Happy AAPI Heritage Month, San Diego! May 1 marks the start of the monthlong celebration across the U.S., recognizing and celebrating the history, culture and contributions of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.

Here in San Diego County, the AAPI community spans more than 425,000 people, the 7th largest population in the U.S. And later this month on May 12 at Snapdragon Stadium, we’re excited to host AAPI Heritage Match, presented by Mostra Coffee, which will feature special performances and guests throughout the evening, as well as a special poster giveaway.

For those wishing to utilize their time or resources this May to honor and celebrate the AAPI community, here is a list of resources and events to consider supporting, attending, or learning from this month. Click on the individual names to visit their websites and learn more about the independent work these organizations are striving to achieve. If there are additional organizations and/or resources you believe we should provide our platform to, please send your suggestions to [email protected].


San Diego Public Libraries — Monthlong; participate in any of the many events at libraries across the county, including dance classes, craft nights, and literature discussions.

Children’s Day at the Japanese Friendship Garden — Sunday, May 5 from 10-4 pm; all of the activities, vendors and performances will take place inside the garden’s gates. Guests are invited to make special koinobori, play games, and eat kashiwamochi. Performances will run throughout the day. Guests can also enjoy wearing yukatas, courtesy of the SD Kimono Club.

Convoy Nights: API Heritage Month Edition — Saturday, May 4 from 4-9 pm, Kilowatt Brewing is celebrating Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May with the Convoy District to highlight an amazing array of local vendors with the perfect gifts for friends and family to enjoy Spring. Open to the public, pet-friendly, and free to attend for all ages; Enjoy delicious food offerings, local artisan vendors, multi-cultural activities and entertainment.

AAPI Movie Screening and Panel Discussion — Friday, May 10 from 5-9 pm; In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee documents award-winning film maker Deann Borshay Liem’s journey to find answers as to why her identity was switched before being sent to America for her adoption. The movie follows Deann as she returns to Korea to find her “double” and raises questions about the history and ethics of international adoption from South Korea.

AAPI Heritage Month Lotus Mag Pop-Up — Saturday, May 11 from 1-5 pm; Be a part of the inaugural event by Lotus Magazine at Embolden Beer Co. as they bring together local AAPI vendors in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month for San Diego residents. Don’t miss the opportunity to discover one-of-a-kind local businesses. Join us for a day filled with creativity, inspiration, and fun social energy – admission is FREE and ALL are welcome. Featuring local artisans and entrepreneurs in the SoCal area, including gourmet snacks, unique jewelry, handmade candles, Korean skincare & cosmetics, and more.

Asian Pacific Cultural Festival of San Diego — Saturday, May 18 from 12-8 pm; The 11th Annual Asian Pacific Cultural Festival of San Diego takes place at the Mira Mesa Community Park, located at 8575 New Salem St, San Diego, CA 92126. Live cultural entertainment begins right at 12:00pm. The Asian Pacific Cultural Festival of San Diego is the LARGEST celebration of Asian Pacific American Cultures in San Diego and will feature cultural and traditional performances from a dozen countries and cultures, including Japan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, Myanmar, Indonesia, Hawaii, Cambodia, Thailand, Taiwan, Polynesia, and more This is a fun, family-friendly, and FREE event.

House of China San Diego AAPI Heritage Celebration — Saturday, May 18 from 11-4 pm; Located at the international cottages lawn in Balboa Park, take part in cultural and traditional performances representing cultures and countries from around Asia and the Pacific.

San Diego Chinese Historical Museum Dragon Boat Festival — Friday, May 18; Qu Yuan became the first poet with his name associated with his works, and is considered the Father of Chinese Romantic poetry. He wrote “Li Sao” during his exile, and his death inspired the Dragon Boat Festival. This international festival is celebrated in San Diego with a race annually.

Resident Free Tuesday at the Japanese Friendship Garden – Tuesday, May 21; the Japanese Friendship Garden and Museum will have Culture Day, a new Free Tuesday theme that will occur the third Tuesday of the month through June 2024. Guests will have the opportunity to explore different cultures around the world. View cultural dances, experiment new food, and learn about another culture that may spark your new travel destination.


Explore the Asian Business Association San Diego to learn about the over 30,000 Asian Pacific Islander owned businesses they represent throughout San Diego County. ABASD offers educational workshops, technical assistance, business mentorship, and access to capital to minority-owned small and disadvantaged businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups — in hard-to-reach communities.

