Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: May 2021

Chinese American family photo

Join us as we observe the month of May AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Heritage month by sharing a personal story of how my family came to the United States and the contributions they've made to their own community.

 

A Bit of AAPI Heritage History 

"In 1978, a joint congressional resolution established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. The first 10 days of May were chosen to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869.

In 1992, Congress expanded the observance to a monthlong celebration that is now known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month." 

-US Census Bureau

 

The Yip Family in America 

After my parents wed on December 1969, my father Cheuk Lam immediately immigrated to the United States leaving his own family behind to be with my mother, Yim Ling. The woman whom he stay married for 52 years and loved until he took his last breath. 

The day my father sworn into become a US citizen was on October 13th, 1976. That day was memorable, because it was the 200th year when America became independent. Even though China will always be his home, he has never felt freedom until that day. To him freedom was not a right, it was a privilege.

Being the responsible family man, the same year he helped sponsored my paternal family (about fifteen of them) to immigrate to the United States. He travelled with my family to Hong Kong, including my mom who was eight months pregnant with me, hired an immigration lawyer to start the paper work.

They were all excited for a new life in America. Two years later they left their home and settled in New York City Chinatown, where I was born. 

Like many immigrant story, the excitement faded fast after realizing the struggle of making a life in America was far from the American dream they hoped for. Their lack of education, speaking barely any English and not to mention the setbacks from racism and prejudice, outweighed their purpose of their new home.

All they had were their two bare hands and the determination to make it. So they buckled down and worked hard to provide a better opportunity. Because they knew going back to communist China was not an option. 

Some of their first years were working blue collar jobs in terrible conditions. They were bathroom cleaners, cooks, fish mongers and janitors. Life was tough and hours were long, but the Yip family had each other. That was enough to keep going.

Along their journey through life in America, they met many newly immigrants just like them. Fresh off the Boat (as they were called referencing the first Chinese immigrants came via large vessel boats from China), my family empathize with them. They knew what it was like to start a new life in a strange land with nothing. Many times they lend a hand and money to help them settle in. They've offered them jobs so they can get on their feet. 

Soon a few members of the family became entrepreneurs, such as my father, who worked hard all his life and taught those same lessons to me. He became an owner of several businesses, a seafood wholesaler, opened a fast food restaurant, poultry store and lastly he owned a residential building. He took chances and persevere simply because he wanted a better life for his family. 

Our family's rich heritage has engrained in me forever.  I hope to share it with my multi-racial daughter, Kinsley. To celebrate the privilege and opportunities we received by living the American dream.

Support Asian American Businesses

As we are a small business run by me (Asian American woman) we are highlighting our favorite small businesses that would love your support. Please find the list on this guide. Enrich yourself with our culture and learn about their stories. 

 

Raise Awareness AAPI Hate Crimes

As we continue to fight the current rise of Asian hate crimes in the US, we are dedicated to raise awareness by contributing 20% of our sales to AAPI community funds listed below. 

You can also donate to the following organizations:

Asian American Federation

Welcome to Chinatown

Stop AAPI Hate

 

 

 

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Comments

Sally and Tim Davidson

So interesting and we understand where your drive and passion came from…thanks for sharing… love you…. <3 <3

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