Freedom for All, a Nation We Call Our Own is the theme of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Posted by Lia Chang on Saturday, 01 May 2004.

Freedom for All, a Nation We Call Our Own is the theme of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. As a sixth generation American of Chinese descent, I celebrate my Asian American heritage 365 days of the year. For the rest of the country, May is officially Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

May 3, KQED, May 6, KOCE, May 27, KOCE
In SAIGON, U.S.A. , filmmakers Lindsey Jang and Robert C. Winn focus on the Vietnamese American community in Southern California, delving into the sources of the passion behind recent protests over a portrait of Ho Chi Minh in Orange County, California, the home of the largest Vietnamese community outside of Vietnam.

Since the fall of Saigon in 1975, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees have built this community known as Little Saigon. The documentary is an in-depth portrait of Vietnamese Americans struggling to reconcile the demons of the past while building a new home in America. A co-presentation of ITVS and KOCE

May 5, KQED, 11pm, May 6, WNET, 12am; KQED, 9:30am, 5 & 9:30pm; KOCE, 8pm
In the documentary SEARCHING FOR ASIAN AMERICA , Donald Young, Sapana Sakya, and Kyung Sun Yu shine the spotlight on Washington State Governor Gary Locke, Oklahoma-based Filipino doctors Martin Bautista and Jeffrey Lim, and actress/artist Lela Lee. These intimate profiles provide a genuine taste of what it's like to be Asian American in today's ever-changing United States. Today Show Ann Curry hosts.

May 11
In Spencer Nakasako's REFUGEE , three young Cambodian American men, raised on the streets of San Francisco's tough Tenderloin district, journey to their homeland wielding video cameras to capture their life changing experience of meeting fathers, sisters and brothers for the first time.

May 27
Fahm Fong Saeyang, a young Mien woman from Sacramento struggles to come to terms with her late father's death, his drug addiction and the murder of her sister in DEATH OF A SHAMAN . Fahm reunites with her Mien relatives in her family's village of Nam Loo, on the Thai-Lao border, finding comfort in the complexity of her father's past, and embraces her newfound identity. Produced by Fahm Fong Saeyang and Richard Hall.

Check your local listings for broadcast dates and times.

In Manhattan, the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans (CAPA) organizes the largest Pan Asian festival on the East Coast to celebrate the diverse people and cultures of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States.

CAPAs 25th Annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Festival is on Sunday, May 2nd in Union Square Park North from 11:30AM to 6PM.

With something for everyone, if you are searching for ways to become involved in the Asian American community, over 100 Asian American advocacy groups, arts and professional associations and social service agencies are here to serve you.

An exciting line-up of traditional and contemporary performing artists, dancers and musicians are set for the main performance stage. Children have a choice of nine different arts and crafts and storytelling events. Eleven martial arts schools representing Kung Fu, Bujitsu, Kali and Poekoelen Tjimindie Tulen styles feature demonstrations.


Tian Jiao Traditional Chinese and Taiwanese Lion Dance

P.I.C. Multicultural music classified as Hiphopunkfunkmamboska

Team Technique high energy Korean hip-hop dance team

BIPA Bangladeshi traditional dance

Jaley Korean American Pop/ R&B female vocalist

Kevin So Rock and Folk Singer of Asian American Awareness

Soh Daiko Japanese American Taiko Drum Group

Raven Steals the Light Asian/Goth Rock

J Filipino R&B Hip Hop Leading Man

Thai Cultural Center Dance troupe of Thai culture

Hawaiian Cultural Foundation Hula Dance

George Gee and the Make Believe Orchestra Big Band Swing

Asian Cinevision , organizes the Asian American International Film Festival at the Asia Society in July, and features several films in their CINEMINI-FEST at the Heritage festival.

Bruce Hwang Chen's Mahjong to the Grave is a hilarious take on four confused Asians facing off on a mahjong table. Who will be the champion?

In Under Pressure , Helen Cho, a Korean American teenager, fears the failure to live up to her parents' American dream. Part of the pro-TV Bio at Downtown Community Television project, Pro-TV is a group of 6 youth producers from various ethnic backgrounds. The producers' short bios illustrate some of the unique struggles they encounter as New York City teenagers.

The 9/11 Media Arts Center presents REEL GRRLS , taking the viewer on a journey into the alternative landscape of American adolescence to question how young women are portrayed in the media, and examining its effects upon their daily lives. Media influence, body image, identity, violence against women, self-affirmation are addressed in short PSA's through animation, music, humor, and personal reflection. "Grrl power" rules!

For the rest of the country, May is officially Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Historically, the month of May is significant for Asian Americans. The first Japanese settled in mainland America in May 1843. Chinese Americans helped construct the first Transcontinental Railroad, completed in May 1869.

Through the dedicated efforts of Congressman Norman Mineta of San Jose, Senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga of Hawaii, a joint Congressional resolution to establish Asian Pacific American Heritage Week was introduced in 1977. President Jimmy Carter in turn designated the first Asian Pacific American Heritage Week in 1979. In 1990, President George Bush expanded the celebration to the entire month of May.

This year's theme is Freedom for All, a Nation We Call Our Own. In Washington D.C., my photo essay of black and white portraits of Asian Pacific Americans in the Workforce commissioned by the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) is on view in the lobby of the National AFL-CIO Building throughout the month of May.

Stay tuned to and our calendar for the latest on APA Heritage events happening across the country and airing on public television.