This May, Explore Asian Culture, History, Food and Spirit during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

In 1992, May was designated by President George H. W. Bush as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month to honor the many contributions and accomplishments of Asian Americans, Pacific Islander Americans, and Native Hawaiians. While Miami is not specifically known for its Asian and Pacific Islander population, more than 40, 000 residents of Asian descent call Miami Dade home. We recognize their contributions, and how their community continues to enrich our culture in Miami and around the US, by celebrating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month every May.

The month of May is significant in Asian-American history for several reasons. May 7, 1843, was when the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the U.S. May 10, 1869, was when the Central Pacific railroad, built largely by immigrant Chinese workers, was joined with the Union Pacific to complete the first transcontinental route. In the spring of 1882 Congress also passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first significant restriction on free immigration in US history. The act made Chinese immigrants permanent aliens by excluding them from US citizenship. The Immigration Act of 1924 would go even further to include other Asian countries in the restrictions. It took until the middle of the twentieth century for these laws to be adjusted again and for legal immigration from Asia to flourish.

To explore Asia inspired art and culture in Miami visit some of the wonderful institutions that showcase the history, culture, food and spirit.

  • At the Miami Beach Botanical Garden: Zen garden with cascading waters, an interesting bamboo collection, and two river-rock ponds.
  • Fairchild Tropical Garden: Dr. David Fairchild, an early pioneer in the effort to bring bamboos from Asia and South America to the United States.
  • At Ichimura-Miami Japanese Garden, a traditional Japanese garden that has been on Watson Island since 1958. The garden will celebrate with a free Japanese Festival on May 7, 2023.
  • The free Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University (FIU)has an impressive collection of Eastern art.
  • The Lowe Art Museum, University of Miamiin Coral Gables shows exhibits of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian and Southeast Asian pottery, metalwork, sculpture, costumes and textiles from the Neolithic period until now, and a collection of 19th- and 20th-century ceremonial objects from Pacific Island countries.
  • Many restaurants around Miami will introduce you to the delicious and diverse palate of Asian and Pacific cuisine.

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