May marks the observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a time dedicated to celebrating the rich cultures, traditions, and histories, as well as the enduring contributions, of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States and in Philadelphia. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of this month, suggest ways to commemorate it, and delve into my personal journey as an AAPI woman in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. 


Growing up in Philadelphia, I found my identity deeply intertwined with the vibrant Asian communities that not only celebrated my achievements but also played a pivotal role in shaping my character and career path. Witnessing the 1LOVE Movement that advocates for the rights of my people, I felt a calling to make a difference. As I approached graduation from high school, I embarked on a journey to understand the history of Asian Americans in this country, recognizing the profound truth: “Know history, know self. No history, no self.” Understanding my own history and place in this nation became paramount to me, motivating me to contribute to its collective narrative. Thus, I committed myself to exploring the Asian migration and amplifying the voices of communities that are often not heard and seen. 


May 2017 holds a special significance in my journey as a Vietnamese American, since it marks the beginning of my pursuit to affect positive change within my community. It symbolizes not only the historic moment of becoming the first in my family to graduate from high school but also reaching the milestone of being the first to pursue higher education. This month also commemorates my recognition by the Asian American Women’s Coalition for my community contributions and the receipt of my inaugural college scholarship. 


Fast forwarding to present day, I, Ngan Tran, a Vietnamese immigrant, proudly serve as the Director of Multicultural Affairs at the Office of Immigrant Affairs, alongside the Mayor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, dedicated to supporting Asian Americans and immigrants in Philadelphia. As we commemorate this important month, let us celebrate and honor our AAPI heritage by sharing our stories and empowering others to do the same. For in knowing our history, we come to know ourselves.