Story & Photos by Shirley N Lews, NY Correspondent AsAmNews
It was a beautiful day for the 36th annual Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Festival in New York City last Sunday. The sun was cooperating and the stage was set and anticipating its first performance.
The festival stretched from the intersection of Mott and Canal Streets to Chatham Square. Vendors from area non-profits and other services were there to solicit what they could offer to the community.
A festival is also not a festival without cultural performances, balloons, face painting, and of course food!
The festival was organized by the the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans (CAPA). According to CAPA, it was the first time the festival was held on Mott street. It hopes to return there again next year. The festival has been held in Flushing, Queens and Dumbo, Brooklyn, aka Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass in the past. The festival has also been held in a much more high traffic area, Union Square, but I’ve heard the asking price from the city was just too high for the location.
In June 1977 two Congressmen Frank Horton of New York and Norman Y. Mineta of California introduced a House resolution to declare May 1-10 as Asian Pacific Heritage Week. A month later, Senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga introduced a similar bill to the Senate and was passed. On October 5, 1978, a Joint Resolution designating the annual celebration was signed by President Jimmy Carter. President George H.W. Bush signed an extension in 1990 that made the annual celebration into a month-long celebration. It was not till 1992 that the official designation of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law.
How will you celebrate or acknowledge Asian-Pacific Heritage Week?