Fort McCoy News May 13, 2016

AAPI Heritage Month event scheduled for May 19

The Fort McCoy observance of Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is scheduled for Thursday, May 19, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at McCoy's Community Center, building 1571.

The guest speaker is Pafoua Her, a Hmong immigrant who moved to the United States in 1976. Her's Family was among the earliest Hmong Families that resettled in the United States as political refugees after the Vietnam War. Her volunteers for the United Hmong American Association, a nonprofit organization that supports leadership and education for Hmong youth. She also is an adviser to the Hmong 18 Council of Wisconsin, which assists Hmong in Wisconsin with educational, economic, cultural, and social development.

Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month poster

She will discuss her personal experiences as a refugee and how she forged her identity and leveraged her experiences to create understanding, inclusion, and unity.

The presentation starts at noon. Attendees should get lunch on their own beforehand.

For more information, contact the Equal Opportunity adviser at 608-630-6153.

Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month facts

U.S. Congress established May as Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in 1990 to celebrate the contributions of Americans of Asian, Pacific, and Hawaiian descent.

• Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.

• There are more than 39 different Pacific-Island languages spoken as a second language in American households.

• After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Japanese-Americans were perceived as a threat to national security. Thousands of Japanese-Americans were involuntarily moved to internment camps. Despite being subjected to prejudice and discrimination, a large number of Nisei (first-generation Japanese-Americans born in the U.S.) volunteered for service in the U.S. Army.

• Filipino-American women worked with the underground resistance movement to help American forces in the Philippines throughout the three-year period of Japanese occupation during World War II. These women smuggled food and medicine to American prisoners of war and carried information on Japanese deployments to Filipino and American forces working to sabotage the Japanese Army.

• Immigration to the U.S. from Vietnam was virtually nonexistent before the 1970s. The fall of Saigon in 1975 started an exodus from Vietnam that would eventually see the resettlement of 900,000 Vietnamese refugees in the United States.

• Thirty-three Asian-American and Pacific Islander veterans have received the Medal of Honor.

   (Facts provided by the garrison Equal Opportunity adviser.)