Asian Pacific Heritage Month 2021


May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which celebrates all of the Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States who have made the country what it is today. During this month, the country celebrates the achievements and remembers the struggles endured by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 

The month of May was chosen for two reasons. First, to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States, a young fisherman named Manjiro, who arrived May 7, 1843. Second, May marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of workers on the transcontinental railroad were Chinese immigrants, who laid the tracks and were responsible for most of the dangerous and heavy manual labor tasks.

Asian Pacific Heritage Month Zoom Backgrounds

Please download any of these virtual backgrounds and add them to your Zoom by following these steps:

  1. In the desktop client, go to 'Settings' as noted above and select 'Visual Background'.
  2. Using the (+) icon, upload your new background.

UCSF AAPI Coalition Joint Statement

We are writing to invite you to join us in this big movement to address justice and inclusion for AAPI at UCSF. Here is a Joint Statement developed by a new coalition of the various UCSF Asian groups, students, staff, and faculty against anti-Asian hate and exclusionary practices that we wish to share with you, and hope that you would read it carefully. We intend to send this Statement to Chancellor Hawgood and President & CEO Laret on May 28, 2021, so please endorse (at the bottom of this email) as soon as possible if you support it.

This is a historical moment for all AAPI at UCSF. The COVID-driven verbal and physical assaults since March 2020 have angered and terrorized many in the AAPI community at UCSF beyond their tolerance limits, giving a burst of strength and courage to unify us as a strong coalition that crosses all socioeconomic, educational and status divides. It is the goal of the UCSF AAPI Coalition to collaborate with our communities and allies to use the Statement and the Appendix to strategically address some long-time deficiencies and issues affecting our AAPI community. We are only at a starting point, and more action items can be developed later.

Read the full AAPI Coalition Statement here.

Sign here for the Individual Support Endorsement Form!

Sign Here for the UCSF Group Endorsement Form! 

Thank you for your attention, support and allyship,

UCSF AAPI Coalition

United We Stand
Fighting the Racism Virus for a Better Tomorrow at UCSF for the AAPI Community

Asians and Pacific Islanders in UCSF 

Asian Pacific American Systemwide Alliance (APASA)

To promote professional and social relations within UCSF, as well as the rich and diverse cultural heritage of all Asian communities. APASA works with other minority organizations to address issues of equality, fair labor practices and diversity at UCSF.

The UCSF Asian Heart and Vascular Center is a cardiovascular care hub for the Asian community, the fastest-growing population in San Francisco. 

We respect the cultural differences that exist in the Asian community. Patients receive language-appropriate information and educational materials about heart disease and how to prevent it. The center also participates in research to better understand the metabolic and genetic differences of the Asian community.

Asian Health Institute

As the large population of Asians continues to take a prominent presence within the San Francisco and Bay Areas, the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) has established the Asian Health Institute as one of the newest departments to build the important bridge with the Asian community to achieve health parities and improve medical access.



UCSF Events

Community Self Defense Workshop

Wednesday, May 5, 2021, 5 pm - 6 pm

$1-$25 sliding scale where proceeds will be donated to local community based organizations

Open to ALL members of UCSF on first come basis. This gathering will focus on MT and BJJ techniques and modifications provided. RSVP kindly requested here by Monday, May 3rd at 12 PM. Zoom link will be provided upon RSVP confirmation 

Workshop Facilitator:
Connie Lau (sher/her/hers) has been practicing Muay Thai for over 10 years and Brazilian jiu jitsu for 5 years. She also has a background in Kung Fu, Ninjutsu, and Kali. She helped teach self-defense classes at UCLA for about 5 years, and taught the Muay Thai Club at the high school where she teaches at. As the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, Connie is super excited to share her knowledge with this community. 

Asian American Pacific Islander Trivia

Thursday, May 6, 12 - 1pm

Asian Pacific American Systemwide Alliance Presents! Come celebrate AAPI Heritage Month with us and join our AAPI Trivia Event on Thursday, May 6th at 12:00pm! 

Cancer Health Disparities Impacting AAPI Communities and the Rise in Racism Against Asian Americans

Friday, May 7 at 12:10 pm - 1 pm

Department of Epidemiolgy & Biostatistics Presents:

Speakers: Scarlett Gomez, PhD, MPH, Professor ‎| Salma Shariff-Marco, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor ‎| Iona Cheng, PhD, MPH Professor

The continuing practice of aggregating cancer statistics masks distinct disparities within specific Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander ethnic populations. Drs. Gomez, Cheng and Shariff-Marco will highlight research examining cancer incidence and mortality across these ethnic groups and discuss the rise in discrimination against Asian Americans.

