Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the diverse cultures, traditions, backgrounds and languages within the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, along with acknowledging their contributions to the United States throughout our history.
In honor of this celebratory month, follow along as some of TBI's employees talk about what this AAPI Heritage Month means to them and how they are honoring different cultures in their everyday life. Today, we feature TBI's Support Manager - Orders, Justine Jackson.
What is your role at TBI and how long have you been with the organization?
I am a Support Manager for TBI’s orders team on the channel side. I have been with TBI since October 2017.
May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. What does this month mean to you?
Most people don’t know that I was raised by a Japanese father. He was a 1st generation American, and my grandfather emigrated to the states as a young man and served in WWII after he was interned in a prison camp. I have been immersed in this culture my whole life, joining my grandmother every summer to dance and celebrate our ancestors at the Obon Festival. AAPI month is important to me because it spotlights the achievements and cultural practices of Asian-American and Pacific Islanders, such as those practiced by my own family.
How have your culture and heritage played a role in your experiences at TBI?
I have been able to use Yammer to spotlight AAPI Heritage month, which is in May. The month of May was chosen because it commemorates the immigration of the first Japanese people to the United States on May 7, 1843. It is also a significant month because it recognizes Golden Spike Day, May 10, 1869, which marks the completion of the transcontinental railroad that was built with significant contributions from Chinese workers.
Why do you think it’s important to celebrate the different backgrounds of individuals?
It is so important to realize that your cultural experiences and traditions are not any more valuable than another’s. Regular exposure to the different foods, traditions, celebrations, art, and media in other cultures are what creates the bridge toward ending racism. It is hard to hate someone you appreciate and respect. The homogenization of Anglo-European culture in America has effectively “white-washed’ our nation and many who have emigrated to the states have abandoned their culture to assimilate. The fight is ongoing to have representation of Asian Americans in the media, in a manner where they are not stereotyped. The more we celebrate different cultures and heritage, the more we can see just how rich and colorful our wonderful melting pot of a Nation truly is.
How does TBI promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
Being an Executive member of the Resonate Committee, where we openly share and discuss culture and heritage, has been one of my greatest joys, professionally. Prior to TBI, I have never had an employer who offers the ability to meet once a month to discuss important current events related to inclusivity and diversity, which also provides a space for its members to share their own experiences. I have the privilege of listening to my peers and their experiences and have shared my own. The small things, like a once-a-month meeting to share and discuss our culture and heritage, has given me insight from a firsthand perspective into the lives of others from varying backgrounds and has greatly enriched my life in a personal and professional manner.
Connect with Justine on LinkedIn and learn more about how you can celebrate Asian-American and Pacific Islander Month by visiting the official holiday website.