Information about Washington State’s Asian American and Pacific Islander populations by race or ethnicity, demographic snapshots, and list of ethnic groups and languages.
|Group||Population Number||Percent of State AAPI Population|
Source: 2010 Census
|Group||Population Number||Percent of State AAPI Population|
Source: 2005 – 2009 American Community Survey
|Group||Population Number||Percent of State AAPI Population|
Source: 2000 Census
- King County: 353,702 or 52.4% of total state AAPI population of 674,573
- Pierce County: 85,743 or 12.7%
- Snohomish County: 84,201 or 12.5%
- Clark County: 28,146 or 4.2%
- Kitsap County: 23,064 or 3.4%
- Thurston County: 21,728 or 3.2%
- Spokane County: 18,545 or 2.7%
Selected Dates and Events of Asian Pacific American History
1600s Filipinos and Chinese reach Mexico aboard Spanish galleons on trade route between Manila, Philippines and Acapulco, Mexico.
1700s Filipino seamen jump off of Spanish galleon ships and create towns in the Louisiana bayous.
1789 The first recorded Chinese in the Pacific Northwest arrive in Vancouver Island.
1790 The Naturalization Act of 1790 restricts U.S. citizenship to “free whites.”
1811 First Hawaiian laborers settle in Pacific Northwest.
1830s Chinese “sugar masters” work in Hawaii. Chinese sailors and peddlers arrive in New York.
1844 China and the U.S. sign first treaty-free immigration between the two nations.
1848 Two men and a woman are brought on the prison ship Eagle to become among the first Chinese in San Francisco.
1849 Gold is discovered in California. First wave of Chinese immigration to the U.S.
1850 California imposes Foreign Miners’ Tax. Hawaii passes Masters and Services Act and establishes Royal Agricultural Society to recruit plantation workers.
1852 First group of Chinese contract laborers land in Hawaii. Over 20,000 Chinese arrive in California. Chinese first appear in California court.
1853 Territorial law passes banning Chinese from voting in Washington State.
1854 Chinese in Hawaii establish their first community association in the islands. People v. Hall prohibits Chinese from giving testimony in court. Japan and U.S. sign first treaty.
1857 A school for Chinese children opens in San Francisco.
1858 California passes a law prohibiting the entry of Chinese and “Mongolians.” Hamada Hikozo is sworn in as the first Japanese American citizen.
1860 The U.S. receives Japan’s first diplomatic mission.
1862 San Francisco Chinese form a loose federation of six Chinese district associations. California imposes a $2.50 a month “police tax” on every Chinese.
1863 Territorial law bans Chinese from testifying in court cases involving whites in Washington State.
1864 Territorial law enacts poll tax for Chinese in Washington State.
1865 Central Pacific Railroad Company recruits Chinese workers for construction of first transcontinental railroad.
1868 Burlingame-Seward Treaty allows free immigration between the U.S. and China. Wa Chong Company is created in Seattle and becomes a central gathering place for the Chinese community in Washington State. Eugene Van Reed illegally ships Japanese workers to Hawaii. Sam Damon opens Chinese Sunday School in Hawaii.
1869 First transcontinental railroad is completed. Chinese workers lay an estimated 90% of the track. No official group photos of laborers include them. J.H. Schnell takes Japanese to California and establishes the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony.
1870 234 Chinese in Washington State. First Congressional debate over the rights of Chinese in the U.S. Chinese miners in eastern Washington State outnumbers white miners nearly two to one. California makes illegal the importation of Chinese, Japanese and “Mongolian” women for prostitution. Chinese railroad workers sue Texas company for failure to pay workers.
1871 Anti-Chinese violence persists in Los Angeles. Hawaii and Japan sign a friendship treaty. Construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad from Kalama to Tacoma, Washington begins, using nearly 2,000 Chinese laborers.
1872 California’s Civil Procedure Code repeals law barring Chinese court testimony.
1875 Page Law prohibits the entry Chinese, Japanese and “Mongolian” prostitutes, contract laborers and felons.
1876 The U.S. and Hawaii sign Reciprocity Treaty, allowing Hawaiian sugar to enter the U.S. duty-free.
1877 Anti-Chinese violence persists in Chico, California. Japanese Christians in San Francisco set up the Gospel Society, the first Japanese immigrant association.
