AAPI Heritage Month at Burke’s

This year’s AAPI Heritage Month theme designated by the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) is “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration.” Burke’s celebrates Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in the classroom and on campus in a variety of ways.
The library always creates an expansive Heritage Month display and right now students will find Yes We Will: Asian Americans Who Shaped This Country, along with a list of literature highlighting Asian Americans from a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities. Our Parent AAPI Affinity Group will be decorating the Front Office bulletin board, so keep an eye out for that wonderful display. 

For more reading, check out this list of recommendations from Burke’s librarians: 

Lower School

  • New From Here by Kelly Yang
  • Ruby's Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges
  • Front Desk by Kelly Yang
  • The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang
Upper School 
  • When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller
  • The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
  • Temple Alley Summer by Sachiko Kashiwaba
  • Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park
  • Lailani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly
  • A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Ellen Oh

In a few examples from the classroom, first graders have been learning about Asian American changemakers during morning meeting. Some of the people they’ve learned about include Ali Wong, Xian Zhang, and Padma Lakshmi. In Upper School, sixth graders completed and presented informational projects about the contributions of ancient Chinese inventions including everything from kites to gunpowder, and nail polish to noodles. Students produced podcasts, news shows, and live presentations.

All community members are encouraged to celebrate and honor AAPI Month by learning more about its history. AAPI Heritage Month began as the idea of Jeanie Jew, a Capitol Hill staffer in the 70s. She worked with Rep. Frank Horton, who introduced legislation for AAPI Week, in the first ten days of May. Senator Daniel Inouye did the same in the Senate. However, the resolution did not pass until 1979, and it wasn’t until 1992 that it was extended to the length of a full month. And if you’re wondering why AAPI Heritage Month is in May, it is due to two important dates: May 7, 1843, to honor the first Japanese immigrants in the U.S., and May 10, 1869, which marks the date of the first transcontinental railroad, which was largely constructed by Chinese workers

For some local highlights, the Bayview Opera House is currently hosting an exhibit featuring the work of Ricardo Ocreto Alvarado, a Filipino photographer whose art captured the lives and experiences of Filipino-Americans in San Francisco’s Bayview District during the 1940s through the late 1950s. 

When it comes to advocacy, the Asian Law Caucus is an organization that has been doing important advocacy work in the AAPI community since 1972, including supporting families in San Francisco struggling with Ellis Act evictions. 

And if you’d like to get a little poetic, you may be interested in Victoria Chang, a poet who recently won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award
Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.


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7070 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94121
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