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Celebrate Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month with Us!


Join AARP California as we recognize Asian American and Pacific Islander culture and contributions to the United States.

A Message from AARP California:
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a time to honor the many contributions that generations of Asian American and Pacific Islanders have made to American history, society, and culture. It also offers us a time for reflection to better understand the Asian and Pacific Islander experience today.

Over the last few years, there has been an indisputable rise in anti-Asian sentiment, harassment, and hate crimes. Furthermore, earlier this year, Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay experienced senseless violence during their Lunar New Year celebrations. AARP offers our deepest condolences to those who have been impacted by hate crimes and violent acts. Such actions run counter to AARP’s values and mission, and we strongly condemn them.

AARP’s vision is a society in which all people live with dignity and purpose and are able to fulfill their goals and dreams. AARP is committed to ending age discrimination, embracing a culture of inclusion, and advocating for the financial security, personal fulfillment, and health for all.

To help further this vision, we invite you to act with compassion and empathy towards one another this month and beyond. Caring for one another, regardless of differences, is the theme AARP is leaning into this Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and we hope you will embrace it with us. By caring for one another, we can come together and progress as a strong community.


Joe Garbanzos, State President & Nancy McPherson, State Director

Additional Resources:

AARP News:
New Survey Panel Amplifies Voices of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Communities
Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities make up the fastest growing demographic across the country, but historically, these communities have frequently been excluded or underrepresented in public opinion polls. To correct this data inequity, NORC at the University of Chicago and AARP are leading a collective effort to develop the first-ever AANHPI-focused survey panel, Amplify AAPI. Learn more HERE.

AARP California Events – Celebrating the Culture and Contributions of Asian American and Pacific Islanders:
AARP is offering an array of events during the month of May to celebrate the culture and contributions of the Asian and Pacific Islander American communities.

An Elegy to Forgetting Film Screening and Caregiving Discussion | May 2 - In Person (San Diego)
Join us for a film screening of An Elegy to Forgetting, which documents one filmmaker’s experience with his father’s death due to Alzheimer’s disease. Taken from a personal perspective, the filmmaker gives a first-hand look at how his family dealt with his father’s worsening condition and eventual death, leading him to realizations about memory, familial relationships, and his own mortality. The film delves into the importance of memories in the human experience – how the ability to remember makes us feel alive, how its power can hold us, and how memory gives us what we need to feel and be human. The film screening will be followed by A Panel Discussion: The Many Dimensions of Caregiving & Alzheimers Disease, moderated by AARP CA State President, Joe Garbanzos, with panelists from the Alzheimer's Association, San Diego Filipino Cinema, and Pilipino Workers Center. Learn more and register HERE. This in-person event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

Dealing with Dad Audience Q&A: A Fun & Informative Film Discussion | May 9 - Virtual
(Plus, access to view the film remotely from May 5 – 9)
Join us for a fun and informative discussion with the director, producer, and actors of this moving comedy-drama Dealing with Dad. Dealing With Dad, a movie by award winning filmmaker Tom Huang follows adult children returning home to cope with their father’s debilitating depression only to discover he’s a more pleasant person depressed. During this discussion, attendees will hear from Tom Huang, actor Dana Lee, who plays Dad, and Contemporary Asian Theater Scene about both the movie - a story of a family reconnecting - and the AAPI experience in the film industry. Learn more and register HERE. This virtual event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

You can watch the movie in advance of the discussion by ordering a free ticket. (Click the “Order Ticket” button.) This will give you access to the film May 5-9.

The Japanese American Museum of San Jose: An Educational Sharing on the Museum and the Contributions of Japanese Americans | May 10 - Virtual
Join us for a conversation with Michael Sera, board president of the Japanese American Museum of San Jose. He’ll examine the history of Japanese Americans’ experience in this country and challenges they faced while adapting and contributing to life in their West Coast communities. Attendees will also learn how the museum has created a unique space for sharing the Japanese American experience and about its offerings.  Learn more and register HERE. This virtual event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

The WWII Incarceration of Japanese Americans in U.S. Concentration Camps: A History Conversation on the U.S. Treatment of Japanese Americans After Pearl Harbor | May 10 - Virtual
Join us as we hear from Archivist Julie Thomas of Sacramento State and explore the events leading up to the forced removal from the West Coast of 120,000 citizens of Japanese ancestry (two-thirds of whom were American citizens) and their imprisonment without due process of law. Learn about the congressional commission’s findings that the incarceration was due to “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” Julie will examine the efforts of many within and outside of the Japanese American community that led to the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which offered some restitution to those who had been wronged. Learn more and register HERE. This virtual event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

Practice Qi Gong for Mindful Living: Discover the Art of Qi Gong | May 19 - Virtual
Join us and discover how Qi Gong, (pronounced chee-gung), the practice of cultivating vital life-force, can help you relax and strengthen the body and mind. Hear from Professor Kathy Yep, a certified mindfulness facilitator and a practitioner of Dayan Qi Gong, who will provide a demonstration of Qi Gong’s gentle, flowing movements and breathing technique. Qi Gong is gentle and easy to learn and is suitable for all ages and physical condition. Please consult your physician before beginning any new exercise regimen.  Learn more and register HERE. This virtual event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Night Market: Honoring and Celebrating Diversity in Downtown Sacramento | May 19 - In Person (Sacramento)
Join us as the Sacramento Asian Chamber of Commerce hosts their annual AAPI Night Market in Downtown Sacramento. Enjoy a vibrant celebration of the diverse community and discover the richness of AAPI cultures with over 40 food and drink vendors, local merchants, and special live performances. Learn more and purchase tickets HERE.

OCA Sacramento’s 28th Dragon Boat Festival: Recognizing “AAPIs in Action” | May 25 - In Person (Sacramento)
Join us as OCA-APA Sacramento celebrates AAPI community members who are champions for the local community. Learn more and purchase tickets HERE.

AARP California Spotlight Series – Inspirational AAPI Leaders Caring for Their Community:
In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, AARP California is celebrating four inspirational Californian’s who embody compassion by caring for their communities and creating opportunities for connection. Videos will be posted weekly on Mondays, starting May 8th.

Michael Chang, Ph.D. - founder and executive director of the Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute (APALI) and former Mayor of Cupertino:

Chanchanit Martorell - founder and executive director of Thai Community Development Center:

Pat Fong Kushida - president and CEO of the Sacramento and California Asian Pacific Chambers of Commerce:

Janet Hamada-Kelley - executive director for the Alzheimer’s Association San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter:

An #DisruptAging Story
Have you ever heard of an Ajumma? It’s a Korean term for a middle-aged or older woman and over the years, it has taken on some negative connotations. But San Diego dance group Ajumma EXP is working hard to change that perception – and show the world that Ajummas have earned the right to be who they want to be, say what they want to say, and deserve the world’s respect.

Ajumma EXP is a crew of fierce women who embrace growing older, getting wiser, and being able to laugh at themselves. They show up in unexpected places and perform choreographed flash mobs to promote their mission: to create a fun platform to educate and entertain the world about the Ajumma, and in doing so, celebrate all middle-aged women.

AARP California, Ajumma EXP, and the San Diego Chinese Women’s Association co-presented the recent screening of the Singaporean movie Ajoomma at the San Diego Asian Film Festival Spring Showcase on April 26. Before the film, this local group of dancing aunties wowed the crowd with their slick dance moves and sense of fun!  

We can all take a little inspiration from their unique style (comfy track suits and oversized sun visors!), enthusiasm, and passion for sharing joy with the world!

To learn more about AARP’s AAPI work, visit

About AARP California
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