supreme Court ruled that South Asians cannot be naturalized.


Immigration Act of 1924 effectively prohibited immigration of all Asians.




With Executive Order 9066, the U.S. incarcerated 120,000 Japanese Americans in concentration camps.


Chinese-born American artist Tyrus Wong worked as a lead production illustrator on Disney's Bambi, taking inspiration from Song dynasty art.




Congress repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act and granted naturalization rights.


The Philippines gained independence from the United States.




The Luce-Celler Act permitted Filipinos and Indians to immigrate and granted them naturalization rights.


Wing Ong is first Asian American elected to state office (Arizona).




U.S. granted 5,000 educated Chinese refugee status after Chairman Mao Zedong established the People’s Republic of China


Guam Organic Act of 1950 established Guam as an unincorporated organized territory of the United States.




Dalip Singh Saund of California became the first Indian American in Congress.


Hiram Fong of Hawaii became the first Chinese American in the Senate.




Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii became the first Japanese American in Congress.


Patsy Takemoto Mink of Hawaii became the first nonwhite woman in Congress. 




Seeking fair pay and safe working conditions, the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, made up mostly of Filipino farmworkers, began a five-year-long Delano Grape strike in California that prompted a global grape boycott.


Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 eliminated national-origins quota system and granted immigration priority to relatives of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, professionals and other individuals with specialized skills, and refugees.




Emma Gee and Yuji Ichiok coined the term “Asian American” by creating the University of California, Berkeley’s Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA). AAPA would later be part of the third world Liberation Front, which demanded that the University support the scholarship and underemphasized histories of African Americans, Asian Americans, Chicanos/Chicanas, and Native Americans.


Vietnam war ends, leading to over one million people to migrate from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos to the U.S.




Chinese American Physicist Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu became the first woman to be president of the American Physical Society.


Native Hawaiian musician and activist George Helm Jr. and his organization Hui Alaloa led an effort to end the bombing of the island Kaho’olawe by the U.S. Navy for target practice bombings.




First Asian/Pacific American heritage Week was celebrated.


Vincent Chin, a Chinese American in Detroit, was killed by two white men because they thought Chin looked Japanese. The two men faced minimal consequences, spurring protests and outrage that united the Asian American community.




The Free Chol Soo Lee movement successfully freed Lee, a Korean immigrant, from death row after he was wrongfully convicted in a San Francisco Chinatown murder. After reporter K.W. Lee shed light on the problematic police investigation and trial, widespread support for a remarkable grassroots social movement ensued. This movement united diverse groups of Asian and Asian Americans in a common cause of justice and freedom for Lee.


Ellison Onizuka became the first Asian American astronaut in space.




Haing S. Ngor, Cambodian American surgeon and actor, became the first actor of Asian descent to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his debut performance in “The Killing Fields.”


Gerald Tsai of American Can became the first Asian American CEO of a Fortune 500 company.




After a decade of campaigning from the Japanese American Citizens’ League, the U.S. granted $20,000 in reparations to each survivor of incarceration during World War II.


Amerasian Homecoming Act allowed children born to Vietnamese mothers and U.S. servicemen to immigrate.




Jay Kim of California became the first Korean American in Congress.


Several women including Helen Zia, Christina M. Regalado, Dawn-Thanh Nguyen, Lisa Hasegawa, and Kiran Ahuja founded the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum to address six central issues: civil rights, economic justice, educational access, ending violence against women, health, and immigrant and refugee rights.




Gary Locke of Washington became the first Asian American governor of a mainland state.


Andrea Jung of Avon became the first nonwhite woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company.




Secretary of Commerce Norman Mineta became the first Asian American Cabinet member.


Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao became the first woman Asian American Cabinet member.




Organizations such as the Sikh Coalition and South Asian Americans Leading Together mobilized after the rise in violence against and surveillance of Muslim, Sikh, South Asian, and Arab American communities following 9/11.


Dr. Wen Ho Lee, a U.S. citizen, was charged with spying for China; a federal judge later apologizes to Lee for being “led astray” by the Department of Justice.




