AAPI Heritage Month
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month is meant to celebrate the the cultures of those in the United States with ties and lineage to the Asian content and Pacific Islands, as well as recognize their central role in U.S. History on an annual basis. Use this guide to see what Kansas City area events and organizations are hosting means of discussion, education, celebration and more.
Download a pdf of this calendar: AAPI Month events 2023
Remember that, while we have curated this list to things that happen in May, many of these events and organizations occur throughout the year.
May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.
Like most commemorative months, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month originated with Congress. In in June 1978, Rep. Horton introduced a resolution that proposed that the President should “proclaim a week, which is to include the seventh and tenth of the month, during the first ten days in May of 1979 as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’” This joint resolution was passed by the House and then the Senate and was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 5, 1978. In 1990 Congress expanded the observance to a month. Then in 1992, Congress designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.
The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.
The best way to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month are to take time to learn more about the many cultures encompassed in the acronym. We encourage you to learn about the history of Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants, to try new foods, to listen to new music and to support art made by the individuals belonging to these communities. For more in depth ideas on celebrating AAPI Hertiage month, we suggest you check out this site.
Nelson Atkins Museum Free
Nelson Atkins Museum is currently housing the following Special exhibits throughout the year:
- Picturing Paradise: Blue and Green in Chinese Landscape Paintings (runs through August 2023)
- Traditions of Japanese Art (runs through October 2023)
- Silver Splendor: Conserving the Royal Thrones of Dungarpur, India (runs through July 2023)
- Found in Translation: Explorations by 8 Contemporary Artists (runs through August 2023)
TRADEWIND ARTS is an organization devoted to illuminating, motivating, and amplifying the Native Hawaiian, Pasifika, and Asian American diasporic voice through diverse creative media, particularly in the theatrical arts.
Kansas City Library Movie Screenings Free Throughout May
Kansas City Library presents free screenings of: “Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrier”, “Crazy Rich Asians”, and “Moana” throughout the month of May.
Indian Movies in Kansas City Varies
A number of movies theatres in Kansas City regularly screen Indian Movies. Movies from several different states in India with their own traditions, languages and storylines are easily available and exciting to watch! Visit the website to learn more.
Minari presented by Screenland Armour $8 May 7, 11
“Minari is a 2020 American drama film written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung. It stars Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri, Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho, Youn Yuh-jung, and Will Patton. A semi-autobiographical take on Chung’s upbringing, the plot follows a family of South Korean immigrants who try to make it in the rural United States during the 1980s”
“The “home” of Kansas City’s Filipino community, the Filipino Cultural Center (FCC) is a multi-purpose facility. It is the place for dance and choir rehearsals, as well as a venue for cultural presentations, exhibits, educational workshops, and social activities. Inaugurated in 2000, the building represents the dream of many of the community’s pioneers.”
Asian American Chamber of Commerce
“The Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Kansas City was formed in 1998 as a non-profit organization whose mission is to support and promote business and cultural relationships among members of the Chamber, local and national corporations, and the general public. “
Vietnamese American Community of Greater Kansas City
“VACKC addresses the growing needs of Vietnamese-Americans in the Kansas City metro area since 2004, with aims to strengthen and promote community & culture.”
Indian Association of Kansas City
“India Association of Kansas City (IAKC) is a non-profit volunteer organization that represents the people of Indian heritage in and around the greater Kansas City area – It works closely with various other organizations in the area representing different regions and cultures of India. It thrives to provide a common platform to enhance and foster the Indian heritage and build a sense of unity between Indian community and other Asian and American communities. IAKC provides information to people about the Indian community, and holds many events which are open to the public.”
“API Underground – KC is a community of progressive AAPIs located in the Kansas City metro area.”
Heart of American Japan-America Society
“Our mission is to further understanding between the peoples of Japan and the Greater Kansas City area by promoting social, cultural and educational exchanges. We also encourage friends from anywhere to be a part of our events and mission. We often send newsletters to members out of town including residents in Japan and former Kansas Citians.”
Kansas City Chinese Association
”KCCA, the Kansas City Chinese Association is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious organization whose purpose is to promote socialization, improve benefits, develop common interests, and to satisfy the needs of Kansan City area’s Chinese-American community. “
“Come TASTE Authentic Asian & Pacific Islander food, Hangout, Make New Friends, Grab Some Cold Drinks, Relax, Chill Out, and Enjoy Being Part of Kansas City’s Own AAPI Community. A celebration and get-together of different Asians and Pacific Islanders to recognize the holiday month of May for our cultural group. The entire community of Kansas City are invited to join us to experience the rich culture that we have here locally.”
