ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- The depot held a lunch and learn event in honor of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month May 23 in the Training Building.

"This month is a time of celebration and commemoration," said Dr. Helen Kim, president of the Alabama Asian Cultures Foundation and speaker for the event.

Kim gave a brief history of AAPI Heritage Month, beginning with the first immigrations of Japanese and Chinese to the U.S. and continuing through 1990, when Congress extended Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week to a month-long observance.

"It's important to remember and keep remembering, so we don't repeat," Kim told the crowd as she highlighted some of the ways the U.S. discriminated against Asians in the past.

In the 1800s, following the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, the U.S. denied citizenship to immigrating Chinese.

Then, in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese in America were placed in internment camps.

Kim was quick to note, however, that the U.S. has reversed all its discriminating policies against Asians and they are now one of the largest growing populations in America.

She also highlighted numerous pop culture contributions Asians have made throughout the years.

The Thai silk costumes in The King and I and Tyrus Wong, who created the background for Bambi were two of the examples given.

Kim, a native of South Korea, became a naturalized U.S. citizen after immigrating as a child with her parents.

She has served as president of the AACF since 2013.