How to Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month

Asian Americans have made tremendous contributions to the association industry and the diverse fabric of the Chicagoland area.

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May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Once again, we’d like to offer some ways you can celebrate this month with your team, your family, or on your own. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing racial group in the United States. According to Pew Research Center, the US Asian population grew 81 percent between the years 2000 and 2019. Here are some ways to recognize the diverse Asian cultures represented in the US:

  1. Learn about the challenges faced by this community by reading “Addressing the AANHPI Leadership Gap in Healthcare.” Written by Wendy-Jo Toyama, MBA, CAE, FASAE, this article offers statistics on the number of Asian Americans in healthcare versus those serving in leadership positions. Toyama is the CEO of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, a client of the Association Management Center. Toyama is also Association Forum’s 2024 Woman of Influence. She has been intentional in sharing her experience as an Asian American in association leadership and medicine because she feels representation is paramount to creating change. 
  2. Celebrate Asian American culture by attending an event, a city neighborhood, or an Asian-owned business. As usual, Choose Chicago has prepared a fantastic list of local events, restaurants, and businesses to check out this month. Read the recommendations here.
  3. Taste Asian American culture during AAPI Restaurant Week! The week of May 17-26, OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, Greater Chicago (OCA Greater Chicago) is hosting its third annual Asian American restaurant week. Visit their website for a list of participating restaurants–some offer special menus or deals for dining during this week.
  4. Read. The History Channel has a thorough overview of this commemorative month and how it came to be. If you’d rather soak up another culture through a good story, here is a list from Goodreads of 116 essential new books to read in honor of AAPI Heritage Month.
  5. Watch. If movie night is more your speed, there are plenty of AAPI films available. Not long ago, Asian representation in American film was abysmal. Blockbusters such as Disney’s “Moana” (2016) and the Oscar darling “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (2022) have helped to turn that tide. Check out this list of the 45 best AAPI films, television, and literature for representation from Medium.

About the Author

The mission of Association Forum is to advance the professional practice of association management. Founded in 1916, Association Forum serves 3,000 association professionals whose efforts serve more than 27 million members and generate $10 billion in global annual expenditures. Visit for more information.

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