AAPI Heritage Month: Why We Celebrate

This May, Egnyte celebrated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month for the first time. 

Now, I’m willing to bet that some of you who read that statement are wondering what Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM) is, while others are asking how it's possible that we’re just celebrating now. They’re both fair questions, but they’re also illustrative of the fact that AAPIHM awareness remains a work in progress.

Even though AAPIHM was officially proclaimed in 2009, it only recently garnered broad interest. And that’s not surprising. Whether you are Asian or not, if you grew up in the U.S., you probably didn’t learn about the contributions of Asians to American history and culture in school. 

Thankfully that has started to change, as more Americans today are aware of past misdeeds done to Asians, like the Exclusion Act and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. But what about positive contributions by Asians? For example, did you know that the first settlement of Asians in the U.S. pre-dated the American Revolution? (For a fun read, Google the Manila Men of St. Malo who settled in Louisiana in the 1600s.)

It’s never too late to honor and celebrate the contributions Asians and Pacific Islanders have made to the history, culture, and achievements of this country, so here at Egnyte, we’re taking our first steps to collectively raise more awareness about AAPIHM.

AAPIHM at Egnyte

To kick off the very first AAPIHM at Egnyte, we launched Asians at Egnyte. The employee resource group (ERG) represents the interests and amplifies the voices, stories, and achievements of Asian Egnyters worldwide. It's early days for Asians at Egnyte; we have an ambitious goal to be the most inclusive ERG at Egnyte so we are focused on building and nurturing a community of Asians and allies and creating a network of support and mentorship. 

We have so much to learn from each other that spans both culture and experience, so employees took the time this month to start that process. On May 19, we tested our collective knowledge of AAPI pop culture and trivia. Asians at Egnyte also developed a handy resource guide featuring some of our favorite books and movies, as well as links to support organizations benefiting the AAPI community. We also curated a Spotify playlist of some of the best music out there from AAPI artists. 

And since food is always a great gateway to exploring culture and identity, Asians at Egnyte is developing a cookbook featuring some of our favorite recipes. Some of the recipes come straight from the hearts and kitchens of our mothers and grandmothers. Others celebrate the food experiences we had enjoying take-out from the only Chinese restaurant in town. 

Giving back is very much a part of who we are as a company. As part of Egnyte’s Charity of the Month program, Egnyte will  contribute $1,000 to Stop AAPI Hate, a nonprofit organization that runs the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center, which tracks incidents of hate and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. 

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month has come to a close, but our celebration together is far from over. This is just the start, and I can’t wait to see what employees across Egnyte can do to build on the momentum we started this month.

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