SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — CBS 5 salutes Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, celebrated in May to commemorate the contributions of people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the United States.

Just like the Black History Month and Women’s History Month celebrations, the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month originated from legislation.

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Congress passed a joint Congressional Resolution in 1978 to commemorate Asian American Heritage Week during the first week of May.

In 1978, President Carter signed the first Joint Congressional Resolution proclaiming the first week in May as “Asian Pacific American Heritage Week.”

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This week was chosen because two important anniversaries occurred during this time: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in America on May 7, 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad (largely constructed by many Chinese laborers) on May 10, 1869.

Congress later voted in 1990 to expand it from a week long celebration to the entire month, “Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.”

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