May 3, 2021
South Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing major groups in the U.S. today. In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the below 15 stories not only explore the past but also history as we make it — from how we name our children and the first Black and Indian American Vice President Kamala Harris to the lost history of Bengali Harlem and the making of the model minority myth. These stories are just a window into the multifaceted experiences of being South Asian American.
The roots of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month go back to May 1979, when President Jimmy Carter signed the first Asian Pacific American Heritage Week into effect; Congress permanently extended the celebrations from a week to a month in 1992. May is significant because Japanese immigrants first arrived in the U.S. in May 1843 and Chinese immigrants helped build America’s first transcontinental railroad, completed in May 1869. This year, in proclaiming May 2021 as Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the White House publicly denounced acts of Anti-Asian violence: “Acts of anti-Asian bias are wrong, they are un-American, and they must stop.”
The Juggernaut is dedicated to exploring untold and overlooked histories, especially in the diaspora, and this month will feature original reporting on how American textbooks teach South Asian history, the diaspora’s role in mobilizing for the current COVID crisis in India, and more.