May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. The celebration originated in 1978, when Rep. Frank Horton of New York proposed the president proclaim the first 10 days in May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. Presidents passed annual proclamations until 1990, when Congress expanded the observance to a month.

May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

The Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution and others are marking the occasion with a number of online presentations this month.

The celebration also comes on the heels of U.S. Senate approval of a bill to combat hate crimes against Asian Americans. Reports of violence against Asian Americans have spiked since the beginning of the pandemic. The bill passed 94-1 on April 22, with Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley the only dissenter.

"When given the opportunity to work, the Senate can work. Members from both sides of the aisle have worked together ... to consider and perfect and enact legislation responding to a pressing issue," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

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Thumbs up to Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month and to the Senate for its bipartisan effort to combat violence against Asian Americans.

First Amendment Week

On May 1, Forum Communications launched a seven-day series on the First Amendment.

The goal of the series is to educate readers and writers alike on the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech, religion and the press, as well as the right to assemble and petition the government.

In addition to explaining the differences between news and opinion, the series will offer insight into how the media operate.

The series

  • What is the First Amendment? What isn’t the First Amendment?
  • The impact of the internet and social media on free speech principles.
  • Differences between news and opinion.
  • How does the reporting process work?
  • Craft a great letter to the editor.
  • Exercising First Amendment rights in the real world.

You can find the series in its entirety at Search First Amendment Week.

Thumbs up for the informative series.

Callous catalytic converter thieves

PossAbilities of Southern Minnesota, a nonprofit that serves approximately 350 people with disabilities and their families, has been the victim of catalytic converter thieves ... twice.


PossAbilities reported the theft on April 27. It is believed that the converter was stolen sometime between 5 p.m. on April 26 and 9 a.m. April 27. The catalytic converter on the 2012 Ford Econoline had just been replaced because it had previously been stolen.

Catalytic converter thefts have become rampant, with thieves taking the pollution control devices because they contain precious metals.

The Goodhue County Sheriff's Office and participating auto repair shops in the area have launched a device ID program in an effort to make it more difficult for thieves to sell the devices.

Thumbs down to stone-hearted thieves who prey on innocent victims.