Editor’s Note: May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. The month celebrates all Asians and Pacific Islanders (think the island chains of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia) and became law in 1992. As with many months celebrating the ethnic heritage that creates the United States, our country’s history with Asian and Pacific Islander Americans is complex. We encourage you to learn more about the fastest growing US demographic.
At RPG, our core cultural building blocks are authenticity, belonging and compassion. But, without a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, these are just words. Our friends at The Diversity Movement remind us, “when companies downplay demographic differences, they actually increase underrepresented employees’ perception of bias from white colleagues and reduce engagement at work.”
As part of recognizing and celebrating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), we celebrate Racer Lynne Chen, and all that the month of observation means to her.
What motivates you?
I am driven by the opportunity to make a positive difference in the world and in other people’s lives. Getting the chance to contribute to the communities around me in meaningful ways drives me to work harder and seek new ways to affect positive change.
I am also motivated by the opportunity to always learn new things and expand my perspective. I firmly believe that broadening your horizons by traveling or even listening to people’s stories can help make you a more empathetic and understanding person.
Who has served as an inspiration in your life?
My parents have always served as one of the biggest inspirations in my life. I was raised in a small town where Asian people comprised less than one percent of the population.
Growing up, my parents always made an effort to ensure that I would gain exposure to and appreciate my heritage and culture, no matter how difficult it was for them to teach me these things in a place where not a lot of people looked like us. They took the initiative to make sure that I would be able to speak fluent Chinese, learn their traditions, and visit my family in Taiwan.
Through their guidance and unwavering support, my parents taught me a lot about the value of perseverance in the face of adversity. Their unwavering dedication and sacrifices have played a pivotal role in shaping my identity and strengthening my commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity. Additionally, their journey and the challenges that they have overcome inspires me to pursue my goals and help others.
What book do you think everyone should read?
Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata. Set in the 1950s, Kira-Kira is about a Japanese American family navigating the challenges of moving to a small southern town and dealing with the illness of a family member. The story mainly focuses on the relationship between two close sisters. This book had a huge impact on me growing up. It’s a beautiful and moving story that I highly recommend reading.
What does Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month mean to you?
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month is important because it recognizes the accomplishments, histories, and cultures of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) individuals and communities. These are often overlooked or marginalized.
As a Taiwanese American, I am proud to celebrate APAHM and the rich and diverse heritage of the AAPI community. I also believe that setting aside time to learn about the AAPI community is essential to better understanding the struggles the community has faced and continues to face today.
Deepening one’s knowledge and understanding of the AAPI community plays a key role in combating stereotypes and discrimination. Additionally, learning more about different communities helps encourage dialogue, promote understanding, and foster inclusivity, all of which aligns with my personal values.