1879 California’s second constitution prohibits employment of Chinese by municipalities and corporations. California passes law requiring the removal of all Chinese outside of the city limits of all incorporated towns and cities, but the law is ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. circuit court.
1880 3,186 Chinese in Washington State, or 4% of population. Total in U.S. is 105,465. U.S. and China sign treaty giving the U.S. the right to limit but “not absolutely prohibit” the immigration of Chinese. California Civil Code is amended to prohibit inter-racial marriages between a white person and a “Negro, Mulatto, or Mongolian.” Filipinos are added to the list in 1933. The law is repealed in 1948.
1881 King Kalakaua of Hawaii visits Japan during his world tour. Sit Moon becomes pastor of Hawaii’s first Chinese Christian Church.
1882 Chinese Exclusion Act prohibits Chinese immigration to the U.S. By 1890, the ratio of men to women among Chinese Americans is thirty to one nationwide; not until 1940 would the ratio drop to less than two to one. The Treaty of Amity and Commerce allows Koreans to immigrate to the U.S.
1883 Northern Pacific Railroad transcontinental line is completed from Lake Superior, using nearly 17,000 Chinese throughout the entire span of the project. Chinese establish Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) in New York.
1884 Joseph and Mary Tape sue San Francisco school board for right to enroll their daughter, Mamie in a public school. CCBA establishes Chinese language school in San Francisco. Establishment of Vancouver CCBA. Amendment of 1882 Chinese Exclusion Law requires a certificate as the sole permissible evidence for reentry.
1885 Large-scale immigration of Japanese contract laborers to Hawaii begins. One fifth are women. San Francisco builds segregated “Oriental School.” Anti-Chinese violence in Rock Springs, Wyoming Territory. First group of Japanese contract laborers arrives in Hawaii.
1885-1886 Anti-Chinese riots in Rock Springs, Wyoming; Issaquah, Seattle, and Tacoma, Washington.
1886 Washington State passes the Alien Land Law barring Asians from owning land. Residents of Seattle, Tacoma, and other towns and cities in the West expel the Chinese. Chinese immigration to Hawaii ends. Yik Wo v. Hopkins declares that any law with unequal impact on different groups is discriminatory.
1887 First Walla Walla Chinatown is destroyed by fire. Massacre of 31 Chinese miners in Snake River, Oregon.
1888 Scott Law prohibits reentry of Chinese laborers who left the U.S. to visit families and homeland. The first Japanese farm laborers are brought to California. 50th Congress passes law to prohibit the entry of Chinese laborers to the U.S. and lasts for 20 years. Yick Wo v. Hopkins insures all people, regardless of race, equal treatment in the courts, government, and workplace.
1889 Washington becomes a state. First Japanese Nishi Hongwanji priest arrives in Hawaii. Chae Chan Ping v. U.S declares constitutionality of Chinese exclusion laws.
1890 3,260 Chinese living in Washington.
1890s Japanese laborers arrive in the Pacific Northwest.
1892 Ellis Island opens. Between 1892 and 1953, more than 12 million immigrants will be processed at this one facility. The Geary Act extends Chinese exclusion for another ten years, extends it again for another 10 years in 1902, and indefinitely extends it in 1904. Fong Yue Ting v. U.S. upholds Geary Law.
1893 Japanese in San Francisco form the Japanese Shoemaker’s League. Residents of southern California towns attempt to expel Chinese.
1894 U.S. circuit in Massachusetts declares that Japanese are ineligible for naturalization. Japanese immigration to Hawaii under Irwin Convention ends.
1895 Lem Moon Sing v. U.S. prevents district courts from reviewing Chinese habeas corpus petitions for landing in the U.S. Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association (HSPA) formed.
1898 The U.S. annexes Hawaii. The U.S. acquires the Philippines and Guam as a result of the Spanish-American War. Wong Kim Ark, born of Chinese parents, wins Supreme Court case establishing that a person born in the U.S. is a citizen regardless of parentage. San Francisco Japanese establish Young Men’s Buddhist Association. U.S. annexes the Philippines and Hawaii.
