Celebrate Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month in Memphis

Memphis has it's first month-long of activities for Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

You can thank speaker, author and professor, SunAh M Laybourn, Ph.D. for starting the city's first Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. With the growing anti-Asian violence, Laybourn knew a celebration and coming together of this kind was long overdo, according to a press release announcing the month-long celebration.

graphic for Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month Memphis
Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

A nationwide celebration, Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebrates the rich history, contributions, and diverse experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

AAPI Heritage Month is celebrated in May to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese people to the United States on May 7, 1843. It also marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869 where the majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants. You can learn more at asianpacificheritage.gov.

Upcoming Events in Memphis:

A Very Asian Reading Week

Week of May 15th

With support from the Very Asian Foundation’s May Book Project, the Junior League of Memphis and other community volunteers will read select books from the Foundation’s book list at a local elementary school.

The May Book Project is an initiative to raise national awareness of the need to create inclusive libraries, give readers access to up-to-date Asian American youth literature, and provide funding to donate books to at-need libraries.

Sponsored by The Lynne & Henry Turley Memphis Center and the Bonner Center for Community Engagement at Rhodes College

In partnership with the Junior League of Memphis and the Very Asian Foundation

Asian American in the South art exhibition presented by Google

Thursday, May 18th | 6:00pm-9:00pm | Museum of Science and History

This exhibition showcases the creativity of Asian American artists with roots in or connections to Memphis. Featured artists include Tommy Kha, Erin Kim Siao, Anna Cai, Shameka Carter, LiLi Nacht, Yidan Zeng, Sharon Havelka, Vivian Havelka, and Neena Wang.

The first 100 guests will also enjoy a limited edition custom AAPI Heritage Month Phillip Ashley chocolate collection. Speciality themed cocktails will be available, sponsored by Inkwell.

Admission is FREE with RVSP.

Museum of Science and History

3050 Central Avenue

Memphis, TN 38111

Everything Everywhere All At Once Movie Screening

Friday, May 26th | 6:30pm | Comeback Coffee

When an interdimensional rupture unravels reality, an unlikely hero must channel her newfound powers to fight bizarre and bewildering dangers from the multiverse as the fate of the world hangs in the balance. 

Grab a friend & get ready to experience this history making film - the first to win over six Oscars! Michelle Yeoh is the first Asian American woman to win the SAG Award for outstanding performance by an actress in a leading role and the first Asian American woman to win the Oscar for Best Actress, and Ke Huy Quan is the first Asian American man to win the SAG Award for outstanding supporting actor. 

Doors open at 6:30pm. Movie starts at 7:30pm. Admission is free.

Comeback Coffee

358 North Main Street

Memphis, TN 38103


Closing Happy Hour

Wednesday, May 31st | 5:00pm | Inkwell

For the month’s finale, we’ll gather at Inkwell for dope cocktails and good vibes.

Open to all.


631 Madison Ave

Memphis, TN 38103


Learn more at www.aapiheritagemonthmemphis.com.

cut up fruit piled together: watermelon, oranges, pineapples

Eat up during AAPI Heritage Month

I was lucky to be invited by a friend to join them for the ticketed happy hour event at Good Fortune in South Main. If you haven't ate at Good Fortune yet (you should!) it's one of the cities newest restaurants that features made from scratch noodles and dumplings. You've probably heard by now people talking about their love for their wings too.

If you missed this, there's still opportunities to enjoy the amazing Asian American cuisine we have in the city. Edible Memphis has teamed up with AAPI Heritage Month for a Hungry Tiger Food Tour. At each stop you can eat some good food, meet organizer SunAh Laybourn, and maybe broaden your horizons with a new experience or friends.


Thursday, May 11th 12:30pm Asiana Garden

Wednesday, May 17th 12:30pm East Meets West

Friday, May 19th 12:30pm Vietnam Restaurant

Tuesday, May 23rd 12:30pm Mayuri Indian Restaurant

Thursday, May 25th 12:30pm Ryu Sushi & Pho

Wednesday, May 31st 12:30pm Mosa Asian Bistro

cocktail held up in front of cake balls spreads and send noods photo backdrop
spread of different colored and decorated cake balls on bar

About the Author

Hello! I'm Jalyn Souchek, the Director of Content for I Love Memphis Blog! I love calling the 901 home. When I'm not running the blog you can find me cheering on the Grizzlies, at a concert, exploring a new restaurant or kicking back at one of our breweries. I hope you'll love experiencing Memphis with me.

Build your perfect Memphis meal:

I love to eat so if I were to have only one meal left.. I’m going all out. I’d start with an app of Gumbo Fries from Blue City Cafe or Bayou Fries from Chef Tam, wings from Good Fortune or Central’s (honey gold and Jamaican Jerk), potato salad from Fat Larry’s, side of bbq spaghetti from Bar-B-Q Shop, and fried okra from Soul Fish. All paired with a Beale Street Brewing Space Age Sippin’.

Your most memorable Memphis moment:

College GameDay on Beale Street. That was an electric and perfect morning. I was still working in news then and was able to take it in up close and on the stage at some points. The fun and joy of everyone down there that morning is unbeatable.

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