TRENTON, NJ - Gov. Phil Murphy recognized May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in a statement issued May 1. 

Official recognition of May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month has been a part of the American tradition for more than 40 years. The idea of recognizing Asian Pacific heritage can be traced back to period following the bicentennial celebrations that took place in 1976.

At the time, Jeanie Jew, who was a staffer of U.S. Rep. Frank Horton, suggested the idea to the congressman from New York. Horton and U.S. Rep. Norman Mineta introduced a house resolution proclaiming the first ten days of May Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. Shortly thereafter, a similar measure was introduced in the US Senate. President Jimmy Carter signed the joint resolution in October 1978. Since that time, AAPI Heritage week grew into a month-long celebration. 

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This year, the celebration is been more widely recognized, in large part because of the rise in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans. 

Murphy's statement reads: 

This Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we honor the rich achievements, contributions, and heritage of our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. In New Jersey, we’re incredibly proud to be home to the fourth largest AAPI community in the nation.

As we celebrate our extraordinary AAPI communities, we must also recommit to combating an alarming wave of racism, violence, and xenophobia.

There is no room for hate in our New Jersey family or our American family, and we will continue to fight for equity and justice.