Between Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Pride Month, and Juneteenth, May and June bring with them numerous opportunities to celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion and engage in conversations that expand our perspectives and help enact change. The Dallas Regional Chamber has compiled resources and events to help you learn about and engage with these commemorative and symbolic holidays.
May: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month celebrates the diverse cultures and accomplishments of Americans who trace their roots to Asia and the Pacific Islands and the ways they have enriched America’s history and society. AAPI heritage includes over 40 countries and 25,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean.
When the United States Congress originated the commemorative month, the month of May was chosen to mark the arrival of the immigration of the first known Japanese to the U.S. on May 7, 1843, as well as the completion of the transcontinental railroad—which was largely laid by Chinese immigrants—on May 10, 1869. AAPI Heritage Month began as a week-long celebration in 1978 before being expanded to a month in 1990.
The Asian and Pacific American community experienced a resurgence of racist behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization Stop AAPI Hate documented 10,905 hate incidents from March 2020 to December 2021, making dialogues about these issues relevant to the development of effective and inclusive professional spaces and communities.
Read, Watch, and Listen:
- About Asian/Pacific Heritage Month
- Podcast “Self Evident: Asian America’s Stories”
- PBS’s five-part documentary series “Asian Americans”
- How to Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month in Dallas
- April 15, 2023 – April 14, 2024 | Japan, Form & Function: The Montgomery Collection – Crow Collection
- May 5, 12, 19, 26 | Celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month
- May 6 | Family Weekends AAPI Celebration in Dallas at Sammons Park
- May 6 | Plano AsiaFest | Celebrating Asian American Heritage Foundation
- May 20 | Fusion Celebrating Irving’s Diversity
June: Pride Month
Pride Month celebrates and commemorates lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) pride, while honoring the 1969 Stonewall Uprising against police harassment. Pride celebrations aim to promote the confidence, self-respect, and solidarity of LGBTQ social groups.
In addition to the Stonewall Uprising, the month of June marks other important landmark decisions for the LQBTQ community.
- In 1998, Executive Order 13087 prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation and expanded equal opportunity employment in the Federal government.
- In June 1999, Proclamation No. 7203, officially recognized June as Gay and Lesbian Pride month.
- A Supreme Court ruling in June 2003 struck down anti-sodomy laws in Texas and 13 other states.
- In June 2009, Gay and Lesbian pride month was expanded to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride month under Proclamation No. 8387.
- The Supreme Court extended federal benefits to same sex couples in United States v. Windsor.
- June 2015, the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling recognized same-sex marriages.
- The ruling on Bostock v. Clayton County in June 2020 held that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends to LGBTQ workers.
Despite legal and social gains, people in the LGBTQ community still experience discrimination. Social stigmas have solidified in almost every aspect of life. Legislatively, 32 states, including Texas, have restricted access to gender affirming healthcare for transgender individuals. Discrimination in the workplace, as it exists today, is best described in this report by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation: A Workplace Divided Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ Workers Nationwide.
Read, Watch, and Listen:
- DiversityInc | An Allied Approach: Embracing Next-Level Inclusion for LGBTQ Employees
- Dallas Pride | Parade History
- VisitDallas | Dallas LGBTQ History
- History | Pride History
- May 8 | iRead Book Club: Queer Intentions
- May 20 | No Tie! | The Everyman’s Charity Gala Benefitting AIDS Services of Dallas!
- June 3 – 4 | Dallas Pride
- June 7 | Voices of LGBTQ+ Dallas (Special Exhibition Program)
June 19: Juneteenth
Juneteenth, a blend of the words June and nineteenth, is a federal holiday observed on June 19 to celebrate the emancipation of slaves. June 19 is the day Texas was given notice that President Abraham Lincoln freed all slaves—two years after his Emancipation Proclamation was declared. Texas was the first state to declare Juneteenth an official celebration on June 3, 1979, and President Joe Biden signed the legislation that made Juneteenth a federal holiday in June 2021— the first to be approved since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983. What began as an informal celebration of freedom by locals in Galveston eventually grew into a wider commemoration of the end of slavery as African Americans in Texas moved to other parts of the country. Barbecues, parades, and prayer are just some of the ways families celebrate Juneteenth.
Read, Watch, and Listen:
- D Magazine | What Juneteenth Means to Dallas
- Dallas Historical Society | Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom
- PBS: The African Americans Many Rivers to Cross | What is Juneteenth?
- Library of Congress | The Birth of Juneteenth; Voices of the Enslaved
- June 17 | MLK Juneteenth 4K Walk & Festival