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May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Mahalo, Konichiwa, Ni Hao, Sa-Wat dee, Magandang Umaga sa inyong lahat, Anyang say yo! May is which celebrates the contributions that Asian-Pacific Americans have made to the country and its history.

The celebration of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month was created in 1992. Whether it was the Chinese helping to build the railroads or the technological advances that come from Japan, these different cultures have influenced America.

A diverse group of Asian-Pacific Americans has assisted the nation in building a military force capable of preserving our national liberty, while serving as a role model for other freedom-seeking nations and individuals around the world.

There are so many countries in Asia, there's not just China and Japan. There's Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines, Hawaii, Myanmar or Burma, Singapore, India, Pakistan and the Pacific Islands. That really encompasses the biggest region in the whole world.

Asian Pacific Americans are an array of people with distinctly different cultural backgrounds that present a challenge in visualizing the complete group in a single design. This year's theme, "Diverse Leadership for a Diverse Workforce" speaks loudly about the changing demographics in the 21st century work place.

Last October 2009, President Obama signed an executive order reestablishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). This year marks the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Initiative, which was created by President Clinton to improve the quality of life in underserved Asian American and Pacific Islander communities through increased participation in federal programs.

Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage cultural Taste of Asia is May 20 at 11 a.m., at Unity Park. This event is free and open to the base personnel. We will have some free food sampling, dances, some teambuilding activities and the rare occasion to be able to wear your Asian Pacific costumes.

A dorm luau is May 9 from 4 - 7 p.m. at the dorm quad area. There will be rock climbing, waterslide and live music and free food for all.

Also, 9-pin no tap bowling May 7 and three-on-three basketball May 14 at the base gym. To sign up for the bowling tournament, call 882-9140 and the basketball tournament, call 882-5057.

The APAH is sponsoring a youth art contest open to the elementary, middle, and high school students. Students can select either of two themes, "Diverse leadership for a diverse workforce" or "Year of the family". All mediums are acceptable (within good judgment) and submissions can be forwarded to: AAC/EO, 307 West C Avenue, Eglin AFB FL 32542. Attention: Asian Pacific American Heritage Committee. All entries are due May 14. Winners will be announced at the Taste of Asia event on May 20.

This year's project officers for the APAH are Linda Phillips and 1st Lt. Tan Van.

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