Every year, May is celebrated as Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. The celebration was officially recognized in 1978 to honor the contributions and experiences of the AAPI community. Observing and celebrating AAPI heritage month is a great way to promote belonging, increase awareness of Asian experiences, and explore the cultural richness of the AAPI community as well as recognize the challenges they face. In this guide explore the theme for AAPI Heritage Month 2023 and how organizations can celebrate this month with employees.
What is the theme for AAPI Month 2023?
This year's theme for AAPI Month is a continuation of the "Advancing Leaders" theme series which began in 2021. "Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity" is the theme for AAPI Month as declared by the Federal Asian Pacific American Council.
10 Activities to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month at work
1. AAPI Month Trivia
Trivia quizzes are a fun way to engage teams while building awareness around AAPI culture, history, and the community’s contributions to society. These can be organized with fun trivia cards in-person or through online quiz platforms like Polly to include remote employees.
2. Making flashcards and posters
As a fun virtual activity, employees can collaborate to create informative posters and flashcards on legal rights and resources, helplines, and other tools that can be used to report hate crimes against Asian-American communities. These can be shared as free resources on social media and organizations can donate them to local nonprofits to build awareness.
3. Explore AAPI culture through movies with your team
Arrange a showing of a film or documentary that focuses on the AAPI experience. Following the film, you may hold a conversation with your coworkers to debate different points of view and learn more about AAPI culture.
Here are some film recommendations for an AAPI-focused screening and discussion event:
Following the viewing, you can discuss these topics with your colleagues:
- What themes or messages stood out to you in the film?
- How did the film challenge your preconceptions or opinions on the AAPI experience?
- What parts of AAPI culture does the film depict?
- How does the film connect to current events or concerns impacting the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities?
- What measures can we take to make our community more inclusive and welcoming?
Volunteering with AAPI-focused organizations can be a meaningful way to commemorate and promote AAPI Month. This can be an excellent chance to develop a better grasp of AAPI concerns while also making a good contribution to the community.
As part of our AAPI heritage month celebration at Goodera, we engage hundreds of corporate volunteers with support from our nonprofit partners. In some of the team-based volunteering activities that we conduct, employee volunteers:
- Participate in activities that raise cultural awareness,
- Engage in activities that break Asian-American stereotypes, and
- Explore contributions made by members of the AAPI community.
- Inspire young girls from the AAPI community to pursue careers in fields like STEM, art, music, literature, etc.
- If you're looking to engage your team through volunteering to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month, <rte-link_business-popup>get in touch with us<rte-link_business-popup>.
5. Organize a book club
Start a book club that encourages employees to explore authors from AAPI communities. Employees can learn about diverse perspectives and cultures, form bonds, and ally with the community. Here are a few recommendations:
6. Plan a workplace potluck
A simple and inexpensive way to celebrate AAPI month is to organize a workplace potluck. Create a sign-up page for employees to specify the dish they want to bring. Invite everyone to bring a dish from their ethnic heritage or to try something new from AAPI cuisine. To educate everyone on the cultural importance of the meal, consider setting up a separate table with information on the dishes and their origins.
7. Celebrate AAPI Employees
Highlighting Asian employees draws attention to their essential role in the organization.
Here are some questions to help you organize your post:
- What does being Asian mean to you? And how do you celebrate your heritage?
- Which figure from your community do you wish more people knew?
- Have you faced any barriers or challenges related to your AAPI identity in your career, and if so, how did you overcome them?
- What is your favorite cultural tradition? Is there a dish you can recommend?
- Lastly, How can we create a more inclusive workplace for AAPI individuals, and what role do you see yourself playing in that effort?
8. Art & Craft workshop
Host a workshop where employees can learn how to create traditional Japanese origami, Chinese paper-cutting, or Indian rangoli designs. These activities can be a fun way to encourage team building and cultural exchange, while also promoting AAPI heritage.
To ensure that the workshop is both fun and educational, consider partnering with local AAPI artists or organizations who can provide guidance and resources for the craft.
9. Support local AAPI businesses
Supporting local AAPI-owned businesses is a great way to celebrate AAPI month. Teams can visit local-AAPI-owned grocery stores and explore authentic snacks, explore diverse cultures by ordering lunches and visiting AAPI restaurants, or purchase their products online throughout the month.
Teams can also:
- Pledge to raise money for a few selected local AAPI-led businesses that need it the most,
- Promote efforts in supporting local businesses on social media to amplify support.
- Conduct employee volunteering activities that enable employees to mentor/support young business owners from the community.
You might also like: Top 10 AAPI Nonprofit Organizations to Volunteer for In 2023
10. Learn a new language with your team
Language learning sessions can be a fun and educational way to celebrate AAPI Month at the workplace. AAPI employees can teach fun and informational phrases in their native language to their colleagues. It's a great way to learn about different cultures and languages while also building relationships with colleagues. To host a language lesson, you can set up a schedule and invite interested colleagues to sign up for a session. You can also provide language learning resources to make the session more effective and enjoyable.
Start an AAPI ERG this AAPI Heritage Month
Don't have a platform for your AAPI employees to connect and advocate for themselves yet? AAPI Heritage Month is the perfect time to create an AAPI employee resource group (ERG). ERGs improve inclusion and belonging at work, provide opportunities for colleagues to become culturally aware and sensitive, and promote diversity within the organization. To explore AAPI ERGs in detail, head over to our guide on AAPI ERGs.
That's a wrap on our list of activities to celebrate AAPI heritage month. If you need help planning engaging and impactful activities for your employees, <rte-link_business-popup>reach out to us<rte-link_business-popup>. Goodera executes curated impactful employee activities across 50+ cause areas in over 100 countries. Engage your teams in ways that best meet your needs - virtually, in-person, or a mix of both.