Bolly X Bhangra Dance Varies April 30
“Bollywood & Bhangra dancing is an expressive form of movement based around the popular Indian film genre. Fusing classical Indian steps with folk, Latin and hip-hop styles, it offers a fast-moving and vivacious dancing workout that is great for enjoyable group exercise.”
Chinese Fine Wellness Tea Party $25 May 6
“During these tea party you will get to enjoy Oriental styles teas and develop an understanding about yourself, to enable you to become your best possible self. These classes are traditional Chinese tea lessons that show you how to prepare teas, perform ceremonies and generate a calmness from within. – This class will focus on 3 ways to make green tea. For joining us we will give you a gift to take home and enjoy.”
Family Revival Luau ft. Island Breeze Free May 7
“Join us for Family Revival Nights on Sunday May 7th! We will have guests Island Breeze that will preform a cultural performance from the pacific and around the world! Dinner will be served. Tickets are required for all ages 2 years and up!”
AAPI Heritage Storytime Free May 11, 18
“Join us for a special storytime to celebrate Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Together we will enjoy stories with AAPI protagonists and explore diverse cultures. We cannot wait to see you there! “
IDEAL Entrepreneurship ft. Jackie Nguyen Free May 18
“Café Cà Phê is Kansas City’s first Vietnamese coffee shop. Nguyen started her business as a food truck in 2020 but since has opened a brick-and-mortar location in the Columbus Park neighborhood. She discusses entrepreneurship through the lens of allyship and diversity as a first-generation Vietnamese American and daughter of a refugee. “
AAPICONIC: AAPI Festival Free May 20
“Join Cafe Cà Phê, Kansas City’s first Vietnamese coffee shop, at Columbus Square Park on May 20 for the second annual Kansas City AAPI Festival, presented by Fresh Karma Dispensaries. Additional sponsors include Rancilio Group, Torani, Oatly, Boulevard Brewing, Made in KC, and many more.”
Naka-Kon $12+ May 26-28
“The National WWI Museum and Memorial presents: Lincoln and Wilson led with high ideals and oversaw many successes. But both presidents addressed the issue of race in ways that had serious consequences – intended and unintended – and left unfinished business. Join Dr. Chris Capozzola, Dr. Randall Jelks and Dr. Kate Masur in a conversation on presidents, American history and democracy.”
- Tiffany Yu @ImTiffanyYu
- Maysoon Zayid @MaysoonZayid
- Alice Wong @Disability_Visibility
- Lina @NdWellness
Melemaikalani Makalapua McAllister @Mele
Brian Park @FeelingAsianPodcast
Owin Pierson @OwinPierson
Kevin Wilson @CrossCultureKev
- Kyne @OnlineKyne
- Zayne Shah @zaddyza1n
- Topher Ngo @TopherNgo
- Hina @K8sabz
Jenn Im @ImJennIm
Alita Pear @alita_pear
Michael James Wong @michaeljameswong
- Michelle Phan @TheMichellePhan
- Patrick Starrr @PatrickStarrr
- Deepica Mutyala @Deepica
- Dynah Tuia’ana @Dynah.tui
- Joanne Molinaro @The.Korean.Vegan
- Vanessa and Kim Pharm @Omsom
- Sheil Shukla @PlantBasedArtist
- The Sulas @SLHomeCooks
Asian American History 101, hosted by: Gen and Ted Li
“Daughter and father podcasting team lead listeners through deep dives into critical and sometimes overlooked moments and figures in Asian American history. The hosts have covered tasty topics like the history of Ketchup and Vietnamese food and serious ones like the impact of anti-miscegenation laws on AAPI communities. They also shed light on important but neglected figures in AAPI history, like Wataru Misaka, the first nonwhite and first person of Asian descent to play in the NBA. Come for the wholesome family banter and leave with unforgettable moments in AAPI history..”
” Native Stories is a platform for authentic stories and experiences of Pacific Islanders. Each episode connects listeners with Pacific Island storytellers, historians, and cultural practioners to strengthen pilina — connection — to place. .”
Self Evident: Asian America’s Stories, hosted by: Cathy Erway
“Self Evident is a beautifully produced show that uses reported narratives, personal stories, and community conversations in order to present a complex, empathetic portrait of Asian American life.”
Long Distance, hosted by: Paola Mardo
“Long Distance is the first documentary podcast about the Filipino diaspora. Listeners should start at the very beginning with story about the first wave of Filipino immigrants to arrive e in America. Later episodes alternate between other history lessons—including the stories of labor organizer Larry Itliong and underground activist Myrla Baldonado—and personal narratives, .”
