The contributions of Asian Americans that shape our daily lives


If you’ve ever visited the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame or the Louvre or visited, you appreciate some of the many contributions of Asian Americans. Through creativity and innovation, they changed the landscape of the world and made an impact on history right here in the United States.

For Pacific Islander Asian-American Heritage Month, let’s appreciate some notable Asian Americans and their life-changing contributions.

IM Pei is considered one of the greatest modern architects and has created buildings well known around the world.

He is best known for the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, but you can also find his buildings here in the United States. Some of his designs include the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

The Chinese American first studied architecture in 1935 and received a bachelor’s degree from MIT and a master’s degree from Harvard. He then established his own architectural firm in 1955 and continued to design buildings around the world. Many of his designs have focused on geometric shapes, concrete and glass.

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In this March 29, 1989 archive photo, Chinese-American architect IM Pei laughs as he poses for a portrait in front of the Louvre’s glass pyramid, which he designed, in the museum’s Napoleon courtyard, before its inauguration in Paris. Pei, the globe-trotting architect who revived the Louvre in Paris with a giant glass pyramid and captured the spirit of rebellion at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in many shapes, has died at 102, confirmed a spokesperson Thursday, May 16, 2019. (AP Photo)

Some of the websites we can visit every day are thanks to contributions from Asian Americans.

Yahoo! was co-founded by Jerry Yang while studying at Stanford in 1994. The Taiwanese American co-created the website with David Filo and they called it “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web”. At the time, it offered a directory of other websites. Once it became more popular, they renamed it Yahoo! which was the acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Official Oracle”. The website was then sold to Verizon Communications in 2016, and now the web portal includes a search engine, email, and news.

In this Jan. 7, 2008 file photo of Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang gestures at the Yahoo booth after giving his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. (AP Photo)

Speaking of email, you can thank another Asian American for this popular service. Windows Live Hotmail was co-founded by Indian-American businessman Sabeer Bhatia in 1996. Microsoft then bought it for $ 400 million and turned it into Microsoft Outlook.

You might have also heard of this little website called YouTube. This was co-founded by Taiwanese American entrepreneur Steven Chen. He played a key role in launching the company in 2005. He now sits on the board of directors of Asia-Pacific Fund, a non-profit organization that aims to uplift the Asian and Pacific Island communities of the Bay Area through grants and services, scholarship programs and leadership.

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YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley, 29, left, and Steven Chen, 27, pose with their laptops in their office loft in San Mateo, Calif., In this file photo from March 29, 2006. (AP Photo)

Many credit the famous Hong Kong American actor Bruce Lee as the father of mixed martial arts.

Throughout history, he made full contact sport popular in the 1960s with his Jeet Kune Do, which features a hybrid philosophy of martial arts. Now the fight match has been made popular here in the United States thanks to the UFC.

Actor Bruce Lee died of an allergic reaction to pain relievers on July 20, 1973, at the age of 32. He is considered the greatest icon of martial arts cinema and is known for his roles in “Enter the Dragon” and “Fists of Fury,” among others. Raised in Hong Kong, Lee came to America at age 18 and made a career in teaching martial arts before becoming an actor. (20th Century Fox)

Four Asian American designers are known as pioneers in the fashion industry in the 1980s and 1990s.

Anna Sui is known for her colorful designs, Vivienne Tam for her collections strongly influenced by traditional Chinese culture, Vera Wang for her wedding dresses and Kimmora Lee Simmons for the Baby Phat brand and now Their designs are used around the world and are now recognizable even decades later.

This photo from Monday, November 29, 2010 shows fashion designer Anna Sui during an interview at her showroom in New York City. Each parade is a chapter in Anna Sui’s life. It’s a commentary on his interests, his passions and his current state of mind. (AP Photo)

Although he did not technically invent the cone, according to the International Dairy Food Association, Hamwi popularized it at the Saint-Louis World’s Fair in 1904.

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The Syrian dealer was selling a crispy waffle-like pastry and working at a stall right next to an ice cream vendor. The ice cream vendor then ran out of dishes and Hamwi thought of a simple solution. He quickly rolled one of his wafer-shaped waffles into a cone shape and gave it to the ice cream vendor. Customers loved it and now it’s part of almost every ice cream parlor you visit in America.

Think you’ve heard all about the flavors of ice cream? Think again. Here’s a look at some of the weirdest ice cream flavors in the world in honor of National Ice Cream Month in July: (iStock / SoleilC)

Are there any other notable AAPI numbers that we should highlight? Post them in the comments below, be sure to visit for stories showcasing Asian Americans in Central Florida.

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