Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month is a month to celebrate and pay tribute to the contributions generations of Asian/Pacific Americans have made to American history, society and culture.
The origin of Asian/Pacific-American Heritage Month dates back to the 95th Congress (1977-1978) when five joint resolutions were introduced proposing that a week in May be designated to commemorate the accomplishments of Asian/Pacific Americans. The House of Representatives introduced three joint resolutions (H.J.Res.540, H.J.Res.661, H.J.Res.753) to designate the first 10 days in May as Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week while Senator Daniel Inouye also introduced S.J.Res.72 in the Senate to designate the beginning of May as Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week. A 4th joint resolution (H.J.Res.1007) was introduced in the House by Rep. Frank J. Horton and proposed designating 7 days in May beginning on May 4th as Asian/Pacific American Week. This joint resolution was passed by Congress and became Pub.L.95-419. This law directed the President to issue a proclamation designating the week beginning on May 4, 1979 as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.
On March 28, 1979, President Carter issued Proclamation 4650, the first presidential proclamation, for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. In this proclamation, President Carter spoke of the significant role Asian/Pacific Americans have played in the creation of a dynamic and pluralistic American society with their contributions to the sciences, arts, industry, government and commerce.
Jewish American Heritage Month is a month to celebrate the contributions Jewish Americans have made to America since they first arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654. Jewish American Heritage Month had its origins in 1980 when Congress passed Pub. L. 96-237, which authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating a week in April or May as Jewish Heritage Week. President Carter issued this first proclamation, Presidential Proclamation 4752, in April 1980.
Between 1981 and 1990, Congress annually passed public laws proclaiming a week in April or May as Jewish Heritage Week and Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush issued annual proclamations which detailed important events in the history of the Jewish people. In 1991, Congress passed Pub. L. 102-30 which requested the President designate the weeks of April 14-21, 1991 and May 3-10, 1992 as Jewish Heritage Week. Between 1993 and 2006, Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush issued a series of annual presidential proclamations designating a week in April or May of each year as Jewish Heritage Week.
Then on February 14, 2006, Congress issued House Concurrent Resolution 315 which stated:
“Resolved … that Congress urges the President to issue each year a proclamation calling on State and local governments and the people of the United States to observe an American Jewish History Month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.”
Pursuant to this, on April 20, 2006 President George W. Bush issued the first Presidential Proclamation which designated May 2006 as Jewish American Heritage Month.