In 1977 the U.S. Congress (lead by Representative Frank Horton of New York and Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawai'i) chose the first ten days of May to commemorate the history and contributions of Asian American communities in the United States. Soon the week turned into a month, the very month in which the first Japanese immigrants came to the U.S. in 1843. Further, the completion of the transcontinental railroad in May 1869 is commemorated, as the majority of workers were Chinese immigrants. 

Every May, the IRC in Denver honors Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander(AANHPI) Heritage MonthThis year, by highlighting four remarkable documentaries featuring the diverse voices of AANHPI filmmakers. 

1. Fanny: The Right to Rock

Co-founded by Filipina American and queer teenagers, Fanny is the first all women band to release an album with a major record label (Warner/Reprise, 1970). Revered by David Bowie, meet the most groundbreaking rock group you've never heard of... yet.


2. Blurring the Color Line

Filmmaker Crystal Kwok unpacks the history behind her grandmother’s family, who were neighborhood grocery store owners in the Black community of Augusta, Georgia during the Jim Crow era. By centering women’s experiences, Kwok poses critical questions around the intersections of race, power, and identity in the American South.

3. Nam June Paik: Moon Is the Oldest TV

See the world like Nam June Paik, father of video art and coiner of the term “electronic superhighway.” Born in Japan-occupied Korea, Paik is a pillar of the American avant-garde and transformed modern image-making with his sculptures, films and performances. Experience his creative evolution, through readings from Paik's own writings.

4. Free Chol Soo Lee

Sentenced to life for a 1973 San Francisco murder, Korean immigrant Chol Soo Lee was set free after a pan-Asian solidarity movement, including Korean, Japanese, and Chinese Americans. After 10 years of fighting for his life inside California state prisons, Lee found himself in the fight to rise to the expectations of the people believing in him.

The IRC in Denver celebrates all their Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander staff, clients, and supporters and wishes them a peaceful AANHPI Heritage Month.