May 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM).

AAPIHM celebrates the history and cultures of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and highlights the contributions they have made to the United States. From local events to podcasts and reading recommendations, here are some ways you can celebrate AAPIHM in and around the DMV region.


Local DC Events

Living Earth Festival: Saving Sacred Spaces

Now through May 15

The virtual film festival series from the Museum of the American Indian explores issues impacting spaces sacred to indigenous groups in Alaska, Hawai‘i, and Utah. The event can be viewed here.

Family Movie Day: Moana at MLK Library

May 7, 1-3 p.m.

Join the MLK library for a free screening of Disney’s Moana, an animated film about the adventures of a girl from the fictional island of Motunui, which is inspired by the culture and history of actual Polynesian islands and nations. Registration is required and so are masks for attendees over the age of two.

Celebrate Eid at the Freer North Plaza

May 7, 2-4:30 p.m.

The Museum of Asian Art is hosting a festive afternoon of music, food, and art to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan, in its plaza. Register here.

“The Ancient Art of Henna Tattoos” workshop

May 8, 1-4:30 p.m.

Participants will learn more about the history of traditional Indian Henna tattooing and can try making their own henna design. Tickets start at $45.

Dear Corky pre-premiere screening at MLK Library

May 10, 6:30-8 p.m.

Join producer Curtis Chin for a pre-premiere screening of his short documentary, Dear Corky, about the “undisputed, unofficial Asian American photographic laureate” Corky Lee. Afterward, the filmmakers will participate in a panel discussion with leading photojournalists about Corky’s legacy as an AAPI artist. Register for the free event here.

“Food for the Body and Soul: Advocating for Community through Culinary Traditions” seminar

May 10, 6:45-8:15 p.m.

Chef/owner Janet Yu of Hollywood East Cafe in Wheaton will share stories and prepare recipes influenced by her family’s heritage from Taishan, a village in the Guangdong Province of China. Register for the free virtual event here.

Screening and Panel Discussion of Vincent Who at the Eaton DC Hotel

May 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Eaton DC Hotel will screen Vincent Who, a documentary exploring the history of the Asian American civil rights movement and the 1982 murder of Vincent Chin.

“Korean Dishes with Magpie and the Tiger” cooking demo

May 13, 12-1 p.m.

The US Botanical Garden is holding a free virtual cooking demo with Korean American restaurant Magpie and Tiger’s chefs Caleb Jang and Roren Choi. They will demonstrate how to make shikhye (Korean rice punch) and hwae dup babp (Korean fresh bowl with raw fish). Register here.

Cambodian Art Exhibition: Blessing Ceremony, Q&A with Filmmaker praCh Ly

May 14, 2-3 p.m.

Join the Museum of Asian Art in a communal blessing ceremony at the Freer North Plaza for the “Revealing Krishna: Journey to Cambodia’s Sacred Mountain” exhibition. It will be led by two monks from the Cambodian Buddhist temple Watt Buddhacheya Mongkol in Woodbridge. Register for the blessing ceremony here.

No-No Boy concert at Songbyrd

May 15, 7 p.m.

Part of the Smithsonian’s “Asian Pacific America Music” series, No-No Boy will perform at Songbyrd. No-No Boy, a Smithsonian Folkways artist, is a folk music project inspired by songwriter Julian Saporiti’s family history of living through the Vietnam War. Tickets are $12.

“News from Central Asia”: Exhibition of Wearable Art

May 16-22, 10-5

A weeklong schedule of festivities at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs commemorates GW’s decade-long Central Asia program. Get tickets here.

Fiesta Asia Street Fair

May 21, 11-7

The 17th Fiesta Asia Street will celebrate AAPI Heritage Month in downtown DC with a day of festivities representing over 20 cultures across Asia.

Experience the art of Indonesian batik

May 21, 1-4 p.m.

Join Indonesian artists Agus Ismoyo and Nia Fliam in the Moongate Garden at the Smithsonian Castle, where they will discuss and teach the traditional Javanese batik textile process. Register here.

“Plant-Based Asian Food Then & Now” webinar

May 25, 6-7 p.m.

Joe Yonan, the Washington Post’s food and dining editor, will moderate an intimate conversation exploring the history of plant-based eating in Asian and Asian American cuisines with cookbook author and TikToker Joanne Lee Molinaro (aka TheKoreanVegan) and Miyoko Schinner, founder of Miyoko’s Creamery, a plant dairy brand. Register for the free event here.

A South Asian Pop-up at The Outrage

May 28, 12-5 p.m.

The Outrage, an activism-oriented apparel shop, will host a pop-up event featuring local South Asian-owned businesses.

DC Public Library Events

From now through May 25

This May, celebrate AAPIHM with DC Public Library! Enjoy author talks, film screenings, craft kits and story walks as well was great books, films and digital library resources that will help you learn more about the literary and cultural contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. More info here.

Government AAPIHM Events

May 1-10

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success. More info here.


AAPI Books

  • Interior Chinatown, Charles Yu
  • Things We Lost to the Water, Eric Nguyen
  • The Bad Muslim Discount, Syed M. Masood
  • Heart of Fire, Mazie K. Hirono
  • Time Is a Mother, Ocean Vuong
  • The Swimmers, Julie Otsuka
  • Crying in H Mart, Michelle Zauner
  • Dream of the Divided Field, Yanyi
  • Speak, Okinawa, Elizabeth Miki Brina
  • Good Talk, Mira Jacob
  • The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
  • House of Many Gods, Kiana Davenport
  • Whereabouts, Jhumpa Lahiri

Podcasts

  • Self Evident: Asian America’s Stories – Listen
  • Asian Enough – Listen
  • Long Distance – Listen
  • Southern Fried Asian – Listen
  • They Call Us Bruce – Listen
  • Saturday School – Listen
  • AAWW Radio: New Asian American Literature – Listen
  • At the Moment: Asian American News – Listen
  • Asian Americana – Listen
  • Modern Minorities – Listen
  • Moving Oolong – Listen

Support a Local Business

For the best Japanese restaurant information, read our DC Japanese Restaurant Guide.

Click here to find AAPI-owned businesses in the DMV region.