Celebrating the Rich History of Asian and Asian American Culture

Last updated: April 30, 2024, at 10:09 p.m. PT

Originally published: April 29, 2024, at 9:43 p.m. PT

Asian and Asian American Heritage Month

By Loria Yeadon, President and Chief Executive Officer, YMCA of Greater Seattle 

May is Asian and Asian American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the rich history, culture, and contributions of the Asian and Asian American communities locally and nationally. This year, we are honoring the request of community members by celebrating the diverse diaspora of Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islanders in August in recognition of their unique cultures and traditions.    

Celebrate with us by exploring local resources and events on our website >

Recognizing Leaders in the Y

The YMCA of Greater Seattle is celebrating the history of our Asian and Asian American community by sharing moments and individuals who have shaped the Y Movement as we know it today.  

John Kim

John Kim 

John Kim is the CEO of HealthierHere, a cross-sector Accountable Community of Health collaborative, that elevates community voice into system transformation to achieve health equity. He is also a YMCA of Greater Seattle Board member and a Community Advisory Board member for the Health Promotion Research Center at the University of Washington. John’s professional experience includes a diverse mix of settings from a national healthcare law practice to hospital senior management to social justice and equity focused community organizations. Mr. Kim graduated with a Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Dartmouth College. 

Duke Kahanamoku

Duke Kahanamoku

Duke Kahanamoku was a gold medal Olympic swimmer who trained at the Central Y, setting world records for the 400 and 500 relay races in 1916. Following his Olympic career retirement, Kahanamoku traveled and conducted swimming exhibitions—it was during this time that he popularized the sport of surfing in the United States, which previously had only been known in Hawaii. 




Fred Hoshiyama

Fred Hoshiyama

Born in 1914, Fred Hoshiyama worked for the YMCA full time for 39 years — from 1941 through 1980 — except for his time in a government internment camp during World War II. While in this camp, Hoshiyama created YMCA-based programs to help address the social, educational and recreational needs of the Japanese Americans held in the camp.  
Hoshiyama was also the founder and national director of YMCA’s National Youth Program Using Mini-Bikes and helped to establish the National Association of Student YMCAs in the 1970s, revitalizing the YMCA student movement. Today, a scholarship in his name provides professional development for Y staff of Asian Pacific Islander heritage. 

Engaging in Asian and Asian American Culture 

Seattle’s history and culture are rich in Asian and Asian American influence. Check out the opportunities below to engage in our local Asian and Asian American culture.  

Local Guide 

Visit Seattle celebrates Asian American Cultural Heritage by sharing how Asian Pacific Americans have played prominent roles in Seattle’s history from the beginning of the city’s settlement. Download the Guide to Seattle’s Asian American Cultural Heritage and find ways to engage in Asian American culture all around Seattle.   

Download Guide >   

Special Event  

Hosted by the Seattle Center, Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration will take place on May 4: 11:00 am-6:00 pm at the Armory Food & Event Hall. The festival is part of the Seattle Center Festál series. It is free and open to the public.   

Learn More >   

This month, let's commit to learning and honoring the diverse cultures, contributions, and experiences of Asian and Asian American communities while advancing equity and justice for all.

In community & gratitude, 

Loria Yeadon 
President & CEO 
YMCA of Greater Seattle