By Marci McFadden, Chief of Communications
Did you know the Asian American and Pacific Islander community is an inherently diverse population, composed of more than 45 distinct ethnicities and more than 100 language dialects According to the July 1, 2022, Census Bureau, Asians represent 6.1 percent and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders make up .3 percent of the total population of the United States.
California has the largest Asian American population in the United States, and the second highest proportion of Asian American residents after Hawaii; and in the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District Asian students make up 4.3 percent of the population, Filipinos make up 3.82 percent, and Native American or other Pacific Islanders make up 1.92 percent of the student population, and a little more than 13 percent (or 177 employees) of the classified staff and teachers are of Asian American or Pacific Islander descent.
Each May, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI Heritage Month) is an annual celebration that recognizes the historical and cultural contributions of individuals and groups of Asian and Pacific Islander descent to the United States. The month of May was selected for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month because the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the United States on May 7, 1843, and the first transcontinental railroad was completed on May 10, 1869, with substantial contributions from Chinese immigrants.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have played a key role in American history since the first Chinese immigrants arrived to the United States in the 1950s following the California Gold rush. There are numerous historical Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders contributors to the United States, including activists, actors, architects, athletes, artists, authors, activist, creators, doctors, entrepreneurs, inventors, musicians, performers, political leaders, scientists, singers, writers, and so many more.
The Monterey Peninsula Unified School District Board of Education declared May 2023 as Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District and urges all community members to celebrate and recognize the significant contributions that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders offer the community at large.