Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

April 25, 2022 11:05 AM
by Lizzy Acosta

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and the Coalition of Asian & Pacific Employees of Santa Monica (CAPE SM) is proud to present this calendar of live and virtual events through the month. Although the AAPI population has played key roles in the development of our country from its earliest days, the community did not receive a dedicated time of recognition by the government until 1978 when a weeklong celebration was established. It would be another 12 years before the entire month of May was dedicated to the AAPI people. To honor the diverse and valuable contributions from our AAPI community, CAPE SM will host and promote events throughout the region including musical showcasings, mental and physical health events, and culinary celebrations. Join the City of Santa Monica as we celebrate this month beginning with the illumination of City Hall in three colors common in themes across Asian and Pacific Islander cultures, red, gold, and blue.

Below is a list of events for the month. Check back often as this curated list is frequently updated.

Friday, April 29th – Sunday, May 8th: UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema 2022
The UCLA Film & Television Archive continues its long tradition of celebrating the best cinema from Iran and the Iranian diaspora with the latest edition of its annual survey of works by Iranian filmmakers, past and present. New feature film premieres follow on every day of the series along with special screenings of the prize-winning shorts from the latest Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival. These are just a few of the discoveries to be found among this year’s celebration program along with special guests to be announced as they are confirmed. Check out the lineup and register today.

Sunday, May 1st – Sunday, June 5th: The Very Asian Art Show
The Very Asian Art Show, curated by Genevieve Santos of Le Petit Elefant, will kick off AAPI Heritage Month in the best way, showcasing 18 AAPI artists celebrating and engaging in what it means to be "very Asian". A portion of the proceeds will go to API EQUALITY - LA "Empowering Asian & Pacific Islander communities to achieve LGBTQ, racial, and social justice". 

Tuesday, May 2nd: Virtual cooking demonstration with Ma’am’s International Foods
Kick off AAPI Heritage Month with simple Thai homestyle cooking. Watch Ma'am prepare three popular Thai dishes on the City's youtube channel:

Tuesdays – Wednesdays, May 3rd – May 25th: Rising Chef Series – AAPI Heritage Month Dinner Pop-Up 
The Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) will be hosting a cooking series featuring rising AAPI chefs. The series features a new chef every Tuesday to Wednesday from May 3rd – May 18th. Chefs featured include David Nguyen, Kevin Lee, Tway Nguyen, and David Ono. Please visit the JACCC’s website for further details. 

Wednesday, May 4th: AAPI Take & Make Craft Kits
These kits highlight the history, heritage, and contributions of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities to the United States. Through AAPI heritage-themed activities such as origami, lantern making, and rangoli sand art, kids and families can construct unique and vibrant creations to display at home. Organized by CAPE SM and available at the Main Library Youth Services desk, Pico Branch, or Montana Branch while supplies last.

Thursday, May 4th: Anti-Asian Violence and America-China Relations
A virtual talk that will offer historical perspective on anti-Asian violence in America and their connections to events far from the formal borders.

Fridays in May: 4-Part Virtual Dialogues with the Universal Human Rights Initiative
The Universal Human Rights Initiative (UHRI) presents a panelist series of participative dialogues to engage everyone interested in challenging hate in our communities. Learn dialogue tools, connect with community, and build alliances. Co-hosted by the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and Brookline Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce. Register today.

May 5th – May 13th: Visual Communications presents 38th LA Asian Pacific Film Festival
The best of Asian Pacific American films and filmmakers from around the world comes to Los Angeles at the 38th LA Asian Pacific Film Festival celebrating new artists, legends, leaders, creators, indigenous voices, and world premieres. Check out the huge lineup of shorts, documentaries, animated films, narrative features, and more here:

Tuesday, May 10th: Council Proclamation of AAPI Heritage Month
Attend the May 10th City Council meeting to watch the proclamation of AAPI Heritage Month in-person at City Hall or virtually on the City's YouTube channel

Thursday, May 12th: Music Center on Tour presents: Korean Classical Music and Dance Co. 
3:30 p.m. -4:30 p.m. at the Santa Monica Main Library, Central Courtyard
This splendidly costumed ensemble boasts a rich and varied repertoire of exciting dances presented with the grace and elegance characteristic of the ancient traditional dance form. The performance also includes traditional music played on authentic Far Eastern instruments. For all ages with seating on a first-come basis. 

Thursday, May 12th: Kiki Yeung Presents: Crazy Woke Asians
A comedy show featuring some very funny AAPI performers that will be held at the Ha Ha Comedy Club in Los Angeles.

Friday, May 13th: AAPI Night Market
The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Night Market will be a fusion of food, drinks, local vendors, and live entertainment for an all-out event highlighting the vibrant AAPI cultures in the region. We’re blending traditional Asian street markets with Sacramento’s diverse cultural scene for a worthwhile kick-off to the summer.

Tuesday, May 17th: Mystery Book Group Discussion: Arsenic and Adobo by Mia Manansala
7-8 p.m. virtual
Working in her Illinois family’s Filipino restaurant backfires on a woman when she is accused of murdering a restaurant reviewer. Q&A with the author to discuss the first book in her new culinary cozy series. To register, email

Wednesday, May 18th: United We Heal: Commemorating the 4th Annual National AAPI Day Against Hate and Bullying
A virtual event in honor of the birthday of Vincent Chin, to commemorate the 4th Annual National AAPI Day Against Hate and Bullying.

Thursday, May 19th: AAPI LA Film Screening: The Farewell
The City of LA is hosting a special screening of The Farewell at the TCL Chinese Theater from 6 pm – 9 pm.

Sunday, May 22nd: AAPI LA Food
Gold House will be partnering with AAPI LA and CAPE USA to co-host a one-day pop-up at Smorgasburg LA on Sunday, May 22. There's an all-star line-up of chefs and API-founded F&B companies donating their time and a percentage of proceeds to causes advancing the API community. Gold House will host a tent featuring Asian-owned F&B companies part of Gold House Futures, as well as spotlighting live performances from several Asian artists.

Thursday, May 26th: AAPI Heritage Month Lunchtime Celebration
11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. at City Hall
Grab some delicious lunch with one of our partner AAPI small businesses while watching breathtaking cultural performances at beautiful Ken Genser Square.

Food Trucks: Holey Grail Donuts, Shake Ramen, StopBye Café and White Rabbit

Performances by: Santa Monica College Dance Department Students, Prota Taiko and Tupua Productions

Friday, May 27th: Inside Out Movie Screening 
7-9:45 p.m. at Virginia Avenue Park, 2200 Virginia Avenue
The City of Santa Monica presents a screening of Pixar’s Inside Out in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. Come early to explore community resources and enjoy a free chair massage sponsored by CAPE SM. Attendees are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner, blankets and/or low chairs, and dress warmly.

Saturday, May 28th: MAMA’s Night Market
A festival series featuring diverse food culture. This inaugural event will highlight LA's Asian street foods, clothes, and music. This event will help support Respect Your Elders, a non-profit feeding seniors in minority communities. Please note this event is ages 21 and up only.

Authored By

Lizzy Acosta


Arts, Culture & Fun