AAPI Heritage Happy Hour

Wednesday, May 12, 5 - 6 pm

Come celebrate AAPI Heritage Month with us and join our AAPI Heritage Happy Hour on Wednesday, May 12th at 5:00pm! This is a "Show and Tell" event where you as an attendee will have the opportunity to share about your own AAPI Heritage or the connections you may have to the AAPI community. All are welcome to attend to learn and celebrate. Presented by Asian Pacific American Systemwide Alliance.

Examples of things you can bring to share:

  • Bring a Drink, Food, Snack Item
  • Traditional or AAPI Themed Clothes
  • Family Artifacts
  • Souveniers from Travels 
  • Books


Virtual Film Screening: Minari

  • Virtual screening: Saturday, May 15 between 6-10pm PST
  • Post-movie discussion: Wednesday, May 19 from 4-5pm PST

To celebrate Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month, UCSF's Asian Pacific American Systemwide Alliance (APASA) and Office of Diversity & Outreach are co-sponsoring a free virtual screening of the film "Minari" on Saturday, May 15 between 6-10pm for all UCSF members. This Oscar nominated film tells the story of a Korean-American family that moves to an Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. Through this film, we wish to raise the awareness in the universality of being American and to bring different perspectives of the Asian American experiences to our UCSF community.

After the film screening, there will be a post-movie discussion on Wednesday, May 19 from 4-5pm. It will be a casually facilitated conversation to those who wish to share their experiences from themes emerged from the film and for those who wish to learn more about APA heritage.


Fill out this Qualtrics form to registerDeadline is Monday, May 10. If you need assistance with registration, please contact [email protected].


The film screening is offered to UCSF members only. You must register with your UCSF email address in order to receive a ticket. The post-movie discussion will be held via Zoom. Attendees will receive the Zoom link 2 days prior to the event. 

Pacific Islander & Pregnant: How Inclusion Led to Erasure

Wednesday, May 19 at 6 pm - 7 pm 

Since the 1980's the Pacific Islander (P.I.) community has felt the effects of erasure due to their inclusion in the “Asian Pacific Islander” narrative. Rather than being a monolith, there are multiple unique and distinct cultures within the Pacific, and it is a huge disservice to categorize Pacific Islanders in the same racial/cultural group as people of Asian descent, especially when it comes to health disparities. Specifically, in San Francisco, we see that when we separate Pacific Islander birth outcomes from the aggregate data, Samoans, Tongans, and others in the PI community experience some of the highest rates of preterm birth and adverse birth outcomes. Why is this the case and how can providers build cultural competency to improve health outcomes for the PI community?

Join us for our May Collaboratory where our panel of leaders from the Samoan and Tongan communities will share their wisdom and experiences to increase awareness of cultural PI practices and promote ways to support and respect the Pacific Islander community.

API Virtual Cooking Session 

Thursday, May 20 , 2021, 5:30 PM- 6:30 PM

The Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Planning Committee 2021 at UCSF invites all members of UCSF to journey with us through food and storytelling by participating in our virtual cooking session! Ox and Tiger- Filipino and Japanese fusion pop-up based in San Francisco will be leading us!

All participants will be sent a recipe and ingredient list to prepare and cook along!

RSVP kindly requested here. Zoom will be provided a few days prior to the event upon RSVP confirmation.
Open to all members of UCSF.

This event is a collaborative effort between the following organizations:

  • Scientists 4 Diversity, Graduate Division
  • Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA)
  • Student Life
  • Asian Pacific American Systemwide Alliance (APASA)
  • Asian Health Initiative (AHI)
  • Multicultural Resource Center, Office of Diversity and Outreach

UCSF is committed to campus accessibility in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you require any other accommodation for effective communication in order to fully participate in this virtual event, as well as other questions or concerns, please email [email protected] at least 10 days before the event.

AAPI Voices

Wednesday, May 26, 6- 7 PM

The Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Planning Committee 2021 at UCSF invites all members of UCSF to join us for an evening to celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander (API) culture, resilience, and community through various artistic expressions!

RSVP kindly requested hereZoom will be provided a few days prior to the event upon RSVP confirmation.
Open to all members of UCSF.

