May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and SWE’s Asian Connections Affinity Group (ACAG) has an outstanding program planned for 2021. This year’s heritage month is more important than ever to show visible support and celebration of this community. Like many of you, I have felt disheartened, saddened, and angered by the irrational and unacceptable hate and violence targeting Asians worldwide since the start of the pandemic. It can be difficult to think how your own individual actions can bring light to such darkness, but I assure you, you can make a difference.
In the “Developing the Mindset for Inclusive Leadership” training that Selena Rezvani created for SWE (now available in the Advance Learning Center), she shared the 4E model for cultivating cultural intelligence: exposure, experience, education, and empathy. SWE’s Affinity Groups not only provide a community for people with similar experiences, but through their activities provide allies resources to practice the 4Es. As a Board sponsor of the ACAG, I have learned so much this year by participating in their events.
This May, let’s actively demonstrate SWE’s core values, particularly Mutual Support and Inclusive Environment, and embrace our SWEople who identify with the Asian Connections Affinity Group by engaging in the fantastic content they have prepared for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. In the words of activist Yuri Kochiyama:
“Life is not what you alone make it. Life is the input of everyone who touched your life and every experience that entered it. We are all part of one another.”