Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is a good time to reflect on what it means to be Asian Pacific American. Our community is one of the most diverse minority groups in the United States and is made up of families that have been here for generations and those that have just arrived. Despite our differences, however, there are things that unite us and that we should continue to work towards.
1. Embracing diversity.
Our community is made up of dozens of ethnic groups with different experiences, but community is important to each one. Extend a friendly hand to your neighbors and co-workers whether they’re Asian, white, Black, Hispanic, or whatever else. Invite them to eat with you at work, to learn a little about your heritage and learn a little about theirs. Fostering diversity is one of the most important things we can do to ensure a better future.
2. Being proud of your heritage.
The term “Asian Pacific American” acknowledges that we belong to two worlds; that we are Asian and Pacific Islanders, as well as Americans. It’s important that we keep our heritage close to our hearts and our identity alive, while also embracing America.
3. Speaking up when you need to.
A part of being American is having the opportunity to work in a fair environment to build your dream. This means that if someone is treating you unfairly, maybe even discriminating against you, it is important to speak up. The work you do to ensure fairness now will make the world better for everyone who comes afterwards.
4. Helping our community members find their passion.
Very often, parents push their children to follow a career path that is safe and high paying, but it’s important to remember that happiness is most easily found in one’s passion. If your friend or relative has found a passion, whether it’s dentistry, acting, civil service, or art, don’t be afraid to support them — Asian Americans today don’t have many roles models in media or politics and this is one of the reasons why.
5. Giving back.
Having a strong community that can take care of its young and old alike has always been important to Asian and Pacific Americans. Whether you can donate time, money, or expertise, anything you can give back to the community will help strengthen it and help produce more success and more triumph.
6. Getting politically involved.
There are now more Asian Americans in all levels of government than ever. History has shown us that we need representatives in the government to make our voices heard and to prevent tragedies such as internment camps of World War II. Get involved however you can, whether that’s just making sure you vote, volunteering for a campaign, or even running for office yourself.
7. Connecting with your community.
We can accomplish much more together than we can apart and we have much more in common than most realize. The most important thing about being Asian Pacific American is that we all belong to a community and that we all help each other. Whether you’re from Korea, China, Laos, or born in the United States, we are all Asian Pacific Americans and we’re making this journey together. (end)