Utah Has Been Celebrating AANHPI Heritage Month

S. F. Mori

It is during the month of May

Flyer for AANHPI Event(Image is author's)

The month of May has been designated and celebrated as Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month in the United States. Various celebrations are being held from the White House to local events. Utah has had a number of events to celebrate the heritage and cultures of these people.

The official designation of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month became law in 1992. The month of May was chosen for several reasons. It commemorated the first Japanese who came to the country in May of 1843 and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in May of 1869, which involved many Chinese immigrant laborers. [www.USDA.gov]

Members of Congress back in 1977, Norman Y. Mineta of California and Frank Horton of New York, were instrumental in setting up what was then a one week celebration. It was later changed to the month of May. A recent designation has been to add Native Hawaiian to make it AANHPI Month.

One of the events was sponsored at the Salt Lake City and County Building. It was planned and sponsored by the Asian American Collegiate Association and OCA along with the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) local chapters.

Emcees for the program were Floyd Mori and Jani Iwamoto. The opening prayer was offered by Dick Mano, Mount Olympus JACL Chapter President and a former Branch President for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A land acknowledgment to pay tribute to Native Americans was given by Emilio Mauel Camu, OCA Utah Chapter President.

Proclamation to land management(Image is author's)

Entertainment was provided by Golden Hour, a K-Pop Dance group out of Provo. The ending performers were the Ogden Taiko Drumming group.

A proclamation from Governor Spencer Cox was read. Giving remarks were local officials: Mayor Erin Mendenhall, Salt Lake City Mayor; Ota Matagi, Salt Lake Planning Commission; Karen Kwan, Utah State Representative, District 34; and Darin Mano, Salt Lake City Council Member, District 5.

Youth speakers were Hanna Rex, Christian Phom Souvahn, and Franscine Ammontha Matethusua.

The headliner speaker was Sui Lang Panoke, Senior Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Zions Bank. She performed a hula after her talk.

Hula Dance(Image is author's)

The AANHPI community is made up of diverse people who represent populations from many countries and islands.

Although the weather had turned cold that evening, it was an enjoyable program for the attendees. It was entertaining and informative.

[Information from USDA.gov]

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I am a retired President/CEO of civil rights organizations. I have been a Mayor and California State Assemblyman as well as a College Instructor of Economics. I have also been an entrepreneur and international business consultant. I will be sharing articles mostly about life, politics, racism, travel, health, and relationships.

Salt Lake City, UT

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