Kalpana Chawla, the first woman of Indian descent to go into space, was one of seven crew members who died on the Columbia Space shuttle.


Bobby Jindal of Louisiana became the first Indian American governor.




Apolo Anton Ohno became the most decorated American Winter Olympian, with eight medals.


Nikki Haley of South Carolina became the first woman Indian American governor.




Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Bros. became the first nonwhite CEO of a major Hollywood studio.


First Asian American U.S. Marine Officer, Maj. Kurt Chew-Een Lee, died at the age of 88.




Kamala Harris became the first woman, first Black person and first Asian American to serve as Vice President of the United States.


California State University became the first university system in the U.S. to add caste to its anti-discrimination policy. This move followed years of on-campus interfaith and inter-caste activist work, including that of Nepali American Dalit social worker Prem Pariyar.


Online Exhibits

Community Resources

  • Asian American Health Initiative (AAHI) - AAHI's mission is to improve the health and wellness of Asian American communities in Montgomery County by applying equity, community engagement, and data-driven approaches.
  • Asian American Youth Leadership Empowerment and Development (AALEAD) - AALEAD’s mission is to support low-income and underserved Asian Pacific American youth in the DMV with educational empowerment, identity development, and leadership opportunities through after school, summer, and mentoring programs.
  • Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project (DVRP) - DVRP’s mission is to address, prevent, and end domestic violence and sexual assault in Asian/Pacific Islander communities in the DMV while empowering survivors to rebuild their lives after abuse.
  • Hālau Nohona Hawaiʻi - Hālau Nohona Hawaiʻi refers to all things anchored in Hawaiian; living the Hawaiian way. This Hawaiian cultural organization serves members of the DMV community. Their goal is to enrich and make a positive impact on their communities by sharing the spirit of aloha.
  • Asian American Studies Program at the University of Maryland (AAST) - AAST is an ethnic studies program that focuses on the histories, identities, and experiences of persons who have immigrant and ancestral ties to any region of Asia and the Pacific..
  • Asian and Pacific Islander Queers United for Action (AQUA) - AQUA is a social and advocacy organization for the queer and transgender members of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities in the DMV.
  • KhushDC - KhushDC serves the DMV's South Asian LGBTQ population through social events, political rallies and educational forums.
  • 1882 Foundation - The 1882 Foundation seeks to broaden public awareness of the history and continuing significance of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
  • Chinese Culture and Community Center, Inc. (CCACC) - CCACC serves, strengthens, and celebrates the Chinese American community. Based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, CCACC provides services to children, seniors, the low-income, non-native English speakers, and anyone who is in need of assistance. They offer educational, healthcare, senior, and recreational services to all community members. 
  • Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs - The Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs engages, educates, and empowers the AAPI community in Maryland.  It advises the government, advances solutions, and serves as a resource to ensure the economic, educational, health, and social well-being of Asian American and Pacific Islander constituents.
  • Governor’s Commission on South Asian American Affairs - The Governor's Commission on South Asian American Affairs engages, educates, and empowers the South Asian American community in Maryland. It advocates for South Asian cultures, promotes economic development, supports interfaith dialogues and religious diversity, and bridges disparities in Asian communities.
  • Asian Reading Room in the Library of Congress - The Asian Reading Room is where the public and scholars alike may freely access more than 4 million physical items that make up the Asian collections housed at the Library of Congress. These materials encompass approximately 200 languages and dialects from across Asia, including Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Thai, Tibetan, Urdu, Vietnamese, and many others.
  • Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center - The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center brings history, art and culture to you through innovative museum experiences and digital initiatives.
  • Afghan Home USA - Afghan Home USA serves the Afghan community of the DMV area and beyond through educational, fundraising, social, and cultural activities..
  • Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center - APALRC’s mission is to advance the civil and legal rights of Asian Americans through community legal education, individual representation, and systemic advocacy.
  • Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) - AAPIP is a justice-minded national philanthropy serving organization that provides unique community spaces for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and allies in philanthropy.
  • Japanese American Citizen League - The Japanese American Citizens League is a national organization whose mission is to secure and safeguard the civil and human rights of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans and all communities who are affected by injustice and bigotry. The leaders and members of the JACL also work to promote and preserve the heritage and legacy of the Japanese American Community.
