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How to Celebrate Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month on Social Media

Updated on April 28, 2023
7 minute read

Hint: amplify AAPI brands and voices year-round ✨

Published April 28, 2022

May marks the beginning of AAPI Heritage Month — a time to celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander heritage across North America.

Thanks in part to social media, it's also a month to recognize and openly acknowledge the contributions and influence of the Asian community. 

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What Is AAPI Heritage Month?

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month celebrates and recognizes the contributions of those from the Asian continent and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.

Similar to many commemorative months in the US, AAPI Heritage Month originated with Congress.

The month of May was chosen to:

  • Commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843

  • Mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869 — where the majority of workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants 

While it was first petitioned in 1977 to mark the first 10 days as AAPI Heritage Week, it wasn’t until 1992 (when Congress passed Public Law 102-450) that the month was officially recognized.

AAPI Heritage Month is also celebrated in Canada, and was officially designated as Asian Heritage Month in 2002.

Why It’s Important to Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month on Social Media in 2023

Unfortunately, a lot of AAPI history isn’t taught in schools in the US and Canada.

Thankfully, there are many accounts doing the work and sharing stories on social media — from reflecting and acknowledging the hardships, to uplifting the community and spotlighting voices.  

“We can't talk about AAPI Heritage Month without mentioning the trauma that the Asian community has gone through over the past few years,” says Madelyn Chung, founder and Editor-In-Chief of Asian-Canadian media platform, @RepresentAsiansProject.

“I think that's why more than ever, it’s really important to use this month to highlight and celebrate the Asian community. It’s important to amplify all of the contributions, the great people who paved the way for us, and those who are making us proud.”

For more on why inclusivity and diversity matters on social media, watch our workshop with strategist Sonia Thompson:

How to Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month on Social Media This May (and Beyond)

Although it's wonderful to have one month dedicated to the AAPI community, we should be celebrating their contributions (and those of other communities) year-round.

Here are three ways you can celebrate and amplify AAPI heritage on social media every month:

  1. Follow and Learn From AAPI Accounts

  2. Spotlight and Support AAPI Creators & Small Businesses

  3. Pass the Mic Visually and Creatively

#1: Follow and Learn From AAPI Accounts

Following inspiring and creative AAPI entrepreneurs, authors, activists, artists, creators, designers, and businesses is the first step. 

By diversifying your feed (with other BIPOC communities, too), you can educate yourself, reflect, and then support and uplift them via social media.

Here are 10 inspiring AAPI accounts to follow today:

  1. Asian Founded — @asianfounded
    This LA-based account highlights Asian-owned brands and businesses in creative ways. Every Wednesday, they do a round-up of business news from all over the world.

  2. On Canada Project — @oncanadaproject

    Founded by Samanta Krishnapillai, it was initially a passion project to speak to young Canadians about the COVID-19 pandemic. It's since grown to become a self-described "social enterprise" for Millennials and Gen Z to learn about tough topics, using easy-to-understand language.

  3. Golden — @netflixgolden

    Last year, Netflix launched an exclusive Instagram (and Twitter) account dedicated to spotlighting the incredible talent, storytelling, and artistry by the Asian diaspora.

  4. Product of Culture — @_productofculture_

    Product of Culture is a collective that amplifies brands and creatives of the South Asian diaspora. Their social feed is full of news, lists, round-ups, and recommendations. They also produce the South Asian Film Festival of America.

  5. Mikaele Oloa — @maugamu
    Mikaele is a TikTok creator (and 5x World Fireknife Champion) who educates their audience on Samoan cultures and traditions — including traditional Samoan dance.

  6. The RepresentASIAN Project — @RepresentASIANProject

    A platform dedicated to celebrating, advocating, and elevating Asian representation and voices in media and beyond. Whether it's sharing wins in the entertainment industry to offering mental health resources.

  7. Melemaikalani Makalapua — @melemaikalanimakalapuaa
    Content creator and Polynesian dancer Melemaikalani Makalapua shares content on the history of Hawai'i. An advocate for change, Melemaikalani educates on important issues, such as appropriation of Hawai'ian culture.

  8. Kim Saira — @kimsaira

    Kim Saira works to "empower you to honor your creative flow, cultural values, and step into your power." She shares authentic and vulnerable insights in a creative way — creating a great resource for the community.

  9. Hāwane Rios — @hawanemusic
    Hāwane Rios is a singer and songwriter from Waimea, Hawai'i. On social media, Hāwane often reflects on the importance of Hawaiian traditions, and shares inspirational words based on their experiences.

  10. Brown Girl Gang — @browngirlgang
    Brown Girl Gang is an online space that aims to uplift and celebrate the South Asian community. Created by Sanjana Nagesh in 2017, the Instagram account has over 170K followers (and counting) and has been featured in outlets like Teen Vogue and BBC.

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#2: Spotlight and Support AAPI Creators and Small Businesses

There are so many AAPI creators, businesses, and platforms you can spotlight — the list is neverending.

You can create a round-up of local AAPI businesses and creators you're either inspired by, have worked with, or bought from, and feature them in blog content, or tag them in your Reels or feed posts. 

For example, if you’re into beauty, share your favorite AAPI-founded brands like @ghlee, @tatcha, @tower28, @livetinted, @honuaskincare, and @ao.organicshawaii.

By regularly spotlighting different accounts on your account, you’re creating a resource for your followers to share — and then for their followers to share.

This is the power of social media.

#3: Pass the Mic Visually and Creatively

Passing the mic can be as simple as letting those in the AAPI community host an Instagram Stories takeover or AMA (Ask Me Anything) session where they can share inspirational words and stories — in their own words.

But to take it a step further, it's also important to make sure there is representation behind-the-scenes too.

If you plan to post quote graphics, who are the designers creating and/or illustrating them?

If you want to publish a blog post, a special guest newsletter, or a podcast episode, can you work with those in the AAPI community?

See how The Kit released a number of stories (including a cover feature) dedicated to celebrating Asian Canadians online, highlighting Asian-Canadian brands, and sharing first-person stories from editors and creators:

They also dedicated a photoshoot featuring three top Asian-Canadian makeup artists, who shared their experiences of growing up in Canada, and how they came to see their own beauty. 

What to Remember When Sharing AAPI Heritage Month Content 

Talk the talk; walk the walk — the AAPI community should be celebrated and spotlighted in your social media content year-round, not a token thing to check off your marketing checklist in May.

If you’re integrating AAPI events into your marketing calendar, consider providing funds or resources to grassroots organizations (like Project 1907) to help support the wider community in an actionable way.

Make the effort to discover and listen to what is happening in the AAPI space, introduce new voices and faces to your social followers, and make room for more diverse conversations.

But remember to look internally too — how does your brand stack up with the diversity of the people who work there?

In 2023, it's time to do good for the world by doing better. Break the same old creator wheel. Create a new table, and pull up a chair. 

FYI: Later is a social media management platform trusted by 7M+ brands, social media managers, and creators. Create an account today and start planning your social posts — for free.

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