Influential Asian American Pacific Islanders!


The month of May was Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. In honor of this month, I will be discussing influential Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have made a great contribution to this world.

Steven Chen is a Taiwanese-American who is the co-founder of YouTube and its previous Chief Technology Officer. On February 14, 2005, Steven Chen, and the other founders, registered YouTube as a website for people from various places to share videos. Their company which was originally run from their garages is now worth over $180 billion.

Kalpana Chawla was an Indian-American who was the first woman of Asian origin to go to space. In addition to being an astronaut and pilot, Kalpana Chawla was an aerospace engineer who assisted in the development of the Robotic Situational Awareness Display, a device that enables astronauts to employ robotic arms. In 1997, Chawla flew for the first time on Space Shuttle Columbia as the mission specialist and the primary robotic arm operator because of her extensive knowledge.

Dr. David Ho is a Taiwanese-American physician and AIDS virologist. He has contributed to countless scientific findings. For more than 20 years, Dr. Ho engaged in AIDS research. He and his coworkers were able to cause dramatic reductions in AIDS mortality in developed countries because of combination antiretroviral therapy. This was the result of Dr. Ho’s extensive research on HIV replication inside the body of an infected person. 

Michelle Yeoh is a Malaysian-American actress known for the countless productions she has starred in and the awards she received for them. Yeoh is known for her roles in, Everything Everywhere All At Once, Crazy Rich Asians, Mechanics: Resurrection, Boss Level, Shang-Chi, Morgan, The School For Good and Evil, Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, Minions: The Rise of Gru and many more titles. Yeoh is the first Asian to win the Academy Award for best actress, and the first Malaysian to win an Academy Award. Moreover, she has won a Golden Globe Award and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Yuri Kochiyama was a Japanese-American civil rights activist. She was known for being a fierce defender of human rights. She spoke out against all forms of injustice in various communities and oppressive institutions. She advocated for better treatment towards Japanese-Americans after World War II and for Puerto Rican independence. She fought against racial discrimination towards African Americans and Islamophobia/ the racial profiling of Muslims after 9/11.

Barack Obama (Honorary Pacific Islander!) is the 44th President of the United States. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and spent most of his early years on the island, surrounded by its rich culture. Additionally, he lived in Indonesia as a child. Because he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, he is the first president to be born outside of the 48 contiguous states. Additionally, he was the first African American president. Barack Obama served two terms as president from 2009 to 2017.  During his presidency, he passed many monumental bills such as the Affordable Care Act, the Consumer Protection Act, and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform.