Department of Family Services – Domestic and Sexual Violence Services

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
703-324-5730 TTY 711
12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building, Floor 7, Suite 740
Fairfax, VA 22035
Toni Zollicoffer

May Is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

exit website button circle  SAFETY ALERT – If you are in danger, call or text 911.

asian-pacific-american-heritage-month-cropped.pngDSVS Vision: Peaceful, thriving, powerful communities where all people are safe and free from oppression, fear, and violence.

DFS Equity Impact Statement: “The Department of Family Services (DFS) is committed to addressing institutional racism in its core responsibility to support the safety, health, and wellness of county residents. DFS recognizes systemic oppression and institutional racism have contributed to disparities in opportunities for county residents to succeed. DFS will support equitable outcomes by examining its policies, practices, and procedures to eliminate disparities in service delivery and outcomes for county residents.”


Asian and Pacific Americans make up an incredibly diverse population across race and ethnicity, culture, religion, history, and identity. In 1978, Congress proclaimed the first 10 days in May as Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week to highlight the significant contributions of Asian American and Pacific Islanders to the United States. These dates were chosen to commemorate the migration of the first Japanese immigrants to the U.S. on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad, which was built by mostly Chinese immigrants, on May 10, 1869. In the early 1990s, the observance was expanded to a month-long celebration now known as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.



Grace Lee Boggs (1915–2015) was a philosopher, author, activist, and community organizer around issues of race, gender, and environmental justice. Boggs is known for her work in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and local activism fighting for the rights of workers and tenants in her home city of Detroit.

“The only way to survive is by taking care of one another.”

Yuji Ichioka (1936–2002) was a historian and civil rights activist credited with coining the term “Asian American” in 1968 with the goal of uniting Asian American movements working for social change. Ichioka was the pre-eminent scholar on the history of Japanese immigration to the U.S., including the history of “picture brides,” Japanese women brought to the U.S. for the purpose of marrying Japanese workers. At the time, this practice was one of the only ways for Japanese
women to come to the U.S. after the Page Act of 1875 limited the immigration of East Asian women under false pretenses of banning sex trafficking.

“We figured that if we rallied behind our own banner, behind an Asian American banner, we would have an effect on the larger public. We could extend the influence beyond ourselves to other Asian Americans.”

Merle Woo (1941) is a feminist writer, poet, and activist prominent in the women’s and gay rights movements of the 1970s and 80s. Her essay “Letter to Ma” was included in the 1981 anthology This Bridge Called My Back, which discussed issues faced by women of color in the feminist movement.

“Until we can all present ourselves to the world in our completeness, as fully and beautifully as we see ourselves naked in our bedrooms, we are not free.”

Current Day Activism

Chanel Miller is an author, artist, and sexual assault survivor who came forward in her memoir, Know My Name, as the previously anonymous “Emily Doe” in a case that gained national attention after her victim impact statement went viral online.

“I am a victim. I have no qualms with this word, only with the idea that it is all that I am.”

Amanda Nguyen is an activist, survivor, founder, and CEO of Rise, a nonprofit that advocates for survivors of sexual violence worldwide. She was instrumental in the passage of the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act passed in 2016.

“No one is invisible when they demand to be seen. No one is powerless when we come together.”

Padma Lakshmi is a writer, television host, model, and ACLU ambassador for immigration and women’s rights. She has openly shared her experiences of sexual violence and the impact of victim blaming.

“I would like young women to know that, even if you have a late start, or even if you’ve been through stuff, it’s OK. You know, sometimes you just have to get up and dust yourself off and keep walking.”


Comprehensive data of sexual and domestic violence among Asian Americans can be difficult to capture as Asian Americans are commonly undercounted by Census data and underrepresented in studies on domestic and sexual violence. Researchers have also found that Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women who experience violence are
more likely to seek support from community rather than formal authorities, meaning traditional methods of data collection undercount the true number of AAPI victims and families impacted.

The Asian Pacific Institute on Gender Based Violence estimates that between 21% to 55% of AAPI women in this country report experiencing physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. In a review of homicides of AAPI adult women, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 57.8% were committed by an intimate partner, 81% of which were by a current intimate partner. In the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 1 in 4 Asian American women and 1 in 10 Asian American men reported experiencing sexual violence in their lifetime.


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