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Have you read Bold Words: A Century of Asian American Writing* or seen the film The Fabulous Filipino Brothers^? Do you know about Senator Tammy Duckworth**? Today is the last day of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2021, but there are always more stories to explore about the AAPI people who have shaped and continue to shape the U.S. through art, policy, and more. Check out this round up of stories that celebrate AAPI Heritage Month from AsAmNews, a curated selection of headlines and blogs about Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. And remember to stay curious.
* Sixty authors of Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, South Asian, and Southeast Asian American origin published together in one anthology edited by Rajini Srikanth and Ester Y. Iwanaga.
^ The directorial debut of Dante Basco, who plays himself along with his real-life brothers in a film that explores love, romance, and family.
** A war veteran and Purple Heart recipient. After she lost her legs in a helicopter accident in Iraq, she advocated for war veterans. As an Illinois senator, she has been outspoken about issues that impact communities of color.
Born and raised in Punjab Province, British India, Dalip Singh Saund earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Punjab in 1919. He continued his studies at the University of California, Berkeley, receiving his PhD in mathematics four years later. Saund became a citizen in 1949, and in 1956 won the congressional seat in California’s 29th district, his home district. He served three terms in congress and was known as a staunch supporter of farmers and civil rights legislation.
Painting by Jon R. Friedman, Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
CAP-HC has recently partnered with A Mother's Love to provide support for Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park. Learn more about this partnership backed by funding from the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash
On February 19, 1952, Amy Tan was born in the U.S. to immigrant parents from China. After the loss of her older brother and father at the age of 15, graduating from high school in Switzerland, and attending five different colleges, she received her B.A. with a double major in English and Linguistics, followed by her M.A. in Linguistics.
In 1985, Amy began writing fiction as an incentive to cut back on her workload. Her first short story was published in 1986, and in 1989, her bestselling novel The Joy Luck Club was published. She has gone on to write several other best-selling novels, short stories, and more, firmly establishing herself as one of the most prominent and respected American literary voices working today.
Photo: public domain
The month of May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. This celebration began after Congress introduced a resolution that the President should proclaim the first ten days in May of 1979 as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.” President Jimmy Carter signed the resolution on October 5, 1978. The first ten days of May were chosen to commemorate two historic events: May 7, 1843 – the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States and May 10 1869 – the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad, since the majority of workers were Chinese immigrants. Presidents passed annual proclamations until 1990 when congress expanded the observance to a full month. In 1992, congress designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month to be observed annually, and in 2009 the name was officially changed to Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
This month, CAP-HC will recognize and celebrate the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to American history, starting with the resources provided by The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Browse exhibits and collections, watch videos, and learn about upcoming events that pay tribute to AAPI throughout U.S. history.
Ramadan began Monday at sunset, observed by Muslims all over the world as a holy month of fasting, prayer, introspection, and community. We wish everyone in the Muslim community a blessed and generous Ramadan.
There are many ways people celebrate the holy month of Ramadan. Learn about some of the customs and traditions in this article by Isabel Updegraff of Aquila Style.
Do you know about Laura Cornelius Kellogg*? How about Maggie Lena Walker^ or Emilia Casanova de Villaverde**? Today is the last day of Women’s History Month 2021, but there is always more to learn about the women who have shaped the U.S. through their contributions to science, art, policy, and more. Explore dozens of exhibits and collections curated by The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institute, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on WomensHistoryMonth.gov. And remember to stay curious.
* She was an Oneida activist, author, orator and policy reformer, and she was one of the founding members of the Society of American Indians (SAI) in 1911.
^ She played an important role in making Richmond the cradle of Black capitalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She is best known as the first Black woman bank president in the United States.
** Lived most of her life in New York City. An ardent abolitionist and activist leader, she supported Cuba’s independence from Spain during the last half of the 19th century.
Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu was born in Liuhe, China in 1912. After graduating at the top of her class at Nanjing University, she made her way to University of California Berkeley to earn her PhD in physics. In 1944, Wu joined the Manhattan Project, which was working toward the creation of the atomic bomb. Wu’s work was not acknowledged until later in her career when she was awarded the National Medal of Science and the Wolf Prize in Physics, among others. She was known as one of the top experimental physicists of her time, and her work even crossed over to biology and medicine. Wu was the first woman elected as president of the American Physical Society, and tirelessly promoted the cause of women in science.
Photo: Smithsonian Institution @ Flickr Commons
In 1797, Sojourner Truth was born into slavery as Isabella Baumfree in Swartekill, Ulster County, New York. In 1826, after her slave-holding master, John Dumont, broke his promise to grant her freedom, she escaped along with the youngest of her five children. Baumfree became a devout Christian, and gave herself the name Sojourner Truth in 1843, believing the Holy Spirit had called her to become a traveling preacher. Truth would go on to give rousing, unscripted speeches* fighting for abolishing slavery, fighting for women’s right to vote, and challenging segregation after the Civil War.
*The famous “Ain’t I a Woman” speech attributed to Sojourner Truth was likely a re-write of the original that didn’t include the phrase. Compare the two speeches here: https://www.thesojournertruthproject.com/compare-the-speeches.
Photo: Sojourner Truth, albumen silver print, circa 1870 from the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.
On July 12, 1997, Malala Yousafzai was born in Mingora, the largest city in the Swat Valley in what is now the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan. Ziauddin Yousafzai, Malala’s father and a passionate education advocate, ran a girls’ school. Malala developed a thirst for knowledge at a very young age, but when she was 10 years old, the Taliban began to control the Swat Valley. As they became the dominant socio-political force in much of the region, girls were banned from attending school. Find out more about how Malala fought for her right to return to school, won the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 17, and now advocates for the education of every child, especially girls, through the Malala Fund.
Photo: United Nations via Flickr/Creative Commons
Born in Missoula, Montana in 1880, Jeannette Rankin spent her life as a women’s rights activist, politician, and pacifist. Rankin made history in 1916 when she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the first woman to do so by winning an election rather than serving the remainder of a dead husband’s term. She championed a resolution that would go on to become the 19th Amendment, which effectively gave women the right to vote across the nation. After losing the 1918 election, Rankin split her time between pacifist and social welfare causes. Then in 1940, she ran for office again and began her second term. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, she famously cast the only vote against entering World War II saying, “As a woman, I can’t go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else.”
Learn more about Jeannette Rankin’s life and legacy.
Photo: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress)
The first gathering for International Women's Day was held in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Since then, International Women's Day (IWD) has become a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Marked annually on March 8th, the United Nations first began giving IWD a theme in 1996. The theme for 2021 is "Choose to Challenge". A challenged world is an alert world. And from challenge comes change. Learn more about IWD and its 2021 theme, browse the #ChooseToChallenge gallery, and more.
Photo: Poster for Votes for Women by Hilda Dallas (1909), Public Domain
Women’s History Month began as a national celebration in March 1982 with “Women’s History Week.” Five years later in 1987, after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress designated the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” Since then, Congress and presidents have passed additional resolutions requesting and proclamations authorizing March of each year as Women’s History Month. This month, CAP-HC will recognize and celebrate the contributions women have made to American history, starting with the resources provided by The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on WomensHistoryMonth.gov. Find a list of online events and browse virtual exhibits centered around women throughout U.S. history.
Do you know about Harriet Robinson Scott*? How about Bobby Marshall,^ Lou Bellamy,** or Sharon Sayles Belton^^? Today is the last day of Black History Month 2021, yet there’s always more to learn about the achievements and contributions of Black and African American people to the fabric of U.S. History. One resource to continue learning specifically about Black history in Minnesota is the Minnesota Historical Society’s Black History, Black Voices initiative, which curates ongoing programs, content, and resources created by members of Minnesota’s Black community. Take some time to learn about Fort Snelling, Penumbra Theatre, and more with MNHS’s curated videos and articles. Or explore other resources to keep learning about Black history. And remember to stay curious.
* Sued for freedom alongside her husband, Dred Scott, in 1846. The couple, who met while at Fort Snelling, would wait 11 years for the infamous U.S. Supreme Court case Dred Scott v. Sandford in 1857. The Dred Scott decision helped propel the country toward Civil war.
^ Of all of the great athletes in Big Ten history, he was arguably the best of all time. The former Minneapolis Central star was the first person of color to ever play football in the conference once known as the Big Nine, in 1904.
** Penumbra Theatre founder and artistic director emeritus. Penumbra Theatre creates professional productions that are artistically excellent, thought provoking, relevant, and illuminate the human condition through the prism of the African American experience.
^^ First African American and first woman to serve as Mayor of Minneapolis. The St. Paul native held the post from 1994 to 2001.
