WA State's Chinese American/Americans of Chinese Descent History Month

Emily Shi and Governor Jay Inslee sign bill into law for Chinese American/Americans of Chinese Descent History Month

January 2024 marks the first ever Chinese American/Americans of Chinese Descent History Month in Washington State. Signed by Governor Jay Inslee in May 2023, the bill is the first of its kind in the country to honor Chinese Americans. According to Senate Bill 5000, the new law states that "January of each year will be designated as a time for people of this state to commemorate the contributions of Chinese Americans and Americans of Chinese descent to the history and heritage of Washington state." Public schools are also encouraged to "designate time in January for appropriate activities in commemoration of the lives, history, achievements, and contributions of Chinese Americans and Americans of Chinese descent."

Lake Washington School District Student, Emily Shi on what the month means to her:

"To me, Americans of Chinese Descent History Month is a good way for the general public to learn about the often-overlooked history of Chinese Americans. Most people don’t know about any of the contributions or discrimination that happened to Chinese Americans in the past. It took Washington State legislators three years to understand how important the history of Chinese Americans is and pass the bill establishing this history month. In fact, I didn't know much about our history either until I started advocating for such a month and researching our past. I testified for the bill each year since 2021, and the bill eventually passed in 2023. I was even at the bill signing, witnessing Governor Inslee sign it into law. The law encourages public schools to set aside time in January to commemorate the history of Chinese Americans. I believe this is a really excellent opportunity for schools to teach students about the rich history of Chinese Americans, both the good and bad things that are a part of our history."

Pictured above: Student Emily Shi shaking hands with Washington Governor Jay Inslee at the signing of the bill into law in 2023.