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Celebration of Asian, Pacific Islander heritage

By Cpl. Rubin Tan | | June 6, 2013


Naval Hospital Beaufort held an Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month program in the hospital’s auditorium, May 30.

The event was sponsored by the Tri-Command Special Emphasis Committee, which studies issues concerning discrimination and equal opportunity for minorities, women and the disabled.

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a fashion show, dance presentations, historical presentation and lunch were held to give attendants more knowledge of the heritage.

Asian-Pacific includes all countries in the Asian continent and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia including Guam, Wake Island, Midway Islands, Hawaiian Islands and more.

The heritage month originated in a congressional bill signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 5, 1987, designating the annual celebration to be the first week of May. It was not until 1990 when President George H.W. Bush proposed Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage celebration be a month-long celebration.

"Our military force encompasses a diverse group of individuals from society and it’s important to recognize the continuous achievements of all Americans to the American culture by increasing awareness, mutual respect and understanding," said Gunnery Sgt. Tamara McMillan, Air Station equal opportunity advisor. "An important component in a well-rounded organization is diversity, meaning people of different races, gender, ethnic background, education and even personality."

May is significant to the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage because it celebrates the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States in 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869.

The committee is currently planning an event for August to celebrate Women’s Equality Day, which is celebrated, Aug. 26.

"Participation in special observance programs assists with combating stereotypical behavior, promoting a diverse workplace and maintaining a healthy human relations climate. It’s important to have a strong command support at the observances because it is a testament to our Marines, sailors and civilians," said McMillan, a native of Bellwood, Ill.

For more information about Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage visit www.asianpacificheritage.gov or call Gunnery Sgt. Tamara McMillan 525-1695.