Welcome! In May, people all over the United States celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (“AAPI”) Heritage. And, though we cannot gather to celebrate in-person right now, we must find creative ways to honor our AAPI communities this month, and throughout the rest of the year.
This has been a challenging year for all of us, but especially for our AAPI communities. Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen a disturbing rise in hateful rhetoric and violence against AAPI communities. AAPIs have been harassed, assaulted, and scapegoated during the COVID-19 pandemic. We condemn racism, bigotry, and violence against our AAPI community members. We must do more to protect, uplift, and support AAPI communities.
Last year, the Governor created the Black History Month Historical Marker Contest so students and families could learn more about African Americans who have made important contributions to Virginia history. This year, we are proud to announce the AAPI Heritage Month Historical Marker Contest.
Throughout history, stories of incredible AAPIs have frequently been ignored and silenced. AAPI Heritage Month is one opportunity to acknowledge and honor these stories of bravery, innovation, and passion. This contest is one way we can do just that. The project will enable us to do more also provides educators with resources to guide their classes through important discussions, and initiates a contest for students to submit ideas for new historical markers to the Department of Historical Resources.
Virginia’s historical highway marker program, which began in 1927 with installation of the first markers along U.S. 1, is the oldest marker program in the nation. This program recognizes and chronicles events, accomplishments, sacrifices, and personalities of historic importance to Virginia’s story. The Virginia Department of Transportation and the Department of Historic Resources manage the program. There are more than 2,600 historical markers along Virginia’s roadways.
This year, we need you to help us continue telling a true and inclusive history of our Commonwealth by nominating a Virginia individual, event, or theme which relates to AAPI History and should be recognized with a historic marker.
After receiving your submissions by June 15th, the Governor’s Cabinet and Virginia Department of Historic Resources will work together to select a few winning submissions which will become new historical markers to honor Virginians of AAPI heritage.
We are excited to see what you come up with!