Escape from Plan A, hosted by: Plan A Magazine
“This podcast aims to encourage critical thought, discussion and action amongst the Asian diaspora to collectively empower the AAPI community. The show alternates between group commentary and interviews on issues like anti-Asian violence, politics and pop culture. .”
Mx. Asian American, hosted by: Karen Zheng
“This podcast explores the complicated intersection between Asian and American identity. Zheng invites business owners, creators and politicians from around the country to talk. Join in on conversations about AAPI food, the stigma of mental illness, racism, parenting models and love languages.”
They Call Us Bruce, hosted by: Phil Yu and Jeff Yang
“Writer and journalist tackle notable and controversial subjects in contemporary Asian America in this energetic podcast. They’ve explored topics like what it means to be “very Asian,” the significance of the first Asian superhero movie, and how to battle anti-Asian racism. The hosts interview notable AAPI figures like Your Korean Dad, Jon Chu and Domee Shi to talk about racism, representation and revelation”.
Dear White Women, hosted by: Sara and Mishaha
“Hosted by two half-Asian women and mothers of multi-racial children, this podcast aims to reveal and uproot systemic racism and center conversations relating to social justice, equal rights and community organizing. Talking about the intersections of race, class and gender, the hosts share their experiences as biracial women straddling the color line between Asian and white identities.”.
Saturday School, hosted by: Ada Tseng and Brian Hu
” The hosts want to reveal the “deep and buried history” of Asian American storytelling in pop culture, and raise awareness about existing films and cultural staples that may have been overlooked or underappreciated at the time they were released.”“
Las Culturistas hosted by Bowen Yang & Matt Rogers
“This award-winning podcast covers all aspects of pop culture. Marked by the hosts’ tongue-in-cheek commentary and their proficiency in industry knowledge and analysis, the podcast welcomes powerhouse guests like Michelle Yeoh, Margaret Cho and Stephanie Hsu and comments on awards ceremonies like the Oscars, recent film releases, and buzzy cultural moments in need of the hosts’ insights.”
Book Friends Forever, hosted by Grace Lin
“A podcast that discusses hot topics in the children’s literature world? “Yes, please,” say AAPI parents and kids lit fans everywhere. Listen to conversations about aging, happiness, the meaning of home, self-care and the intricacies of the publishing scene with these knowledgeable and thoughtful industry leaders. One reviewer says, “This podcast is like your favorite sweatpants–comfy, cozy, and perfect to put on while making dinner.”
Affirmation Pod, hosted by: Josie Ong
“Get soothing affirmations to boost your mental health! This weekly podcast gives you self-love affirmations for confidence, focus and success..”
The KoyPo(n)d, hosted by: Jo Koy
“Filipino American comedian Jo Koy talks, reenacts, and laughs about life with friends and fellow comedians on a wide range of topics. Guests include The Black Eyed Peas, King Bach, and comedian Anjelah Johnson.”
Feast Meets West, hosted by: Linda Liu
“Feast Meets West celebrates Asian culture and the diversity of the Asian experience through the universal lens of food. Host Lynda Liu takes listeners through stories of underrepresented foods and iconic dishes, giving a voice to often unheard people in the world of Asian food. “
I weigh with Jameela Jamil
” I WEIGH challenges societal norms through conversations with thought-leaders, performers, activists, influencers, and friends about their own experiences and stories with their mental health. With hilarious and vulnerable conversations, it amplifies and empowers diverse voices in an accessible way to celebrate progress, not perfection.”
Bollywood Boulevard Free All year
Bollywood Boulevard welcomes you all to join our weekly dance sessions and to learn some dances to Indian music.
Bankura’s Sacred Arts Free May – Sept
View a collection of terracotta works in “Bankura’s Sacred Arts: Traditions in Terracotta and Other Crafts of West Bengal,” on view in the Corner Gallery of FADS first floor . Explore the traditional art of terracotta sculpture found only in West Bengal, India, with Fine Arts Professor Laura-Harris Gascogne. This generations-old practice of ceramics has grown increasingly rare. Through Gascogne’s months-long research, discover how we can shed light on and preserve this distinct form of art.
Japan Festival $10-15 Oct 7th
“The Festival showcases the traditional culture, pop culture, food and art of Japan, along with the vision, technology, and hopes for the future shared by the people of Japan and the people of the Kansas City area. It features Japanese musical performances, traditional Japanese foods, a Japanese candy artist, Japanese snacks and sweets, a Bazaar shopping extravaganza, exhibits Japanese cultural village for kids, martial arts, anime & manga, workshops, demonstrations, cultural presentations, and more!”