SAN FRANCISCO, May 1 (Xinhua) -- San Francisco Mayor London Breed said recognizing the heritage of Asia and Pacific islanders is critical to maintaining and growing the city's diversity.
Breed made the remarks on Wednesday during an event celebrating Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month. She called the activities, art performances among them, celebrating APA heritage as "absolutely spectacular."
Breed also commended the contributions of thousands of Chinese workers who built the first American Transcontinental Railroad more than 100 years ago.
May 10, 2019 marks the 150th anniversary of Leland Stanford's driving the famous "golden spike" to connect the Central Pacific and Union Pacific lines of Promontory Summit in the state of Utah, marking the completion of the railroad connecting America's east and west coasts.
Stanford, one of the four major investors of the transcontinental railroad, set aside part of his wealth earned from the rail project to create what is now renowned Stanford University.
"As we celebrate heritage month in San Francisco, I know that there are some significant milestones this year that I'm really excited about, including the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad," Mayor Breed said.
"That is so important because we know that so many folks from our Asian community, specifically the Chinese community, were an important part of making sure that that railroad was built, and to finally recognize and celebrate that history 150 years later is significant," said the mayor.
Claudine Cheng, founder of the non-profit APA Heritage Foundation, which hosted Wednesday's celebrations, said the Asian Pacific heritage will be specially honored this month with a host of colorful events.
"In San Francisco today it is a kickoff event for the whole month. We have a lot of art and cultural programs in the city offered by the Asian Art Museum, the organizer of an Asian American film festival, as well as the San Francisco Public Library," she said.
She noted that Asian Pacific Americans have always been a part of the demographics of this country.
She also hailed the landmark achievements made by the Chinese railway workers more than a century ago.
"Without the Chinese railroad workers, there would have been no transcontinental railroad that connects the east and west in this country," she pointed out.
The celebration committee of the event presented an award to a project led by Stanford Professor Gordon Chang for delving into the history of the Chinese railroad workers.
At Wednesday's celebrations, Breed declared the entire month of May as Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month in San Francisco.