1899 Nishi Hongwanji priests set up first North American Buddhist mission in California.
1899-1902 The Philippine American War becomes America’s first colonial war. One quarter of the population of Luzon, Philippines dies in the three-year conflict.
1900 Japanese sugar plantation workers on Lahaina in Hawaii go on strike and win most demands including a nine-hour workday. Japanese plantation workers begin migrating to the mainland. Bubonic plague scare in San Francisco causes Chinatown to be cordoned and quarantined.
1900s Seattle Chinatown develops.
1902 Chinese exclusion extended an additional ten years. Without search warrants, police and immigration officials raid Boston’s Chinatown, arresting almost 250 Chinese who allegedly did not have registration certificates.
1903 Pensionado Act allows Filipino students to study in the U.S. Japanese and Mexican farm workers join in Oxnard, California to form the Japanese-Mexican Labor Association. 1,500 sugar beet workers go on strike. The first group of Korean immigrants arrives in Hawaii to work on Hawaiian sugar plantations. Forty Filipino men are contracted to come to North American to lay telephone cable from Seattle to Alaska. Most remain. 1,500 Japanese and Mexican sugar beet workers strike in Oxnard, California.
1903-1905 First wave of Korean immigration to U.S.
1903-1910 First wave of Filipino immigration to U.S.
1904 Filipinos are exhibited as part of World’s Fair in St. Louis. Japanese plantation workers take part in first organized strike in Hawaii. Punjabi Sikhs arrive in British Columbia.
1905 U.S. v. Jue Toy endows the commissioner-general of immigration sole jurisdiction over Chinese immigration. Chinese in Hawaii and the mainland U.S. support boycott of American products in China. Korean Episcopal Church and Korean Methodist Church established in Hawaii and California respectively. San Francisco School Board attempts segregation of Japanese schoolchildren. Korean emigration ends. Koreans in San Francisco establish Mutual Assistance Society. Asiatic Exclusion League established in San Francisco. Marriage between whites and “Mongolians” prohibited in California.
1906 San Francisco excludes Japanese, Korean, and Chinese children from public school. U.S. Attorney General orders federal courts to stop issuing naturalization papers to Japanese. San Francisco Board of Education votes to exclude Japanese, Korean, and Chinese children from public school. Anti-Asian riots in Vancouver. Koreans in Los Angeles establish Korean Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles. Japanese scientists studying the aftermath of the earthquake in San Francisco are stoned.
1907 Immigration from India to the U.S. begins. President Theodore Roosevelt’s executive order bars Japanese and Korean workers’ entry via Mexico, Canada, or Hawaii. Koreans in Hawaii form United Korean Society. First group of Filipino workers arrive in Hawaii. Asian Indians are expelled from Bellingham, Washington.
1907-1908 “Gentlemen’s Agreement” limits Japanese immigration to parents, wives, and children of males already here. Japanese “picture brides” come to America.
1908 Japanese Association of America formed. Canada denies entry to Asian Indian immigrants who have not come by “continuous journey.” Asian Indians are driven from Live Oak, California.
1909 Early political groups merge to form Korean National Association. As a result of four months of strikes by 7,000 Japanese workers at major plantations on Oahu, the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association decides to raise wages and abolish system of setting wages by nationality. Jenkins family becomes the first family of Filipino descent in Washington State. Filipinos are exhibited as part of Seattle’s Alaskan-Yukon-Pacific Exhibition. Seventeen Filipinos in Washington State.
1909-1934 Second wave of Filipino immigration to the U.S.
1910 Picture brides from Korea arrive in Hawaii. Seattle’s International District is created. It is the only place in the mainland U.S. where Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, African Americans and Vietnamese settled together and built a neighborhood. Chong Wa Benevolent Association is established in Seattle. 1,414 South Asians in Washington State. Administrative measures restricts entry of Asian Indians into California.
1911 Chinese men in America cut off their queues following the China revolution. Pablo Manlapit founds Filipino Higher Wages Association in Hawaii. Japanese Association of Oregon formed in Portland.
1912 Sikhs found Khalsa Kiwan and build gurdwara in Stockton, California. Japanese in California hold statewide Nisei education conference in California.
1913 Alien Land Act passes in California and prohibits Asians from owning land. Sikhs in Washington and Oregon found Hindustani Association. Asian Indians in California establish Hindustani Association. Pablo Manlapit founds Filipino Unemployed Association in Hawaii. Japanese in Seattle form Northwest Japanese Association of America. Korean farm workers are forced out of Hemet, California.
1914 Asian Indian immigrants, attempting to charter a ship to enter Canada by continuous journey, are denied landing in Vancouver.
1915 Washington State law bars Asian immigrants from taking “for sale or profit any salmon or other food or shellfish.” Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Central Japanese Association of Southern California are formed.
1917 Asiatic Barred Zone prevents U.S. immigration from most of eastern Asia and the Pacific Islands.
1919 Korean Women’s Patriotic League forms, merging existing Korean women’s organizations into one.
1920 2,363 Chinese – a sharp decline due to exclusionary immigrant restrictions. 17,387 Japanese and 958 Filipinos in Washington State. Filipino Community of Bremerton is established.
1920 Large scale immigration of Filipino farm workers begins.
1921 Washington State enacts the Alien Land Act preventing non-citizens and those ineligible for citizenship from owning or leasing land.
1922 Ozawa v. U.S. Supreme Court rules that Takao Ozawa is ineligible for citizenship because of his “Mongolian” ancestry. Washington State passes additional alien land restrictions against Asians.
1923 Filipino boxer Francisco Guilledo better known as “Pancho Villa” becomes the flyweight champion of the world. Bhagat Singh Thind v. The U.S. rules that Asian Indians are ineligible for citizenship.
1924 National Origins Act-the most restrictive immigration legislation in U.S. history -prohibits immigration of most Asians. It excludes all Asian laborers, except Filipinos, and prevents Chinese women from rejoining their husbands in the U.S.
1925 Hidemitsu v. U.S. Supreme Court rules that to maintain distinction of race and color in naturalization laws, a Japanese person cannot be naturalized.
1927 With Gong Lum v. Rice, Supreme Court of Mississippi rules for separate but equal facilities for Mongolian children. Filipino Federation of America organizes to obtain U.S. citizenship for its members. Anti-Filipino riot in Yakima Valley.
1928 Anti-Filipino riot in Wenatchee Valley. Japanese immigrant Fujimatsu Moriguchi creates Uwajimaya (after his birth place) as a small Tacoma fish market. It is now the largest Asian grocery and gift store in the Pacific Northwest. Filipino farm workers are forced out of Yakima Valley, Washington.
1929 Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is formed by the West Coast Nisei. Nearly 3,000 Filipinos working in Alaskan canneries. The Filipino Growers Association establishes a Filipino Community Hall on Bainbridge Island.
1933 Cannery Workers’ and Farm Laborers’ Union formed in Seattle;Virgil Duyungan, a Filipino cannery worker, is the first president. Filipino Labor Union is founded. Filipinos are ruled ineligible for citizenship and therefore are barred from immigrating to the U.S.
1934 Tydings-McDuffie Act makes the Philippines a commonwealth, lays out procedures for Philippine independence, and limits Filipino immigration to 50 per year.
1935 The Filipino Community of Seattle is established.
1937 100 charter members create the Filipino Community of Yakima Valley.
1937 Alien land restrictions in Washington State are extended to Filipinos. Washington State legislature attempts to pass an anti-miscegenation law prohibiting “any person of the Caucasian or white race to intermarry with any person of the Ethiopian or black race, the Malayan or brown race, or Mongolian or yellow race.”
1938 First Filipino National Conference in Sacramento, California.
1939 Pio DeCano successfully challenges 1921 Alien Land Law becoming the first Filipino homeowner in Seattle.
1937 Amendment to the Washington Alien Land Law.
1940 1,700 Koreans living on the U.S. mainland. 14,565 Japanese and Japanese Americans living in Washington state, comprising 11.5% of the population.
1941 Washington State Supreme Court rules in favor of Pio DeCano who in 1939 challenged the 1937 amendment to Washington State Alien Land Law prohibiting Filipinos from owning and leasing land. Japan attacks the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The U.S. declares war against Japan. Japanese forces invade the Philippines. Thousands of Filipinos fight beside American soldiers in the Philippines.
1942 President Franklin D. Roosevelt changes draft laws. Forty percent of California’s Filipino population registers for the draft. The First and Second Filipino Infantry Regiments form. President Roosevelt signs Executive Order (EO) 9066, calling for the evacuation of persons of Japanese ancestry living on the Pacific Coast to internment camps. Fifty-four Japanese American families are forcibly removed from Bainbridge Island and are sent to the Manzanar relocation center in California, becoming the first to be interned under EO 9066. Seattle native Gordon Hirabayashi defies curfew and evacuation orders and turns himself in to the FBI to challenge EO 9066. In December, protests break out at the Manzanar center.
1943 442nd Combat Unit made up of Japanese Americans forms and becomes the most highly decorated single unit that fought in World War II. As members of the armed forces, Filipinos are allowed to become U.S. citizens. 1,200 Filipino soldiers stand proudly in “V” formation at Camp Beale as citizenship is conferred on them. Congress repeals the Chinese Exclusion Act but allows only 105 immigrants per year. Hirabayashi v. U.S. Supreme Court rules that the curfew law imposed on Japanese Americans during World War II is constitutional.
1944 Korematsu v. the U.S. rules that the order excluding Japanese Americans from the West Coast is justified because of military necessity.
1945 Japanese American soldiers help liberate Dachau, a Nazi concentration camp in Germany. World War II ends. War Brides Act facilitates the entry of Asian wives of men in the U.S. armed forces. An estimated 200,000 Asian war brides immigrate to the U.S. after World War II. War Relocation Authority notes that 120,313 people of Japanese descent, two-third of whom were American citizens, lived in the internment camps from 1942-1945. Chinese wives of American citizens are allowed to emigrate.
1946 Luce-Cellar Bill allows small immigration quotas and grants naturalization rights to Asian Indians and Filipinos. President Harry S. Truman signs the Filipino Naturalization Bill allowing Filipinos to become citizens. The Philippines gains its independence. Wing F. Ong is elected to the Arizona House of Representatives and becomes the first Asian American to become a state legislator.
1947 President Truman grants full pardon to the Japanese Americans who had been convicted for resisting the draft while they and their families were held in concentration camps. U.S. Second wave of South Asians begins. War Brides Act is amended to allow Chinese American veterans to bring their brides to the U.S.
1947-1990 Second wave of South Asian immigration begins.
1948 Sammy Lee, a Korean American diver, wins an Olympic gold medal in platform diving. He wins a second one in 1952 and becomes the first man to win diving titles at two consecutive Olympics. The Filipino Women’s Club is formed in Seattle. Japanese American Claims Act passes, allowing limited redress for those dispossessed of their property during internment. Displaced Persons Act allows Chinese, who are caught in the U.S. due to the Chinese civil war, to remain in the U.S. and to have permanent resident status. California law banning interracial marriages is repealed after almost 70 years.
1949 Nisei War Memorial in Seattle is dedicated to World War II soldiers of Japanese ancestry. 5,000 highly educated Chinese in the U.S. receive refugee status after China is taken over by a Communist government.
1950 With Haruye v. The People, the Supreme Court of California finds the state’s Alien Land Act violates the 14th Amendment. 9,694 Japanese and Japanese Americans living in Washington State, a 44% decline from 1920 as a result of the World War II Japanese internment.
1950-1953 Korean War, the end of which marks the second wave of Korean immigration to the U.S. blue Guamanians and Samoans begin to arrive in the U.S. and Congress grants citizenship to Guamanians.
1952 The McCarran-Walter Act repeals the racial restriction of the 1790 Naturalization Law. First generation Japanese receive the right to become naturalized citizens. Immigration and Nationality Act eliminates race as a bar to immigration and naturalization; token quotas remain. Fujii Sei v. State of California rules that Alien Land Law is unconstitutional. Filipino Community Hall of Wapato, Washington opens.