If you are API identified and are interested in sharing a artwork/piece you created, please sign up here

UCSF AAPI Senior Leadership Panel

Thursday, May 27, 12-1 pm

The Asian Pacific American Systemwide Alliance (APASA) at UCSF invites all members of the UCSF Community to join us for our API Senior Leadership Panel for API Heritage Month for this dynamic conversation around identity and career trajectory with the following leaders:

  • Shelby DeCosta | Senior VP and Chief Strategy Officer, UCSF Health
  • Alicia Murasaki |Assistant Vice Chancelor- Campus Planning
  • Jeff Chiu | VC of Human Resource, UCSF Health
  • Won Ha | VC of Communications
  • Raju Iyer | Senior VP and Chief Operating Officer, UCSF Health

Please click here to view the recording

Townhall: Asians 123: Across Cultures & Generations 

Thursday, May 27, 5:30-7 pm 

A great opportunity to learn more about the diversity and cultures of Asian American subgroups! Come join us to hear the voice of the panelists and honor the diversity in our community

  • Dr. Richard Feng | UCSF Faculty
  • Dr. Sook Wah Yee | Research Scientist
  • Andrew Hean | UCSF Student
  • Fiona Ng | UCSF Student
  • Maureen Shin | UCSF Student



San Francisco celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

The APA Heritage Foundation works with our Official Celebration Partners the Asian Art Museum, the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) and the San Francisco Public Library to compile an online Celebration Guide with a list of events taking place in May. There is a wide range of activities and programs to celebrate APA Heritage Month. Please explore and enjoy

Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month on PBS 

May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Every year, this is an opportunity to listen and learn about the diversity within AAPI communities as well as how deep the connections are to all facets of American history. Several new films and shows featuring AAPI stories will premiere this month on your local stations. We're also happy to present many more titles that you can stream, including memorable films that have previously aired on PBS stations.

Māori Mo Ake Tonu presented by the Oakland Public Library

Saturday, May 8 at 10:30 pm 

Join us for a celebration with Māori Mo Ake Tonu! Established in 2000, Māori Mo Ake Tonu or “Maori Forever” aims to preserve Māori performing arts. This San Francisco Bay Area group has performed throughout the Western United States. 

Directed by Tracey Wihongi Panek (Nga Puhi Maori tribe), the group performs skillful poi dances, story-telling action songs, as well as haka.  Kia Ora!


Past and Present: Addressing Racism and Intolerace Against Asian Americans Virtual Panel 

Saturday, May 8, 2021, 11 am - 12:30 pm PT

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH), the National Park Service (NPS), and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) will host a virtual panel discussion on Saturday, May 8, 2021 from 2:00 - 3:30 pm ET / 11:00 am - 12:30 pm PT. To watch the virtual panel discussion live, visit: Exit Disclaimer

This panel discussion will highlight current federal efforts addressing racism and health inequities, including the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force and the Presidential Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. OMH looks forward to facilitating a rich discussion, featuring contemporary Asian Americans who are leading grass-roots efforts to protect and empower diverse AAPI communities nationwide.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Twitter Chat

Wednesday, May 19, 2021, 11 am - 12 pm PT

The Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will host a Twitter chat in partnership with the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), and the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) on Wednesday, May 19, at 2:00 pm ET, to observe Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. During the chat we will share important resources and information to help Asian American and Pacific Islander communities stay physically and emotionally healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic as they prepare to get #VaccineReady. To join the conversation, use the hashtags #StopAAPIHate and #VaccineReady on Twitter 


Anti-Asian Racism

UCSF denounces anti-Asian racism

While attacks and harassment against people of Asian descent have long existed and have been a tragic aspect of this pandemic since its start, the recent escalation of violence is alarming. We stand in solidarity with colleagues, patients, families, volunteers, partners, and community members of Asian descent, and condemn injustice in all forms. Ways to support the AAPI communities, as well as resources to support your physical and emotional well-being, are available on the BCH DEI website.

UC anti-Asian racism website

UCOP has compiled resources and statements for the UC community in response to recent incidents of anti-Asian speech and violence taking place across the U.S. Click here for the website.

Why Asian-Americans are being attacked and what can you do about it

Read the article from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.

Teaching resources guide on anti-Asian and intersectional racism

The guide includes resources on history of anti-Asian racism, AAPI mental health, as well as intersectional racism, BIPOC solidarity, White allyship. Click here for the teaching guide 




COVID-19 among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders 

Website to report language barriers in getting COVID vaccine

This website tracks language barriers for other issues in the same way that StopAAPIHate tracks hate incidents. Please report your experience and share this website with others. 


