These three pioneers changed the world.
These three pioneers changed the world.

The Power of Pioneers!

Meet three people with AAPI heritage who led the way for others.

May brings flowers. It’s also a time of celebration in North America. In the United States, May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month. In Canada, it’s Asian Heritage Month. This is a time to learn about how people with roots in Asia and Pacific Ocean islands have changed the world.

Each year, a group called FAPAC picks a theme for the U.S. month. In 2024, the theme is “Advancing Leaders Through .” The theme honors AAPI leaders who have made their mark through “ and creativity.”

Read on to meet three AAPI groundbreakers!

Daniel Inouye
Daniel Inouye lived a life of service. He was born in 1924 in Honolulu, Hawaii, to a Japanese family. When Inouye was in high school in 1941, there was an attack in Hawaii. Pilots from Japan attacked the Pearl Harbor base. This attack brought the United States into World War II. Inouye volunteered to join the fight. After a battle in 1945, he lost much of his right arm. Inouye later received the Medal of Honor. That’s the highest honor in the U.S. military.

Inouye wasn’t done serving his country though. In 1954, Inouye got elected to Hawaii’s government. Hawaii became a state in 1959, while he was in office. Inouye became Hawaii’s first member of the House of Representatives. In 1962, Inouye got elected to the Senate. He served in that role until he died in 2012. Inouye never lost an election.

Lisa Su
In order to think big, sometimes you have to start small. Lisa Su knows this. She was born in Taiwan in 1969. She moved to the United States when she was 3. Growing up, Su was fascinated by computer chips.

Su later became an expert in semiconductors. Those tiny computer chips are in cell phones and other devices. When she was working at the IBM company in the 1990s, Su made a breakthrough. She pioneered a way to use copper metals instead of aluminum to build semiconductors. This made the chips run much faster.

In 2012, Su moved to a new company: AMD. Two years later, Su became the head of that business. At the time, AMD was struggling — but Su helped turn AMD around. Today, AMD is a leader in building computer chips for businesses and computer lovers alike.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
“The Rock” is famous in both wrestling and movies. But Dwayne Johnson had to work to make “The Rock” a household name. Johnson was born in 1972. His mother had Samoan heritage. Johnson played football growing up. He struggled with injuries, so he needed to make a switch. He became a wrestler with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). People got to know Johnson for his big personality in and out of the wrestling ring.

Then, Johnson made another change. He became an actor in the 2000s. He starred in movies in the Jumanji and Fast and the Furious . Johnson’s movies have made more than $9 billion!

One famous film with Johnson is the 2016 movie Moana. Johnson played the Maui. “This story is my culture,” Johnson later said. “I wear this culture proudly on my skin and in my soul.”

Updated April 30, 2024, 5:02 P.M. (ET)
By Ryan Cramer

The Power of Pioneers!

Meet three people with AAPI heritage who led the way for others.

These three pioneers changed the world.
These three pioneers changed the world.

May brings flowers. It’s also a time of celebration in North America. In the United States, May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month. In Canada, it’s Asian Heritage Month. This is a time to learn about how people with roots in Asia and Pacific Ocean islands have changed the world.

Each year, a group called FAPAC picks a theme for the U.S. month. In 2024, the theme is “Advancing Leaders Through .” The theme honors AAPI leaders who have made their mark through “ and creativity.”

Read on to meet three AAPI groundbreakers!

Daniel Inouye
Daniel Inouye lived a life of service. He was born in 1924 in Honolulu, Hawaii, to a Japanese family. When Inouye was in high school in 1941, there was an attack in Hawaii. Pilots from Japan attacked the Pearl Harbor base. This attack brought the United States into World War II. Inouye volunteered to join the fight. After a battle in 1945, he lost much of his right arm. Inouye later received the Medal of Honor. That’s the highest honor in the U.S. military.

Inouye wasn’t done serving his country though. In 1954, Inouye got elected to Hawaii’s government. Hawaii became a state in 1959, while he was in office. Inouye became Hawaii’s first member of the House of Representatives. In 1962, Inouye got elected to the Senate. He served in that role until he died in 2012. Inouye never lost an election.

Lisa Su
In order to think big, sometimes you have to start small. Lisa Su knows this. She was born in Taiwan in 1969. She moved to the United States when she was 3. Growing up, Su was fascinated by computer chips.

Su later became an expert in semiconductors. Those tiny computer chips are in cell phones and other devices. When she was working at the IBM company in the 1990s, Su made a breakthrough. She pioneered a way to use copper metals instead of aluminum to build semiconductors. This made the chips run much faster.

In 2012, Su moved to a new company: AMD. Two years later, Su became the head of that business. At the time, AMD was struggling — but Su helped turn AMD around. Today, AMD is a leader in building computer chips for businesses and computer lovers alike.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
“The Rock” is famous in both wrestling and movies. But Dwayne Johnson had to work to make “The Rock” a household name. Johnson was born in 1972. His mother had Samoan heritage. Johnson played football growing up. He struggled with injuries, so he needed to make a switch. He became a wrestler with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). People got to know Johnson for his big personality in and out of the wrestling ring.

Then, Johnson made another change. He became an actor in the 2000s. He starred in movies in the Jumanji and Fast and the Furious . Johnson’s movies have made more than $9 billion!

One famous film with Johnson is the 2016 movie Moana. Johnson played the Maui. “This story is my culture,” Johnson later said. “I wear this culture proudly on my skin and in my soul.”

Updated April 30, 2024, 5:02 P.M. (ET)
By Ryan Cramer

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