May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and Gallopade is celebrating by bringing you information, activities, and titles that can help expand your knowledge about the fantastic accomplishments of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders throughout history. To get things started, we encourage you to travel through time and listen to engaging stories related to various objects and pieces of art that can be found at the Asian Art Museum. Each virtual tour lasts about 20 minutes and is guided by various curatorial assistants, curators, and CEOs. You'll find yourself immersed in the art and culture of some of the most popular exhibits, including Korean Ceramics and Bronze: China's Power Metal.
From the art world to the political sphere and beyond, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have put their own stamp on history!
Kamala Harris is the 49th Vice President of the United States of America. She is not only the first female to take office, but she is also the highest-ranking female serving in the federal government, in this position, in U.S. history. Additionally, she is the first Black American and the first Indian American to serve as vice president.
Vice President Harris was born in Oakland, California, and is a second-generation American. Her mother was Indian, and her father was Jamaican, and they emigrated to the U.S. and attended UC Berkeley. While there, they met during a civil rights protest. Their activism in the civil rights movement played a huge role in encouraging their daughter to pursue a career in politics.
Vice President Harris began her political career in the District Attorney's Office in Alameda County. Harris didn't remain there for long because she was moved to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office and, soon after, the City Attorney of San Francisco Office. As she moved from office to office, she collected a wealth of knowledge and was able to use that as she moved her way up the political ladder.
From district attorney to vice president and beyond, there's going to be much more to come from Harris, and we can't wait to watch!
Queen Lili’uokalani reigned from 1891 until the U.S.'s unlawful overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government in 1893. She was the first — and last — ruling queen of Hawai’i. After the overthrow of her kingdom, she was imprisoned, but this didn't stop her from penning her autobiography, Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen.
Also, during her time in prison, she advocated for the release of her supporters that were thrown in jail. An excerpt from her book reads:
"For myself, I would have chosen death rather than to have signed it; but it was represented to me that by my signing this paper all the persons who had been arrested, all my people now in trouble by reason of their love and loyalty towards me, would be immediately released. Think of my position, – sick, a lone woman in prison, scarcely knowing who was my friend, or who listened to my words only to betray me, without legal advice or friendly counsel, and the stream of blood ready to flow unless it was stayed by my pen."
Not only was she a humanitarian and author, but she was also a skilled songstress. She could play five different instruments, including the piano, ukulele, zither, guitar, and organ. In her music, she sang and wrote about her culture, people, and other political views.
Beginning in 1943, incarcerated Japanese American men were required to register for the military draft during World War II. One of these men, Frank Emi, believed this was unconstitutional since the Japanese Americans had been stripped of their rights as American citizens by being forced to move to incarceration sites. Emi joined a group of men to form the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee to protest the draft.
Frank Emi was born in Los Angeles, California, and spent his life following WWII as a career civil servant fighting against the injustices committed against his community. When Emi wasn't fighting for his people, he practiced judo.
He was an eighth-degree black belt and became one of the master instructors for the sport. Emi also worked tirelessly alongside the Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress organization to bring awareness to the resistance to the draft and the experiences felt by Japanese Americans who lived inside these incarceration sites.
Join Us All Month-Long
There have been so many influential people from the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities that have strived to change things not only for their people but also for people around the world.
We encourage you to take some time and browse our Asian Pacific American Heritage Month titles to discover more about the people and places that shaped this rich cultural heritage. Stay tuned for more exciting Gallopade blogs filled with helpful information and resources for your reading pleasure, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more information about Asian Pacific American Heritage throughout May!