Uncovering the rich history of Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders in America

Last updated: May 4, 2022, at 7:53 a.m. PT

Originally published: May 2, 2022, at 3:14 p.m. PT

aanhpi month

By: Loria Yeadon   

President & CEO  

YMCA of Greater Seattle  


May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and the Y is highlighting our AANHPI community members by uncovering history, inviting youth to share stories on their American experience, and engaging with civic leaders and changemakers on how to better serve, celebrate, and champion communities. 

The Y celebrates all cultures and peoples all year long, but May brings the opportunity to intentionally dedicate time to celebrate and learn more about our AANHPI neighbors and friends and the rich contributions made by the Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander diaspora to the fabric of our nation.   

AANHPI contributions are everywhere in our communities. Seattleite Phil Hayasaka was sent to an internment camp during WWII. This experience led him to establish Seattle as a leader in civil rights for all people through his work as the first Director of the Seattle Human Rights Commission. Did you know that without civil rights icon Wing Luke, there might not be a Pike Place Market today? Or that mayor Bruce Harrell is only our first Asian American and second Black mayor in Seattle's history? These are just a few of the stories of our past to uncover and celebrate. 

Since 1992, May has served as a nationwide celebration of all peoples from Asian, Native Hawaii or Pacific Islander ancestry who trace their origins to the countries, states, and/or the diasporic communities of these geographic regions. This month was chosen to commemorate both the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the US on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad –which was predominantly built and completed by Chinese immigrants on May 10, 1869. 

This month is an invitation to engage with community, and advance equity and justice for all, especially the next generation of young people who are furthest from opportunity, by removing systemic barriers and creating accessible systems of support and belonging for all.  

Join the celebration and learn more about AANHPI heritage with us. This month, the Y will host a series of events and learning opportunities. Join us to gather, discuss, and enlighten one another in learning and conversation. 

  • May 23, please join us for our next Y Community Conversation for a discussion of the pressures and identity crisis facing Asian Americans over choosing between assimilating to the American culture or maintaining the ethnic heritage and traditions of their immigrant families heritage. RSVP today 
  • May 28, celebrate the beauty and diversity of the Eastside Asian Pacific Islander community during a shop small event at Downtown Redmond Park for Asian Pacific Islander businesses. Enjoy cultural performances and support community. RSVP today 

These events are just a glimpse of the rich culture, traditions, and history of Asians, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, which account for over 60 percent of the world’s population. We hope that you will share these events with your family, friends, and networks, and join the celebration and the work to advance equity, justice, and inclusivity for all.  


In community and gratitude,  

Loria Yeadon  

President & CEO   

YMCA of Greater Seattle  


Loria Yeadon is President and CEO at YMCA of Greater Seattle. She is an accomplished non-profit and corporate leader, engineer, and patent attorney, with more than 35 years of demonstrated commitment to serving community. Yeadon is the first woman, as well as the first person of color, to serve as CEO in the 146-year history of the YMCA of Greater Seattle.   



Category: Community