May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and City Colleges of Chicago is proud to recognize the contributions and influence of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans at our colleges and across the country.
In 1977, a United States Congressional resolution was signed by former President Jimmy Carter to celebrate AAPI contributions during a single week in May. The observance expanded over time to span the entire month.
In the 2020 Census, Asian Americans experienced the largest gain of any racial or ethnic group in Chicago — a 30 percent increase since 2010. According to the 2020 Census, seven percent of Chicagoans have Asian ancestry, and 0.1% of Chicagoans report Pacific Islander ancestry.
This year’s graduating class at City Colleges has almost identical percentages of Chicago’s Asian American and Pacific Islander populations, representing a key part of our racially and culturally diverse group of 2023 associate degree earners.
Ryan Morgia is one of many proud AAPI associate degree earners who will cross the stage on May 6, 2023, at Wintrust Arena during City Colleges’ 2023 Commencement Ceremony. Four years ago, Ryan immigrated to Chicago from the Philippines in search of career growth and increased opportunity. He enrolled at Kennedy-King College in pursuit of a degree in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, and despite battling various obstacles during his journey, he earned his Associate in Applied Science last summer.
Shortly after, Ryan was offered a job as an HVAC stationary engineer and was promoted to chief engineer seven months later. He will speak at graduation as Kennedy-King College’s Class of 2023 valedictorian and believes his accomplishment is a testament to his perseverance and bravery.
“The last year has shown me that with hard work, determination, and support, starting over in a new country is possible,” Ryan said.
This year’s AAPI Heritage Month theme, “Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity”, was selected by the Federal Asian Pacific American Council with the goal of increased leadership and advancement of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans.
City Colleges of Chicago is committed to recognizing and celebrating the diversity of our Asian and Pacific Islander students, employees, and community members both during the month of May and beyond.