What should we celebrate? — Community members reflect on what they’re proud of during APA Heritage Month

Compiled by Staff
Northwest Asian Weekly

In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the Northwest Asian Weekly asked several community members what achievements they were proud of and how they celebrated during heritage month. Their answers are included below.

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/32_22/api_victoria.jpgVictoria Ju
Executive Director, Kollaboration Seattle

“API Heritage Month offers a great opportunity to celebrate and bring Asian Pacific Islander American artists and entertainers to the forefront in media and performances. In addition to that, I’m grateful that API Heritage Month allows us to truly celebrate all the different ethnicities and cultures within the Asian American community.”

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/32_22/api_johanna.jpgJohanna Martinez
Real Estate Broker, Warring Properties

“I celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month by sharing the little things that showcase my heritage to my friends and family; from buying and sharing the sweet mangoes I bought at the Asian market, to showing my friends the entertaining YouTube videos made by Asian artists like Wong Fu Productions and Just Kidding Films.”

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/32_22/api_terry.jpgTerry Mark
Deputy Director, King County Department of Health and Human Services

“Earlier this month, my husband Benson Wong and I were pleased to join many others in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the founding of International Community Health Services (ICHS) at their 2013 gala, appropriately timed during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The gala not only celebrated the work of this extraordinary agency, but also included recognition of Dr. Joseph Saitta … and Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS), which, like ICHS has a long history of serving the needs of the API community since the early 1970s.

This work becomes even more important in the coming months. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, an estimated 180,000 King County residents will become eligible for subsidized health insurance or Medicaid in 2014. The doors to affordable health care will open for many in the API community, and agencies like ICHS and ACRS will be there to engage, inform, and enroll our neighbors into these critical services. That is certainly cause for celebration.

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/32_22/api_bryan.jpgBryan Dosono
Presidential Scholar, University of Washington

“Having been born and raised in the Yakima Reservation, where the population is only 1 percent Asian, the opportunities to share my Filipino culture with my community were rare. This all changed when I moved to Seattle to study at the University of Washington. As a member of Lambda Phi Epsilon Fraternity at the University of Washington, I enjoy promoting Asian American awareness on campus and through the community by organizing volunteer service events that benefit our local Chinatown and International District. I think it’s important for all APIs to celebrate their heritage because cultural traditions bring families closer together and create stronger communities.”

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/32_22/api_louis.jpgLouis Watanabe
Director, Metropolitan Democratic Club

“We should celebrate our contributions to American life, whether it’s through food, technology, or cultural arts performances. I see how widespread sushi is. The number of entrepreneurs and their progress on technology is amazing. Our cultural arts performances featuring in the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, dance, and other performances are happening right now.”

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/32_22/api_heidi.jpgHeidi Park
President, Japanese American Citizens League

“The API community should be proud of the young leadership that’s emerged within the last few years. We’ve been able to access other community leaders who have ‘been there, done that’ for their mentorship and that’s made all the difference. Anywhere from the field of politics to business, we’ve really managed to grow a good crop of leaders. We’ve learned to support one another, but we can continue to work across generations, so we don’t lose footing in the progress we’ve made.”

Northwest Asian Weekly staff can be contacted at info@nwasianweekly.com.

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