TAMPA, Fla. — May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month — a time to honor and celebrate the many contributions, accomplishments and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The origins of AAPI Heritage Month date back to 1977 when lawmakers from New York, California and Hawaii introduced legislation to establish a week-long celebration.
President Jimmy Carter signed it into law but it wasn't until 1992 when President George H. W. Bush established the month-long event.
It is held in May because that is when the first Japanese people came to the U.S. in 1843. It also recognizes the contributions of Chinese workers who completed the transcontinental railroad in May 1869.
But contributions from the AAPI community aren't a thing of the past.
Just two months ago, Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian to win best actress at the Oscars. She had this message to everyone watching that night: "...to all the little boys and girls who look like me tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities."
Nearly 80 countries and islands fall under the AAPI umbrella.
To honor the month, the city of Tampa will host an Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Festival on May 13th at Curtis Hixon Park. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is free and open to the public. 10 Tampa Bay's Miguel Octavio will be one of the emcees at that event.