Asian Pacific Islander Health Disparities


Fun Facts

California Cultures: Asian Americans by Calisphere, University of California

People from Asia began migrating to California during the Gold Rush era. But a number of factors — including the 1882 Chinese Exclusion act, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the "alien ineligible for citizenship" status imposed on Asian immigrants into the 1950s and 1960s — limited their numbers. In 1965, federal officials changed immigration policy to allow migration from Asia after many years of exclusion. Explore 5 online exhibits including Everday Life and Cultural Traditions (1860s - 1980s), Gold Rush Era to 1890s, Early 20th Century, World War II, and New Communities (1960s - present). Calisphere brings together thousands of digital images, documents, audio and video recordings from the University of California and other educational and cultural heritage institutions across the state.

Chinese American Exclusion/Inclusion: Classroom Materials for the Exhibition

The New-York Historical Society is proud to present this collection of educational materials and resources to accompany Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion. This exhibition highlights the heretofore little-known but surprisingly integral story of Chinese Americans. Beginning with early trade relationships between China and the new United States, the narrative spans the Gold Rush and construction of the transcontinental railroad, anti-Chinese sentiment and the Chinese Exclusion Act, and Chinese immigrants’ experiences on and after Angel Island. It then continues through World War II and Exclusion’s repeal, immigration reform in the 1960s, and to the present. Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion is on view September 26, 2014 through April 19, 2015.

Festival of the Pacific Arts & Culture

The Festival of Pacific Arts & Culture (FESTPAC) is the world’s largest celebration of indigenous Pacific Islanders, drawing artists, cultural practitioners, scholars and officials from member nations of the Pacific Community (SPC). FESTPAC is held every four years in a different Pacific Island nation. For more than 40 years, The Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture has been an important venue for the perpetuation of Pacific arts and cultures. It has developed into a strong entity in which cultural sharing and learning from differences has enhanced our appreciation and knowledge of the region.

The 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (FestPAC) will now take place June 6-16, 2024 in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi.

Jellyfish Lake, Palau

Surrounded for hundreds of miles by the Pacific Ocean, Palau is a natural paradise unsurpassed anywhere else in the world. Here, inside its maze of small, rocky outcrops, lies the island of Eil Malk, where you can swim with millions of jellyfish unharmed. Formed approximately 12,000 years ago, during the last ice age, Jellyfish Lake was cut off from the rest of the world. Without natural predators, the jellyfish multiplied in their millions over generations and lost their stinging cells.

Mapping the AAPI Community 

AAPI Data and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) are excited to release a simple, yet powerful, mapping tool to help journalists, decision-makers, and community organizations better understand the diversity and geographic settlement patterns of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. This tool, available at provides detailed census-tract level maps for the 20 largest metropolitan areas for Asian Americans in the United States. For each tract, users can see the largest Asian American or Pacific Islander resident group, as well as get more information on the population size and share of 21 Asian American and 6 Pacific Islander detailed origin groups.

Nan Madol - Ancient City in the Pacific

Nan Madol is the only extant ancient city built on top of a coral reef. Constructed in a lagoon and surrounded by water on three sides with a stone wall enclosing the complex, the city is often referred to as the "Venice of the Pacific."  The city ruins are on a coral reef in a lagoon on the tiny island of Temwen, adjacent to the eastern shore of the island of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. Before its abandonment, Nan Madol was a major political and spiritual hub for native Pohnpeians. Throughout its 500 year life, from 1200 and 1700, the city served as a religious center, a royal enclave, a fortress, an urban marketplace, and the high seat of government for the island of Pohnpei. Relatively unknown outside of Micronesia, the city of Nan Madol is a hidden gem of Micronesian history and culture and a grand sight for modern visitors.


Model Minority Myth

History of 'Model Minority'

The term 'model minority' was coined in 1966 by sociologist William Petersen in an article he wrote for the The New York Times Magazine entitled "Successful story: Japanese American style." The term has often been used to describe Asian Americans, a group seen as having success relative to other immigrant groups. Asians work hard, do well in school, and go on to have successful careers.

What's so bad about the Model Minority Myth?

  • Like all stereotypes, the model minority myth erases the differences among individuals
  • The model minority myth ignores the diversity of Asian American cultures
  • The model minority myth operates alongside the myth of Asian Americans as perpetual foreigners
  • The model minority myth erases racism against Asian Americans
  • The model minority myth is harmful to the struggle for racial justice