Oceans apart but sill united: Celebrating Haitian Heritage and Asian American month

May is Haitian Heritage month but the month also shares its spotlight with Asian American and Pacific Islander month. It is a time carefully picked out on a calendar to celebrate and treasure these cultures. It is important to come together and lift each other’s culture up amid protests for racial equality, an end to police brutality and Asian hate. 

And although you may not be Haitian, Asian or a Pacific Islander, it is still possible to appreciate these cultures and support them. By learning a little about the different cultures in the community, one can better appreciate and support their Haitian, Asian or multi-cultured neighbors. 

Image courtesy of Orlando Weekly

Haitian Heritage Month

Haitian Heritage month was created to celebrate the culture of Haiti even in the United States. It quickly became a fun and positive way for Haitian-Americans to show off their pride for their country. With the most iconic event being Haitian Flag Day, celebrated on May 18, Haitians all over the United States come together to celebrate their culture and heritage. Although the pandemic has changed how this culturally powerful month is celebrated, there are still ways to enjoy Haitian Heritage month around your neighborhood. 

There are a variety of different events that people can attend to learn about or celebrate Haitian culture. Some of them include the Book Discussion: Everything Inside – Stories by Edwidge Danticat, Celebrate Haitian American Heritage Month: Virtual Tour of the Haitian American Museum of Chicago, Krik? Krak!: Tales & Tunes From Haiti and many more. All of these events are virtual and can be found on the Palm Beach County Library website.

Image courtesy of WRLN article

Another form of appreciating Haitian culture is supporting local Haitian businesses. One local business includes Le Bistro 2.0, located on 9846 Sandalfoot Blvd, Boca Raton. Le Bistro serves typical Haitian food like creole shrimp and griot simple and offers take out. Another local business is HaiTea who sells a variety of different teas, honey and tea mugs. All of HaiTea’s products can be found on their website

One more way to show your support is by reading about the Haitian experience. One novel to read is “Dear Haiti, Love Alaine” written by Miami natives, Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite, and about a young girl visiting Haiti and learning more about herself. 

Image courtesy of WRLN article
Image courtesy of Instagram

Another novel to pick up is “Empowered  Black Girl: Joyful Affirmations and Words of Resilience” written by Miami local M.J. Fievre, and was made to empower black girls and women. One more novel to read is “Black Widow ” written by Palm Beach local Leslie Gray Streeter. Streeter was also a staff writer at The Palm Beach Post. 

Asian American and Pacific Islander Month

May is also Asian American and Pacific Islander month, or AAPI month and there are many ways to show support around one’s community. AAPI started as a way for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States to celebrate their vastly different cultures. 

Image courtesy of NBC San Deigo

Unlike Haitian Heritage month, there are multiple Asian countries, including the Pacific Islands. Asians can come from China, India, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and many more. The same way that Pacific Islands are more than just Fiji and French Polynesia. Asians and Pacific Islanders come in many different forms and there are many ways to celebrate the Asian American anPacificfc Islander experience.

A great way to start is with events that celebrate the Asian American experience is through events. One event anyone can attend is “Can We Talk? Stopping Asian Hate” by World Trade Center Seattle which will address the Asian-American violence that has recently increased. This event will be on May 27, will be virtual, costs $15 to attend and can be found on this website

 Another event that anyone can attend is “Reclaiming Our History as Asian American Women” by KQED Public Broadcasting and will talk about the long and impactful history of Asian-American women. This event will be on May 26, will be virtual, the price ranges from $0 to $20 and can be found on this website.

Supporting your local Asian or Pacific Islander businesses is another great way to appreciate and support these cultures. One local Asian business is 5-Spice Asian Street Market, located on 1200 Northwest 51st Street, Yamato Rd # A1, Boca Raton. 5-Spice sells Asian street food like noodle and rice bowls, Ming Dynasty duck wraps and Chinatown Roast Pork. 5-Spice also allows customers to dine in, take out and get delivery. 

Another local business is Dreamoway, located on 101 E Camino Real #1222, Boca Raton. Dreamoway helps aspiring dreamers pursue a career in anything from acting, cooking, modeling and more. Dreamoway also helps their students get partnered up with mentors so they can pursue their dreams. 

And if you’re feeling thirsty, you can head to Boba Street Cafe, located on 141 NW 20th St B-9, Boca Raton. Boba Street Cafe boba, fruit teas, milk teas, street blends, coffees and much more. Boba Street Cafe also gives customers the option to dine in, order online with delivery and order take-out.

Image courtesy of author’s website

If you want to immerse yourself further into Asian American or Pacific Islander culture, then one of the best ways is to read about them. One novel that will help with that is “Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls,” written by Boca Raton local T Kira Madden. Madden’s novel is a memoir about her life as a biracial teenager in Boca Raton and learning her identity.

Image courtesy of author’s website
Image courtesy of Kirkus website

Another novel to read is “Frangipani” written by Célestine Hitiura Vaite. Vaite’s novel is about a Tahitian mother and daughter duo who grow up together and constantly test their love for each other. And one final novel to pick up is “The Tiger at Midnight” written by Swati Teerdhala. Teerdhala’s novel is the first of its self-titled series, is about two characters who must work together to save their loyalties and country and is inspired by Hindu mythology and Indian history.

May is a month full of different opportunities to raise awareness and support others. It’s a month that gives people the chance to celebrate each other for similarities and differences. Whether that’s with learning more about Haitian or Asian culture or becoming an advocate for change, it’s still impactful. Take some time this month to learn about the beautiful cultures of your neighbors and learn something that can be appreciated. 

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