1956 California ends its 43-year old alien land laws. Dalip Singh Saund, a South Asian, becomes first Asian to be elected to Congress. He worked for the rights of South Asians to become naturalized citizens and for a 1949 change in the law, which allowed him to become a congressperson. California repeals its 43-year-old Alien Land Act. Filipino American author Carlos Bulosan (America is in the Heart) dies and is buried in Seattle, Washington.
1959 Hawaii becomes fiftieth state. Hiram Fong and Daniel Inouye become first Asian Pacific Americans elected to Congress.
1959-1975 Vietnam War, the end of which marks the migrations of Southeast Asians to the U.S.
1960 United Savings & Loan Bank becomes the first Asian American-owned savings and loan institution in the U.S. It is dedicated to helping Asian families who had difficulty getting loans from other banks.
1962 Wing Luke is elected to Seattle City Council and becomes the first Asian American elected official in the Pacific Northwest. Daniel K. Inouye becomes a U.S. Senator of Hawaii.
1964 Japanese American Patsy Takemoto Mink is elected as a U.S. representative from Hawaii and becomes first Asian American woman to serve in Congress.
1965 Immigration Act of 1965 eliminates “national origin” quotas. Third wave of Filipino, Korean and South Asian immigration begins.
1967 The Wing Luke Asian Museum is established in Seattle, Washington. It is the only pan-Asian American museum in the U.S devoted to the collection, preservation, and display of Asian Pacific American culture, history and art. It is named in honor of Seattle City Council member Wing Luke, who died in a plane crash two years earlier.
1968 San Francisco State University students go on strike to establish ethnic studies programs.
1970 President Nixon admits that the U.S. had been bombing Laos for the past six years. Asian American students are part of a nationwide protest against American invasion of Cambodia and the broadening of the war in Vietnam.
1972 Northwest Asian American Theatre, one of only six in the US, is founded in Seattle. Asian American community activists use the decision to build the Kingdome near the International District in Seattle to call attention to the economic, social and physical decay of the International District. The first national conference of Asian Americans and Pacific Island peoples is held in San Francisco, California. National Organization of U.S. Filipino American citizens is established in Seattle, WA. Governor Evans of Washington state creates the State Asian Advisory Council by executive order. Federal legislation repeals two “anti-Oriental” laws, an 1872 law prohibiting entry of “Orientals” without a permit and a 1905 law banning “the import of an oriental woman with the intent to sell her.” Governor Evans of Washington State creates the State Asian Advisory Council by executive order.
1974 The International Examiner, a Seattle based Asian American newspaper, is established. Enter the Dragon is released starring Bruce Lee, a Chinese American actor and martial artist, who dies that same year. Washington State created the State of Washington Commission on Asian American Affairs, replacing the State Asian Advisory Council. In 1995, the Commission’s name changes to include Pacific Islanders. Lau v. Nichols establishes precedent-setting bilingual education programs nationwide.
1975 First annual Asian American Festival held in Columbus Park, Chinatown, NY.
1975 President Ford authorizes 130,000 Southeast Asian refugees to enter the U.S. as new governments emerge in Vietnam, Kampuchea, and Laos. First wave of Vietnamese, Cambodians, Hill Tribes (Hmong, Mien, Khmhu) and other Southeast Asians arrive after the fall of Saigon and other bombing of nearby areas.
1976 With Hampton v. Wong Mow Sun, the Supreme Court rules that Civil Service cannot deny employment on basis of race. Author Maxine Hong Kingston wins the National Book Critics Circle Award for her book, Woman Warrior- a book reflecting on the immigrant issues. It and becomes among the most widely taught college-level book by a living author.
1978 Second wave of Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian refugees begins.
1979 Dolores Sibonga becomes the first Filipino American to serve on the Seattle City Counci. She is also the first Filipina American lawyer in Washington State.
1980s Second wave of refugees from the Hill Tribes of Laos to the U.S.
1980 Refugee Act passes and classifies refugees as those who flee a country because of persecution “on account of race, religion, and nationality, or political opinion.” Systemization the admission of refugees and classifies them as separate from other immigrants.
1981 Commission on Wartime Relocation finds that World War II Japanese internment was a “grave injustice” caused by “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” Filipino American labor activists and union reformists Gene Viernes and Silme Domingo of Local 37 of the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union are murdered in Seattle.
1984 Reverend Jesse Jackson becomes the first presidential candidate to visit New York City’s Chinatown.
1984-1987 Fred Korematsu’s and Gordon Hirabayashi’s convictions for challenging the Japanese American curfew and evacuation during World War II are overturned.
1987 Amerasian Homecoming Act of 1987 facilitates immigration of Amerasian children and certain members of their families. Third wave of Vietnamese immigration to the U.S. begins.
1988 President Reagan signs the Civil Liberties Act, authorizing $125 billion in reparations payments to Japanese American survivors of World War II internment camps.
1989 Chinese American Michael Chang becomes the youngest French Open and Grand Slam tennis champion at age seventeen.
1989 The Samoan community organizes to demand an apology from the police when 75 police officers beat and harass guests at a Samoan bridal shower in Carson, California.
1991 300 protest against sexist and racist themes at the opening of Miss Saigon on Broadway.
1992 2,300 small businesses are destroyed in Koreatown during the Los Angeles riots. The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance is founded in Washington, D.C. and forms the first national Asian Pacific American labor group, a subgroup of the AFL-CIO. The 102nd Congress unanimously passes legislation designating May of each year as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month for the nation. Chinese for Affirmative Action file suit against the University of California, claiming that University California uses quotas to limit Asian American enrollment. Japanese American ice skater Kristi Yamaguchi places first in the Albertville Winter Olympics.
1993 731 Asian Pacific American elected or appointed positions state, county, and local government. After a 36-day hunger strike in May, Asian American students at University of California finally get the administrations to agree to establish an Asian American studies program.
1994 U.S. government returns Kaho’olawe to Hawaii. The sacred site was a Navy bombing ground for 40 years.
1996 Washington State voters elect Gary Locke as the state’s 21st governor, the first Asian American governor on the U.S. mainland. The TIME magazine’s 1996 Man of the Year is Dr. David Ho for his groundbreaking research efforts on the AIDS virus. Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year is golfer Tiger Woods. He refers to his ethnicity as “Cablinasian”, an ethnic blend of Caucasian, Black, American Indian, and Asian.
1997 Kalpana Chawla joins the crew of the Columbia Space Shuttle, becoming the first South Asian American astronaut in space.
1998 Chinese American ice skater Michelle Kwan receives an Olympic silver medal in the Nagano Olympic games.
1999 Washington State has the highest number of Asian Pacific American elected state officials in the U.S. mainland. 341,650 Asian Pacific Americans in Washington State, triple the number in 1980. Approximately 10 million Asian Pacific Americans living in the U.S.
1999 David Wu is the first Chinese American elected to the House of Representatives in Oregon.
2000 Senator Paull Shin, the first Korean American Washington State senator, sponsors successful legislation to declare May of each year as Asian Pacific Heritage Month for Washington State. Sources “Asian Americans: An Interpretive History, APAs in Washington State” by Suchen Chan; “A History Bursting with Telling: Asian Americans in Washington State” by the University of Washington History Department; and the Wing Luke Asian Museum.
2000 President Clinton nominates Norm Mineta as the 33rd Secretary of Commerce and the first Asian American to hold an executive cabinet post.
2001 President Bush appoints Norm Mineta as the 14th Secretary of Transportation. He serves until 2006, becoming the longest serving U.S. Transportation Secretary in history.
2001 Elaine Chow becomes the first APA woman appointed to a Presidential Cabinet. President Bush appointed Chow Secretary of Labor.
2001 Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37th) becomes Majority Whip for the Washington State House of Representatives.
2007 Bobby Jindal becomes the first Indian American elected Governor (Louisiana) in the history of the United States
2007 Northwest Asian Weekly and the Seattle Chinese Post celebrate their 25th Anniversaries in publication.