Blog by Judi Rhee Alloway, Mayor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs
Keeping Philadelphia a safe and welcoming place for all people is a key priority of Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration.
That’s partly why Mayor Kenney will declare May 2017 as Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in Philadelphia!
An annual observance happening each May nationwide, Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month started as a week-long celebration in the 1970s during President Jimmy Carter’s administration. Over time, the observance extended to a month and celebrates and honors the many contributions Asian Americans have had on our nation’s shared culture and history.
Here in Philadelphia, Asian Americans have had a big impact.
The Brookings Institute reports that from 1970 to 2006 the Philadelphia metropolitan area saw the largest and fastest growing immigrant population in America compared to other major cities.
And, 39 percent of the Philadelphia area’s immigrants hail from Asia.
It’s no surprise, then, that the streets of Philadelphia, from South Philly to Northeast, are lined with restaurants, businesses, and corner shops with the sights, sounds, and smells from India, China, Vietnam, Korea, the Philippines, and all other countries across the globe.
Asian Americans are represented in our local government, too!
In fact, two Asian Americans serve on Philadelphia’s City Council, each representing one of the country’s two major parties: Councilman David Oh, a Republican, and Councilwoman Helen Gym, a Democrat. Both Gym and Oh serve “at large” meaning they represent the entire city as opposed to a specific district.
Residents can engage their local government through the Mayor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs, too.
A body focused on keeping the Mayor and administration officials informed on issues in Philadelphia’s Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, the 24-member commission also serves as a connector between Philadelphia’s many AAPI communities and municipal government as well as social service, community, and cultural organizations.
When he took office, Mayor Kenney also appointed Dr. Nina Ahmad as Deputy Mayor for Public Engagement. Nina is the first AAPI woman to ever serve in a cabinet-level position in Philadelphia’s history!
With all of that in mind, the Mayor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs and Mayor Jim Kenney hope that you’ll join us for the 11th Annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration at Franklin Square Park! Observe and honor the historical, social, and cultural contributions of Asian Americans with a health fair, kids’ fair, live entertainment, and much more.
11th Annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration
Saturday: May 20, 2017 | 11:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m.
Franklin Square Park, 6th and Race Street
The Pan Asian Association of Greater Philadelphia presents this day-long celebration in iconic Franklin Square. The event is free and open to the public. Organizers encourage attendees who are driving to park for a $7 discounted rate at the EZ Park on 9th Street between Race and Vine; bring your ticket to the celebration’s info booth for parking validation!