Challenge urges shopping at Asian-American businesses

Boston Statehouse

This Feb. 27, 2020 photo shows the inside of Panda Libre, an Asian-Mexican fusion restaurant, in Gilbert, Ariz. Getting a trademark for the new name can lead to ugly and sometimes public clashes over ownership and cultural appropriation. In recent years, businesses have butted heads over whether a restaurant or food truck can legally own the right to use words rooted in Asian American Pacific Islander cultures like “aloha” and “poke.” (AP Photo/Terry Tang)

BOSTON (SHNS) – Kicking off Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Massachusetts House Asian Caucus is putting forward a social media challenge encouraging people to shop at Asian American and Pacific Islander-owned businesses.

“Not only have these businesses been impacted by the rise in discrimination against Asian Americans, this investment in our local economy is integral in recovering from the pandemic,” Rep. Donald Wong, a Saugus Republican who this session chairs the caucus, said in a statement.

Challenge participants are asked to visit an AAPI-owned business in their community and post on social media, tagging @asiancaucusma and using the hashtag #ShopAAPIMonth. They can also tag friends, inviting them to join in.

“This AAPI Heritage Month feels different from past ones, due to the devastating impact that anti-Asian rhetoric and misinformation related to COVID-19 has had on AAPI businesses and workers, which is why we encourage people across our Commonwealth and country to show their solidarity by shopping at the many wonderful AAPI businesses that contribute greatly to the American fabric,” said Rep. Tram Nguyen, an Andover Democrat.

The caucus was established in 2011 after the first three Asian-American representatives were elected to the House — Wong and Democrats Rep. Tackey Chan of Quincy and Paul Schmid of Westport.

This session, its membership grew to eight, with first-term Reps. Vanna Howard of Lowell and Erika Uyterhoeven of Somerville joining Nguyen, Wong, Chan, Schmid, and Reps. Rady Mom of Lowell and Maria Robinson of Framingham.

A 2018 state law officially established May as Asian American Pacific Islander Month in Massachusetts, and Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month is also recognized nationally.

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