May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, offering an opportunity to recognize and acknowledge the impact these communities have made throughout history. In light of the recent attacks on AAPI communities across the country, it’s especially crucial that we stand united with these communities in support. To kick the month off, we connected with a few ‘Keeters to hear about what this month means to them. Check out what they had to say below, followed by additional resources on how you can partake in honoring and celebrating Asian Americans’ and Pacific Islanders’ rich heritage.
Sr. Digital Outreach Specialist Emily Dann:
“As an Asian-American adoptee, my parents always made sure I grew up feeling connected to my native culture. This month is especially important to me because it grants me the opportunity to not only reflect on my heritage but also share and celebrate my culture and experiences with colleagues, family, and friends.”
Sr. Director of Content Supriya Venkatesan:
“As a first-generation immigrant, I am passionate about my roots and culture. This month, and really the pandemic, has made me realize how much connection in all its facets means.
I am more motivated to share this with my 5 year old daughter who was born in the US and who will never experience the life of someone like myself, her mother.
As a young child in my tiny island village I would often go catch fish with my cousins leveraging the giant baggy t-shirts hanging off our bodies as a fishing net. Then my aunt would cook this in coconut milk that she made by hand from the coconut trees sprawling near our home.
Everything we had was from near us, the fish, the spices, the coconuts, the eggs from chicken we raised, the milk from the family cow. Even our multi-generational home was built by hand by all the men in my family. And the clothes I wore were handmade by my aunt.
My daughter wears clothes from Target, loves playing games on her iPad, and is very passionate about McDonald’s happy meals. We live in a standard house that was built by developers. My adult reality is like being on a different planet compared to my childhood, and the norms of Indo-Fijian life.
As a parent I want to ensure my daughter is still connected to her cultural roots and doesn’t forget our ancestral history. I think it’s important for her to be grounded in her family’s past.
This month I started taking sewing lessons and I’m making a dress for my little girl. A few months ago we got a hydroponic system and we are now growing 30 edible plants in our home. I am teaching my daughter that she can eat all foods (including lentil soup) with her hands, and that spoons and forks are a rare commodity on an island.
These are small steps. But we are more deeply connected together, she is more connected to her roots, and connected to the planet. And she shares these things with her friends at school and is a mini-ambassador for Fiji and for creating a sustainable future.”
Sr. Project Manager Norina Jones:
“This month is close to my heart because the Philippines is close to my heart. Honoring my parents and my family is top priority for me and it means a lot that my company supports who I am as a person and my heritage.”
Digital Outreach Specialist Cali Scahill:
“As a Chinese-American adoptee, AAPI month is a crucial time for me to reflect on my cultural identity and celebrate my Chinese heritage and background. Especially given the recent anti-Asian hate crimes, this month is even more important to learn from and support the AAPI community.”
Sr. Digital Content Strategist Saj Hoffman-Hussain:
“As someone whose family hails from the northern frontiers of Pakistan, I am of South Asian (Pushtun) heritage.I grew up in a culture where family is absolutely everything and that you always find a way to overcome societal barriers, and help others on your way up. Having a month that recognizes the diaspora of different types of Asian Americans is a great way to show solidarity and recognize that we are here in the USA, in all our forms.”
Ways to Celebrate
- Learn the history of different AAPI communities
- Read stories by and about people within AAPI communities
- Discuss or listen to the issues facing AAPI communities
- Get involved in anti-asian hate crime advocacy