PwC’s Christine del Rosario and Milan Shah on Honoring AAPI Heritage Month by Creating Space To Talk — And Listen

Originally published on LinkedIn.com by Christine del Rosario (PwC’s Assurance Partner) and Milan Shah (PwC’s Assurance Partner). PwC is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.

 

Christine del Rosario, PwC
Christine del Rosario, PwC

Since the 1850s, Asian communities have played a vital role in the history and growth of the United States. However, throughout our history in this country, many have also experienced varying degrees of exclusion and inequity, especially during times of rapidly changing demographics, recession, or war.  It’s an emotional reality that many still live through today as we try to deal with the recent rise of attacks against the Asian community. We feel profound grief when small-business owners return to vandalized shops that support their families and serve as a connection point to our roots. We reflect on the names of those attacked, we see their faces, and we carry immense pain knowing it could be us, someone we know, or those whom we love.

Yet, our different stories also serve as an affirmation of a community that repeatedly rises in the face of hardship. This Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month is much more than an opportunity to celebrate our heritage; it also provides an opportunity for us to come together to help heal our community and spread awareness so that together we can take action and help eliminate the societal racism, violence, and xenophobia we often face.

For this month and beyond, we could use more opportunities to get together with our families,

Milan Shah, PwC

friends, and colleagues. More importantly, creating space for our voices to be heard is an important step to advance positive change. One of the ways our families come together is through potlucks. Each person brings a special dish to share and we talk about what’s going on in our lives, support one another, and enjoy a meal. As Partners at PwC and leaders of our US firm’s Pan Asian Community Inclusion Network, our colleagues are like family to us, and we’ve hosted potlucks at work to connect and learn more about the experiences of those we work with. Although we’ve had to break bread with our PwC family in a virtual setting the past several months during the pandemic, we still cherished the opportunity to come together and be among people we care about. We encourage companies and individuals alike to host virtual potlucks with those from Asian and non-Asian heritage this month and empower those who attend to have candid conversations about the challenges faced by the Asian community and what support from allies can look like.

When allies to the Asian community show their curiosity and openness to learn, meaningful experiences are shared. Allies can recognize holidays and observances celebrated by the Asian community and other communities to continue building a more inclusive environment throughout the year. Invite allies to participate in events to listen and engage in discussions to help develop a well-rounded understanding of the joys and challenges of our community.

We hope you honor and celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month in a way that is meaningful and important to you. This year, let’s celebrate our shared history and also create a space where our voices can be heard and we can share our lived experiences.

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