NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – While the usual public celebrations may be a bit restrained this year, Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month’s annual celebration of culture and history are still happening online this May.

Arts and culture, business and education are the main pillars the Asia Society look to highlight as they celebrate the achievements of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

Sanjeev Sherchan is the Asia Society’s executive director.

“It’s also a moment to pay tribute to the generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success,” Sherchan told CBS2’s Charlie Cooper.

There are more than 20 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who call America home. They’re the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States.

“We are part of the social fabric, and we are changing the course of the US’ history,” Sherchan said.

He says this year, highlighting their heritage is especially important in combating increased violence towards Asians who have received backlash amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is why the Asia Society has done all these programs about how pandemics and viruses are not specific to any race or minority group,” Sherchan said.

In a four-week-long event lineup, the Asia Society will digitally showcase art and host live events and conversations with Asian-American leaders. They’ll also offer a live cook-along, a virtual book club and story time.

“For those who aren’t Asian American, why should they care about this and about knowing more about the issues that impact you guys?” Cooper asked.

“The trials and tribulations that each different ethnic groups have gone through, I think there are a lot of commonalities. You can relate to each other, I think, and learn from those past experiences,” Sherchan said.

It’s about promoting cultural understanding, social justice and inclusion, Sherchan says, and finding our common humanity.

Here’s a list of places and events to find virtual happenings throughout the month:

National Park Service: The Department of the Interior has posted a variety of online resources about the event in May at AsianPacificHeritage.gov, including a history of New York City’s Chinatown in Manhattan.

The Asia Society: The educational organization’s New York location at 725 Park Ave. may be closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, but it is offering a series of online events in May.

Friday, May 8 2020: A conversation with Geeta Gandbhir and Grace Lee, two of the directors/producers behind the PBS and WETA’s upcoming 5-hour groundbreaking documentary Asian Americans. The documentary launches May 11. Click for more information »

Thursday, May 14, 2020: Virtual book reading by Asian author Raakhee Mirchandani featuring Super Satya Saves the Day. Click for more information »

Monday, May 18, 2020: A conversation with “Tigertail” filmmaker Alan Yang on immigration and sacrifice.”Tigertail” filmmaker Alan Yang talks about immigration, identity, and the American dream. Click for more information »

Wednesday, May 27, 2020: Virtual Book Club with author Cathy Park on “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning” focused on an exploration of Asian American consciousness and the struggle to be human. Click for more information »

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