Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (as of 2009, officially changed from Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month) is observed in the United States during the month of May, and recognizes the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. A rather broad term, Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.
In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Williams & Connolly asked Discovery Attorney Alexander Sun to reflect on the importance of his identity and the importance of this heritage month being more widely observed.
“Asian American and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month is especially important and meaningful to me because it provides visibility to a community that I belong to and am proud of, that for so long has been overlooked and ignored in our national discussion. Growing up in Tampa, Florida, I almost never heard of any Asian-Americans mentioned in either government statistics, news reporting, or history lessons, except for maybe a fleeting reference to how Chinese laborers helped build the transcontinental railroad or how Japanese-Americans were unfairly interned in concentration camps during World War II. No one likes to feel like they are on the outside looking in, ignored, and undervalued. I think it's part of the universal human condition to want to be recognized, respected, and embraced, be that as a veteran, parent, or member of a heritage group that may have at times been underappreciated or not always given due recognition. Be it celebrating or honoring a whole month or just March 17 or November 11, it means being included in our collective, national consciousness -- and that counts for a lot.”
-Alexander Sun, Discovery Attorney