Pacific Park Celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month with a special lighting of the Pacific Wheel.
Since the early 1990s, the United States has observed Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month each May. The observance is an opportunity for Americans to celebrate Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Pacific Park will join other landmarks across the country with a special red light program on the world-famous Pacific Wheel on Saturday, May 7, a day commemorating one of the earliest Asians coming to the United States.
May was selected to observe the contribution of Asian and Pacific Islanders in the United States since the first recorded Japanese national to set foot on American soil was a young fisherman named Manjiro, who later became an influential figure in opening Japan to the west. Manjiro is sometimes referred to as America’s “First Ambassador” to Japan.
This special lighting event will take place on the evening of Saturday, May 7. The Ferris wheel lights can be seen from dusk until 11:35 PM each evening. Enjoy watching the light program online at www.pacpark.com/live.
Special Lighting of the Pacific Wheel for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month
Saturday, May 7
dusk (around 7:30 PM) to midnight
Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier
“Asian/Pacific”, or Asian American and Pacific Islanders, sometimes abbreviated “AAPI” includes descendants and immigrants from all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).
From the Library of Congress: “Like most commemorative months, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month originated with Congress. In 1977 Reps. Frank Horton of New York introduced House Joint Resolution 540 to proclaim the first ten days in May as Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week. In the same year, Senator Daniel Inouye introduced a similar resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 72. Neither of these resolutions passed, so in June 1978, Rep. Horton introduced House Joint Resolution 1007. This resolution proposed that the President should “proclaim a week, which is to include the seventh and tenth of the month, during the first ten days in May of 1979 as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’” This joint resolution was passed by the House and then the Senate and was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 5, 1978. During the next decade, presidents passed annual proclamations for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week until 1990 when Congress passed Public Law 101-283 which expanded the observance to a month for 1990. Then in 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450 which annually designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.”
There are more than 23 million people of Asian or Pacific Islander descent in the United States. In less than 50 years, nearly one of every ten people in America will trace his or her heritage to Asia and the Pacific–a region that covers more than one third of the earth–including the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent and the Pacific. This region is also home to nearly half of the world’s population, natural life, nations, economies, major faiths and languages. America is—and has been—a Pacific Rim nation. In Los Angeles, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have long played an important and valuable role in the shaping of this mighty metropolis. Even today, many towns, neighborhoods, and landmarks bear the names of early Angelenos who moved here from the Pacific Islands and countries in Asia.
Pacific Park regularly programs the Ferris wheel to display seasonal programing and themed light designs for holidays and special occasions. The Pacific Wheel’s state-of-the-art lighting package was installed in 2016 and can display over 1.6 million different colors and animate patterns and icons in 24 frames per second. The energy efficient LEDs on the face of the Ferris wheel are powered by solar arrays inside Pacific Park. The light programs are curated and designed by Pacific Park staff. Each design is manually animated; some designs can take hours of programming. The aim is to provide fun, high-energy, and sometimes whimsical designs to entertain guests on the Santa Monica Pier and surrounding beaches.
Feature image courtesy of @rughead8