Check out our official coffee partner, Mostra Coffee’s many locations throughout San Diego here.

Created by then-high school senior Kaia Culotta, HelpAsianBiz is a comprehensive list of Asian-owned restaurants in San Diego.

Resources and Organizations:

San Diego Queer APIMEDA Coalition — This coalition strives to create a safe and welcoming space designed to foster meaningful discussions about the intersection of individuals who identify as Desi, Middle-Eastern, Pacific Islander, Asian, and LGBTQ+.

San Diego API Coalition — Their mission is to facilitate conversations with API communities and advocate for representation of voices by: amplifying and cultivating leadership, acting as a hub for API organizations to collaborate, and building a more inclusive and equitable San Diego.

CA Commision on Asian Pacific Islander Affairs — Established in 2002, the Commission is charged with elevating the political, economic, and social issues of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (APIA), in the state. The Commission advises the Governor and the Legislature on how to best respond to views, needs, and concerns of the state’s diverse and complex APIA communities. Additionally, the commission provides assistance to policymakers, state agencies, departments, and commissions to develop appropriate responses and programs that meet the needs of APIA communities, including focus on cultural language sensitivity, and hate incident and hate crime prevention measures.

Filipinos in San Diego — Learn about the history of Filipino and Filipino American history in South Bay. As of the 2020 Census, Filipino Americans were the plurality of all Asian Americans living in San Diego County, with their 215,168 people making up 41.6% of all Asian Americans within the county.

Sons and Daughters of Guam Club — The Guam club provides medical financial assistance, and a food drive for Chamorro families who are less fortunate. Wednesdays is reserved for full lunches, also known as the Boka Program for all ages, and members receive a reduce price. In addition, the club promotes cultural and language projects.

SanDiego.edu’s resource guide to AANHPI Heritage Month

Asian Pacific American Coalition — a community-based, non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to cultivate civic engagement to forward the voices of San Diego’s Asian Pacific American community.

Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs, San Diego Chapter — APAPA has grown into a national organization, empowering our diverse communities, increasing voter engagement, and developing a new generation of AAPI leaders in America. They collaborate with other diverse organizations, public officials, and community leaders to create awareness and support to fight hate crimes, address systemic racism, and provide opportunities for their collective voices to be heard.

Asian Solidarity Collective — a grassroots movement and power-building organization in San Diego activating Asian American communities and moving them into action to create profound radical, sustainable and fundamental change in the world through organizing, community care and personal ecology.

Heleloa — The organization’s goal is to share “all things Pacific Islander” with those here on the mainland, starting with Southern California. It’s their way of helping transplant locals (and locals at heart) feel just a little closer to home.

San Diego Alliance for Asian Pacific Islander Americans — The San Diego Alliance for Asian Pacific Islander Americans builds community through communication, collaboration, and celebration of the cultural heritage and diversity of San Diego’s Asian Pacific Islander American communities, and to advocate for Asian Pacific Islander American rights and empowerment through service, education, and philanthropy.

Queer APIMEDA Coalition — building capacity and leaders within the LGBTQ+ Desi, Middle-Eastern, Pacific Islander, Asian community to promote connectivity, combat stereotypes and racism, and mobilize our civic and economic power.

Union of Pan Asian Communities — improving the general well-being and education of the Asian, Pacific Islander and other ethnic communities of San Diego County.

Pacific Arts Movement — one of the largest media arts organizations in North America that focuses on Asian American and Asian international cinema.

PBS Asian Americans Docuseries

Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies

Library of Congress AAPI Collections



In 1977, Congress introduced House Joint Resolution 540 to proclaim the first ten days in May as Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week. In the same year, Senator Daniel Inouye introduced a similar resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 72. Neither of these resolutions passed, so in June 1978, Rep. Horton introduced House Joint Resolution 1007. This resolution 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 to become Public Law 95-419 (PDF, 158kb). This law amended the original language of the bill and directed the President to issue a proclamation for the “7 day period beginning on May 4, 1979 as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’” During the next decade, presidents passed annual proclamations for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week until 1990 when Congress passed Public Law 101-283 (PDF, 166kb) which expanded the observance to a month for 1990. Then in 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450 (PDF, 285kb) which annually designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.