HomeAAPI Heritage MonthHirono and the Smithsonian celebrate AANHPI Heritage Month

Hirono and the Smithsonian celebrate AANHPI Heritage Month

US Senator Maxie Hirono (D-Hawaii) has partnered with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APAC) this May to honor Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) icons.

The Rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington will feature the dual-phase photo exhibition in honor of AANHPI Heritage Month.

“I am proud to host this exhibition in collaboration with APAC and help share the stories of so many leaders in our community,” Senator Hirono said in a statement. “Throughout May, as we celebrate our communities’ historic contributions, we also reaffirm our commitment to building a more inclusive and equitable future for all.”

“Portraits of Cultural Icons” will showcase 10 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders portraits from May 6 to May 10, New India Abroad reports. And, the second phase from May 13 to May 17, will highlight 10 other icons from Asian American communities.

Yao-Fen You, PhD, the Acting Director of the APAC said, “On behalf of the Smithsonian Institution, we extend our sincere gratitude to Senator Mazie K. Hirono for the opportunity to partner on “Portraits of Our Cultural Icons,” featuring AANHPI sitters drawn from APAC’s publication We Are Here and the National Portrait Gallery.”

Senator Hirono has been an active advocate for the AANHPI communities. In years prior, she has created initiatives and legislation to help increase Asian American representation throughout the country. Just last year, Senator Hirono introduced legislation that increased AANHPI history in public school curricula.

“I will continue working to ensure that members of the AANHPI community and all people have the opportunity to live freely, treated with dignity and respect,” Hirono said in a statement.

The APAC was created in 1997 with the mission of representing AANHPIs in the Smithsonian. They have work towards accomplishing this through the implementation of “education initiatives, publications, and public programs.”

“While I often stress the importance of celebrating AANHPI stories daily, the month of May provides a unique platform to collectively honor and amplify them. We hope that visitors to the Russell Rotunda will gain a deeper appreciation of the AANHPI cultural icons featured in this portrait exhibition,” You said in a press release. “All of us at APAC looks forward to future collaborations with Senator Hirono’s Office to continue sharing Smithsonian treasures and resources that preserve and celebrate the rich and diverse history, art, and culture of AANHPI communities.”

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