Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebrates the heritage, culture and pays tribute to the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States during the month of May. As we celebrate, we asked Derrick Apigo (he/him/his) and Julie Malaga (she/her/hers), members of our Pan Asian Council (PAC) Business Resource Group (BRG), a few questions about their heritage, what the month means to them and what inspires them to bring their authentic selves to work every day.
What does Asian Pacific American Heritage Month mean to you?
How does the PAC BRG inspire you to bring your authentic self to work?
Julie: Being part of the Pan Asian Council leadership committee has shown me that within CDW, there are people like me, who look like me, who are doing all kinds of really cool things and the experiences that they bring to the company. The other thing that I love about the BRGs is that, to be a member of Pan Asian Council, you don't have to be Asian. You just have to have an interest to contribute and to educate yourself – that makes you the perfect member for the Pan Asian Council and the other BRGs.
Derrick: Being a part of PAC, I'm able to find a sense of belonging as an Asian American in a corporate environment. I get to connect with people who share similar experiences as me and learn about the similarities and differences within our cultures. And within those circles, I'm able to also connect with people from different departments and different levels in the company. I'm able to gain not only a different perspective, but also some sort of mentorship from others as well. These factors have provided me with the confidence and the validation of the value that I provide as a CDW coworker.
What is one thing you'd like others to know about your heritage?
Julie: As part of researching for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month events that the Pan Asian Council is hosting, I did not know that there were 50 Asian countries. I could probably only name 10 of them. And what I want folks to know is that we're all multilayered by our experiences, by our heritage and by our history. I'm actually a combination of Chinese and Filipino and there are more similarities than differences between the two. I realized how important it is to show up for ourselves, the way you want others to show up for us. We have to own that responsibility and that representation really, really matters.
Derrick: We value family more than anything. Blood is thicker than water, so they say. We would rather take care of our grandparents and take them into our own home rather than putting them into a nursing home. That's why it hits a lot harder when we see these unfortunate incidents happening with our elders in the community, because that's just how much we hold our family close to us.
What is your favorite memory being a part of PAC?
– CDW Coworkers