Moses. General Tubman. Minty. The African American abolitionist and suffragist Harriet Tubman was known by many names and continues to be an icon of freedom after more than 100 years. Born into slavery sometime between 1815 and 1825, she would go on to escape north to freedom, return to the south many times freeing hundreds of enslaved people, and be the first woman in the Civil War to lead an assault. Read about her life and accomplishments, browse photos, and learn about the Underground Railroad from Harriet Tubman Historical Society.
Photo: Public Domain
As the oldest Black-owned newspaper in Minnesota, the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (MSR) has established itself as one of the most trusted sources for Black news. MSR has highlighted some of the events taking place in celebration of Black History Month.
Community Action Partnership of Hennepin County would like to highlight a few of MSR’s picks and encourage you to participate as you’re able.
Madam C. J. Walker (1867-1919) made her fortune thanks to her homemade line of hair care products for Black women. Born Sarah Breedlove, the 5th child of her parents who had been enslaved, she was the first in her family to be born free after the Emancipation Proclamation. Her own experience with hair loss inspired her to create hair products designed for Black women, the “Walker system” of hair care. Getting her start by selling products directly to Black women door to door, Walker built an empire that employed saleswomen she called “beauty culturalists.” The self-made millionaire used her fortune to fund scholarships for women at the Tuskegee Institute and donated to the NAACP, the Black YMCA, and other charities.
Photo: Scurlock Studio / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
“African-American influences are so fundamental to American music that there would be no American music without them.”
—“Musical Crossroads” by Dr. Steven Lewis, curator at the National Museum of African American Music
From spirituals to jazz and from funk to rap, there’s no denying the contributions of African American and Black musicians to the catalog of American music. Explore photos, paintings, videos, and more curated by the Smithsonian, featuring dozens of stories from the history of African American music.
Ella Fitzgerald depicted on a postcard. The image is from 1948, and the photograph is by Bruno of Hollywood. Ella Fitzgerald Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
It’s time to leave the Year of the Rat behind and welcome the Year of the Ox. Widely celebrated across East and Southeast Asia, the Lunar New Year is a holiday centered around family and new beginnings. Online celebrations will mark a major difference in celebrating the holiday this year, since many families will not be able to travel to be together due to the pandemic. In this article, Ashley Wong, Asian American & Pacific Islander Community Reporter at The Sacramento Bee, reports on who celebrates the Lunar New Year and customs observed during the holiday.
Photo by Xavier Mascareñas
Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born in 1919 in Cairo, Georgia. 28 years later, he broke Major League Baseball’s infamous “color barrier” when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Major Leagues had not had an African-American player since 1889, when baseball became segregated. Robinson’s dazzling athletic prowess and grace under pressure effectively led to the integration of the Major Leagues. His 10-year career with the Dodgers, and his outspoken activism in his later years, helped set the stage for the burgeoning civil rights movement.
This article from History.com goes more in depth about Jackie Robinson’s life, career, and achievements.
Photo: Public Domain
In 2016, Margot Lee Shetterly published Hidden Figures, a book about female, African American mathematicians who worked at NASA during the space race. The biographical text follows the lives of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, three “human computers” who overcame discrimination, and became leaders in the space program. Late that same year, a movie loosely based on the book was released to critical acclaim.
Photos by NASA
This morning, Dr. Hightower, CAP-HC’s Executive Director, shared the following in his weekly Monday morning email to staff:
“I am pleased to greet each of you on the 1st day of Black History Month. [from Moorpark College] ‘Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history … the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter Godwin Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month … The Black History Month 2021 theme, Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity, explores the African diaspora and the spread of Black families across the United States.’ Celebrating diversity and inclusion is an integral part of CAP-HC. It is part of the future that we are trying to create!”
This article from Ebony, written in 2016 and revisited in 2020, explores the history of Black History Month and Woodson.
Photo by Glodi Miessi on Unsplash
Building community resiliency and addressing the causes of poverty are the cornerstones of Community Action. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, the challenges facing low-income people and persons of color were exacerbated. Being of their communities, Community Action Agencies and Tribal Governments could see first hand where the growing and changing needs in services were and where gaps in other programs appeared and pivot quickly to address them.
This paper highlights the many ways Community Action Agencies and Tribal Governments have been the primary providers of essential services within their communities, demonstrates the invaluable role of flexible funding in providing the nimbleness required to address the ever-evolving needs within Minnesota’s communities, and explores how focus on the “whole person/whole family” will be key to addressing crucial social determinants of health and racial disparities.