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Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Honoring the API community

Prachi Soni, Log in to subscribe to the Blog

May is celebrated as the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month and we’d like to take a moment to recognize and celebrate the global Asian & Pacific Islander community (people who have origins in the East, Southeast, the Indian subcontinent of Asia, or the Pacific islands). It is a month when the world recognizes the many contributions the API community has made throughout history including but not limited to technology, food, nutrition, and healthcare.

Ever since the idea of celebrating Asian Pacific history was conceptualized in the 1970s, this month and beyond has been dedicated to paying tribute to the past API generations who have enriched the global history as well as celebrating current and future generations. It’s important to amplify all the contributions, the great people who paved the way for us, and those who are making us proud.

As an Asian woman working in North America, I'm privileged to have received a lot of support from my allies and leaders at Pega.

Though many meetings still don't have an Asian woman at the table, I can see a positive change that's coming our way. While I am always thoughtful of how I pronounce certain words and often check on the slang references, I feel that I can still be my authentic self at work each day. The leadership team at Pega always respects and admires the diverse cultures and lived experiences that many other Asian community members and I bring to the organization.

API representation is growing across Pega via diversity-driven hiring efforts, office locations throughout the Asia Pacific, and global representation through our own employee resource group (ERG), Asian@Pega. How we support our own Asian and Pacific Islander community is very important — and we’re focused on ensuring our employees feel supported and heard. Over the past few months, the Asian@Pega ERG has been critical in building a sense of belonging and a safe space for the ERG members like me. We learn from each other, grow together, support our community, be vulnerable, and ask questions about how to thrive in a cross-cultural environment.

I sat down with some members of Pega’s employee resource group (ERG), Asian@Pega, to talk about the importance of API Heritage month and highlight some voices from this community:

What’s the mission for Asian@Pega, and what have you learned from each other as part of this group?

"Our mission is to create a Pega community which empowers and celebrates diverse Asian voices and works together to form a more equitable society. During the last few months, I’ve learned how important it is to have a safe space in which you can speak your mind and share your stories. As a community, there are certain shared experiences that we can empathize with – from anti-Asian hate, to microaggressions at work, to struggles to be seen and heard. It’s important that we learn from these collective experiences – to empower ourselves to bring our true and authentic selves to work, to arm ourselves with the tools to appropriately respond to prejudice, and to take control of our own career paths. Not to mention, I just need a space to geek about the newest Asian-led movie everyone should watch (Everything Everywhere All At Once, anyone?)."

Justin An Sr. Brand Specialist – Messaging Strategy, Communications Lead , Asian@Pega

How do you think the Asian@Pega ERG is building a community for the Asian & Pacific Islanders at Pega?

"These past few months, we’ve been working on building inclusive spaces for APIs and allies to connect, listen, and share experiences, as well as support each other in our professional and personal lives. Through collaborative efforts, we have facilitated meaningful discussions in the workplace regarding the API experience, emphasizing how these lessons are crucial in providing a sense of belonging and support at Pega and at home. Our ERG’s goals are to celebrate history, honor the diversity of different Asian cultures, have fun, elevate API voices, and make an impact within our Pega community. In addition to our recent successes, we are planning to build on these goals through celebratory events, group fitness classes, communication pieces, and panels highlighting diverse, positive voices, and the challenges faced by the API community."

Riva Dhamala UX Product Designer, Social Impact Lead (US), Asian@Pega

How can people take part in API Heritage month?

Information is everywhere, so take the time to see what and who is out there as a resource. It doesn’t matter how much or little you know – ask questions! Whether it be to a family member, friend, or Google – initiate those conversations to learn about API history, hear personal stories, or be directed to additional sources to start your own educational journey.

As the Asian@Pega ERG grows along with all the other ERGs , we will continue building up a company that supports and empowers a diverse culture, inside and out. Although it is wonderful to have one month dedicated to the API community, we should be celebrating their contributions (and those of other racialized communities) year-round.

Here are five ways you can celebrate and amplify API heritage every day:

  1. Take time on your own to learn about the API community, learn about the culture and history.
  2. Empower yourself by signing up to be allies to those who are part of the API community.
  3. Understand & lend out hand in whatever ways you can – a simple thing like supporting API creators & small businesses goes long way
  4. Donate for the API organizations that are supporting the community for change on DEED.
  5. And last but not the least if you see or hear something that is unkind or racist, step in and say something

At Pega, diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging are core to who we are and key to our continued success and growth. Everything we do is because of our talented, passionate, and brilliant global team members. Our hiring practices and values are focused on building an inclusive and equitable workforce because that’s where creativity and innovation emerge. Through API representation and allyship, we continuously strive to build an organization that empowers each team member, whether at work or out in the world.

Check out these other blog posts to learn more about some of the ERG groups at Pega:

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

We're breaking barriers and amplifying voices. Because, at Pega, you belong.

Learn more

Impact at Pega

In a changing world, we remain focused on what really matters.

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About the Author

About the author: As Pega’s Global Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Program Manager, Prachi Soni is activating the inclusion dialogue & building diverse culture at Pega.