8 Facts for AAPI Heritage Month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. In recognition of this occasion, DMAR has assembled a list of eight facts - local and national - about AAPI history.

1) For a small population, Asian impact in metro Denver is large.

Compared to other ethnic populations, Colorado's AAPI population is small (3.7 percent according to the 2019 U.S. Census). Despite this, there are many ways to celebrate AAPI culture, many of which are included on Denver.org.

2)  Denver’s Asian population is very diverse.

There is no single Asian population that is dominant here. Rather, Denver's AAPI population has a diverse mixture of different backgrounds including Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Korean, Japanese, Filipino and more. See more AAPI quick facts from AARP

3) Asians are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States.

In the last two decades, Asian Americans demonstrated the largest boom in our national population, increasing in numbers by nearly 8,500,000, an 81 percent increase, according to Pew Research.  

4) Asians have the second-highest homeownership rate in the country.

Looking at homeownership rates broken down by race, Asian Americans (58.1 percent) are surpassed only by White Americans (73.6 percent) according to a recent study by the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA).

5) Early Denver once had its own Chinatown.

Chinese pioneers were among the first Colorado settlers and created a hub for themselves in modern-day LoDo. At its peak, it housed 1,400 Chinese immigrants, many of whom established service businesses, especially laundromats. Learn more at MollyBrown.org.

6) A Denver race riot in 1880 sparked national anti-Asian legislation.

With a central ethnic hub, Chinese Denverites were met with intense racism which boiled over on Halloween 1880. A deadly riot broke out just before a presidential election, which helped fuel anti-Chinese legislation including the Chinese Exclusion Act which would not be repealed until 1943. Learn more at HistoryColorado.org. 

7) For a time, Denver was the "unofficial Japanese capital of the United States."

For early Japanese settlers in Colorado, agriculture was a mainstay of their economy. In 1942, Executive Order 9066 forced the Japanese away from the west coast and into Colorado, many as internment camp prisoners. When the war ended, many newly-freed Japanese Americans decided to stay in Colorado, but would later return to their west coast roots a few decades later. Learn more at Densho Encyclopedia.

8) Today, Asian hate crimes are on the rise.

The pandemic has caused a notable uptick in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans. Hashtags like #StopAsianHate and #HateIsAVirus are circulating to raise awareness of the growing threat. This is a great place to start looking if you need to learn more and share resources with the community. Learn more from NPR.org.