  • US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation (USPAACC) - USPAACC’s mission is to be the gateway to corporate and government contracts, Pan Asian American (includes East, South and Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander) suppliers, information about Asian Americans and the Asia-Pacific and Indian Subcontinent markets.
  • National Park Service on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage - As the nation’s storyteller, the National Park Service strives to tell the stories of ordinary and extraordinary Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders preserved in our nation’s parks, memorials, and historic sites.
  • South Asian American Digital Archive - SAADA creates a more inclusive society by giving voice to South Asian Americans through documenting, preserving, and sharing stories that represent their unique and diverse experiences.
  • South Asian Americans Leading Together - South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national movement strategy and advocacy organization committed to racial justice through structural change, which means we focus on transforming institutions while leveraging incremental change as a means to shift conditions and power.
  • Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote - APIAVote is the nation’s leading nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to engaging, educating, and empowering Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities to strengthen their voices and create impact. For decades, our action-driven organization has led national initiatives to ensure AAPIs are represented and heard
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Rooted in the dreams of immigrants and inspired by the promise of opportunity, AAJC advocates for an America in which all Americans can benefit equally from, and contribute to, the American dream. Our mission is to advance the civil and human rights for Asian Americans and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all.
  • AAPI Data - AAPI Data is a nationally recognized publisher of demographic data and policy research on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, with hundreds of news mentions in national and local outlets.
  • National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance - The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance empowers LGBTQ+ Asians and Pacific Islanders through movement capacity building, policy advocacy, and representation.
  • Act to Change - Act To Change is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to end bullying for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) youth.
  • Empowering Pacific Islander Communities - EPIC advances social justice by engaging Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islanders in culture-centered advocacy, leadership development, and research.
  • Southeast Asia Resource Action Center - SEARAC is a national civil rights organization that empowers Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese American communities to create a socially just and equitable society. As representatives of the largest refugee community ever resettled in the United States, SEARAC stands together with other refugee communities, communities of color, and social justice movements in pursuit of social equity.
  • National Korean American Service & Education Consortium - NAKASEC imagines a future in which low- and middle-income, immigrant, people of color, and marginalized communities are working together as the change-makers. We have transformed cultures, power relationships, systems, and policies in the United States, all in a broader global context.
  • AAPI Women Lead - AAPI Women Lead and #ImReady Movement aims to strengthen the progressive political and social platforms of Asian and Pacific Islander communities in the US through the leadership of API women, girls, and gender-expansive communities.
  • Asian Pacific American Librarians Association - APALA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing leadership opportunities through informed dialogue that addresses the needs of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander library workers and those who serve these communities.
  • Asian Prisoner Support Committee - The mission of the Asian Prisoner Support Committee (APSC) is to provide direct support to Asian and Pacific Islander (API) prisoners and to raise awareness about the growing number of APIs being imprisoned, detained, and deported.
  • American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee - ADC is a civil rights organization committed to defending the rights of people of Arab descent and promoting their rich cultural heritage.
  • Arab American Foundation - The mission of AAF is to promote the Arab heritage, educate Americans about the Arab identity, and to empower and connect Arab Americans with each other and with diverse organizations across the U.S.
  • Equality Labs - Equality Labs is a Dalit civil rights organization dedicated to ending caste apartheid, gender-based violence, Islamophobia, white supremacy and religious intolerance. We build power through advocacy, organizing, art, research, training, education, and digital security. We center the leadership of South Asian caste-oppressed, queer, and religious minority communities in an ongoing redefinition of South Asian identity across the world.
  • Ambedkar International Center - Create awareness, exchange knowledge, execute caste and human atrocity prevention actions and influence public policy outcomes facilitating every downtrodden’s upliftment in India by collaborating with the UN and Indian government channelized through the world-class Ambedkar International Center. 

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