M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

During the month of May, many communities across the United States observe Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month.* This month was chosen to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the U.S. in 1843. Ever since it was designated in 1990, it has been an opportunity in the year for individuals, families, communities, and organizations to reflect on the history and heritage of our AANHPI friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family members.  

In the Pacific Northwest, on the coast where many of the first Japanese families and individuals made their new home and where AANHPI communities have enriched our region ever since, it is a poignant month to remember, honor, and celebrate. While these moments never should or could be confined to one month of the year, this national observance can serve as a meaningful aid in our collective memory and a powerful catalyst for further engagement and learning throughout the year.  

At the Murdock Trust, we are lucky to partner with nonprofits who spark community engagement with AANHPI cultures every day. While we could never list all those who have given space to these stories and experiences in our region, here are several organizations offering year-round ways to learn and engage: 

Wing Luke Museum connects visitors to the dynamic history, cultures, and art of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders through vivid storytelling and inspiring experiences to advance racial and social equity. Located in the heart of Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, it is the first Smithsonian affiliate in the Pacific Northwest and the only pan-Asian Pacific American community-based museum in the United States. With a robust calendar of family programs, summer camps, community panels, and events, there’s something for everyone looking to learn and engage.  

Woman reading off papers to a group of people touring museum
Wing Luke Museum

Portland Taiko blends the tradition of Japanese taiko drumming with a sense of Asian American identity, creativity, and empowerment. Through over 1,500 performances, Portland Taiko has reached more than one million audience members through performances, classes, and workshops throughout the Pacific Northwest. Take taiko classes, book them for a team-building workshop, or learn about upcoming performances on their website.   

Lan Su Chinese Garden cultivates an oasis of tranquil beauty and harmony in Portland, OR, to inspire, engage, and educate their global community in the appreciation of a richly authentic Chinese culture. It is considered the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China, and offers more than 500 cultural and botanical programs each year. Visit their website to learn about their myriad events, programs, and classes, or to become a member so you can enjoy poetry readings, teahouse visits, and peaceful walks year-round. 

Footbridge surrounded by green foliage at the Chinese Garden
Lan Su Chinese Garden

Asian Health & Service Center seeks to reduce health inequity and improve health care quality for Asians in the Portland Metro area while being a bridge between Asian and American cultures. They are rooted in a holistic, integrated model of care that blends Physical and Mental Health Services, Public Health and Wellness Programs, and Community Engagement. To learn more about their offerings, find a culturally specific activity group like Cantonese Karaoke or Korean Ping Pong, or find other ways to get involved, visit their website.  

Asia Pacific Cultural Center in Tacoma, WA, seeks to bridge communities and generations through arts, culture, education, and business. As a platform for cultural exchange, this nonprofit represents the people of nearly 50 countries, 100 languages, and 1,000 dialects. Through programs and events that serve and honor the Asia Pacific people, teach about their cultures, and strengthen the bonds within the Asia Pacific Islander community, Asia Pacific Cultural Center works to connect their people with all the people who make up the diverse community in which they live. Find one of their engaging events ranging from a Polynesian Luau, to a culturally specific mental health workshop, to a monthly Taste of Asia gathering on their website.  

Female tahitian dancers on stage
Asia Pacific Cultural Center

To every organization that works to preserve and share the stories, traditions, art, and heritage of AANHPI communities, thank you. We honor you, learn from you, and celebrate you, this month and every month! 

*Note: It is Murdock Trust practice to defer to the preferences of our grantees regarding cultural terms. In this blog post, we use the preferred terms of each grantee when speaking of their work. 

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