We are nearing the end of the school year, with all the awards ceremonies, field days, game days and other activities.
Yesterday my kids brought home an “itinerary” of sort to let the parents know what is going on.
The first thing on the list is “Asian Pacific Islander Assembly”.
When I read that I could not imagine what in the world that meant. So I went to the Internet and found out that May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.
Here is a quote from the About page:
May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian-Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).
Like most commemorative months, Asian-Pacific Heritage Month originated in a congressional bill. In June 1977, Reps. Frank Horton of New York and Norman Y. Mineta of California introduced a House resolution that called upon the president to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. The following month, senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga introduced a similar bill in the Senate. Both were passed. On October 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a Joint Resolution designating the annual celebration. Twelve years later, President George H.W. Bush signed an extension making the week-long celebration into a month-long celebration. In 1992, the official designation of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law.
The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.
So now we’ve gone from being hyphenated to all out leaving off the “American”.
The year I was born, the actor John Wayne came out with a record entitled, “America- Why I Love Her” that my Dad used to play all the time. It was re-released on CD in 2001 after the attacks on The World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The above video/poem/song defines what has been going on for years in this country. It frustrates me because there is one man that could have gone down in history as the greatest unifier is instead the greatest divider of all time. Barack Obama has made history. He is the first black man to be President of The United States of America! His life and attitude is living proof of how our actions bring about consequences. Rather than working diligently to unite a country that has been growing more and more divided over the years he is in fact intensifying the division and playing on it from his leadership position. He is outright exploiting every American- black, white, brown, yellow or red.
If you have never heard the entire CD I strongly encourage you to purchase it. Memorize it. It is embedded in my memory from years and years of being played in my home.
At this new “classification” shows, we’ve now skipped right over the hyphen. Now we are celebrating “different people in the United States”, not different people coming together as one united United States. The “official” name of Month is Asian-Pacific American Month. In one place it is called “Asian-Pacific Heritage Month”. Now, the common name it is known by is “Asian-Pacific Islander Month”. Hmmmm… what is missing in that last one? Yes! You noticed it too, didn’t you?! There is no “American” in there! It is a slippery slope, indeed, when you start to hyphenate and divide.
I am the first person who is all about celebrating and learning about the different heritages of our nation. As a mom of five adopted children of a different race it is vital to me to make sure my children know their heritage. However, my husband and I teach them that though their heritage is different, they are are AMERICAN! We do not hyphenate their heritage, just as we do not hyphenate our heritage.
We are ALL immigrants of some kind from some where.
My question is when are we going to have an AMERICAN HERITAGE month where it’s not about race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation or anything that divides us? When are we going to drop the hyphens- period?! If we seek to divide for any reason- heritage or otherwise- we will NEVER be united!