Since 1990, May has been recognized nationally as Asian/Pacific American Heritage month, a month to celebrate people from more than 20 different countries and regions. On May 5, Lancaster County Commissioners joined in that recognition, by issuing a proclamation for this May that acknowledges the cultural benefits the Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) community has brought to Lancaster County.
Combatting Racism and Discrimination
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a dramatic national rise in hate crimes against Asian/Pacific Americans as racists irrationally blame Asians for the pandemic. In an effort to combat these hate crimes, on May 20, President Joe Biden signed into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which passed with bi-partisan support. To combat this racism locally, Lancaster City Council adopted a resolution earlier this month, condemning discrimination against Asian/Pacific Americans.
Even though no such hate crimes have been reported in Lancaster County, “there is an incredible fear” within the local AAPI community, said Adam Hosey, a Korean American, running to be on the Manheim Township School Board. If elected, he said, he’d be the first person of color to serve on that board. He believes such representation is important so that members of the AAPI community “are seen.”
Supporting Asian/Pacific Americans
Asian/Pacific Americans compose just under three percent of Lancaster County’s total population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. With its diverse cultures, cuisines, and languages, the AAPI community enhances Lancaster County. Asian-owned businesses and restaurants also create jobs.
Now, more than ever, it is crucial to support the local AAPI community. One of the most direct and effective ways is to be a patron of Asian-owned businesses.
Learning about Asian/Pacific American Heritage is also a powerful way to help stop racism. Education eliminates ignorance and misconceptions, both root causes of racism.
To learn more about Asian/Pacific American Heritage and become an ally of the AAPI community, check out these state and local organizations and resources.
- Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
- Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Quiz (PDF)
- Chinese Cultural & Arts Institute
- Lancaster Public Library
- Pennsylvania Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs
- South Asian Association of Lancaster
By Jen Ericson