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Celebrating Asian and Pacific islanders

By Dr. Ron Schultz

and Daniel Mueller

The Austin Human Rights Commission

May commemorates Asian and Pacific Islanders’ Heritage month, which we celebrate as a community blessed with families from throughout the world.

Austin has a large Asian and Pacific Islander population with individuals from 12 different countries, including Thailand, Laos, China, South Korea, Micronesia, the Philippines, Nepal, India, Japan, Vietnam, Myanmar and Pakistan. These individuals and families came to America for various reasons, including refugees because of war. Others came as scientists, students, immigrants looking for a better life, or because of marriage and work opportunities.

The Asian and Pacific Islander communities play important roles throughout our community as business owners of restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, and nail salons. They have become landlords as well as realtors, cashiers and managers in many stores. Many are laborers in nearly all parts of QPP and Hormel. Some are scientists at the Hormel Institute; others are translators and nonprofit workers across many service groups. Asian and Pacific Islanders are nurses and nursing assistants in our hospital or working in nearly all care facilities as well as success coaches, pastors, volunteers and caregivers.

There are Asian and Pacific Islander students within our schools. Several are recent graduates from Austin High School, Pacelli and Riverland Community College. The Asian community in Austin continues to grow as more families are buying houses and continuing to have children. Many have invited family members to join them in our community.

Austin is incredibly blessed by the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Throughout this month we encourage you to be on the lookout for stories across Facebook and the newspaper highlighting these cultures and communities and the impact they are making to make Austin a better place to live.