Every May the DC Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (MOAPIA) celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is celebrated in May to commemorate the contributions of people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the United States. During the month, Asian Americans around the nation celebrate with community festivals, government-sponsored activities, and educational activities.
Congress passed a joint Congressional Resolution in 1978 to commemorate Asian American Heritage Week during the first week of May. This date was chosen because two important anniversaries occurred during this time: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in America on May 7, 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad (by many Chinese laborers) on May 10, 1869.
Congress later voted to expand it from a week long to a month long celebration. According to the 2000 Census Bureau, the Asian-American community is the fastest growing group in the DC Metro Area. Over the last decade, the number of Asians who have relocated to the DC area has increased by approximately 30 percent.