May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month
In 1978, a joint U.S. Congress resolution established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. The first 10 days of May were chosen to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869. Then in 1992, Congress expanded the observance to a monthlong celebration, also known as Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
As we honor this month, we are mindful of the contributions attributed by, and the atrocities committed against, individuals of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the U.S. and in Bellingham.
Bellingham Public Library has curated a new list of available Library materials on the topic of Asian American and Pacific Islander Experiences.
May 18 is AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate
In a joint proclamation, Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu and City of Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood have named May 18, 2021 to be AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate in Whatcom County in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and in honor of Vincent Chin, who was brutally murdered in a hate crime in 1982. Read the full proclamation.
Arch of Healing and Reconciliation
On the northeast corner of the block containing Bellingham Central Library and Lee Memorial Park, the Arch of Healing and Reconciliation was established in 2018 in memory of Chinese, Indian and Japanese immigrants who were targeted and forcibly removed from Bellingham in 1885, 1907 and 1942. The Arch of Healing Monument honors immigrant communities and unity among all county residents. It also educates the public about this history.
Racism is a Public Health Crisis
The Whatcom County Council, acting as the Health Board, passed a resolution affirming that racism is a public health crisis in Whatcom County, joining other cities and counties across the state and the nation with this resolution and committing to take steps toward racial equity.
In April 2021, both the Whatcom County Council and the City of Bellingham Council have passed an Interlocal Agreement to support, develop and fund a process to create recommendations on the establishment of a countywide Racial Equity Commission.
Digital Storytelling: The Unrooted Experience
To encourage racial equity and understanding, Bellingham Public Library supported creation of a Digital Storytelling project titled The Unrooted Experience, a series of videos by local community members.
Race and Social Equity
Bellingham Public Library stands with the Urban Libraries Council Statement on Race and Social Equity.