April 18th, 2024

A Meaningful Celebration of Heritage

As we enter the month of May, we’re excited to continue our journey of fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion within our organization and in our community. Celebrating the diversity within our staff, board members, and volunteers is a powerful affirmation of our commitment to inclusivity and equity. It signifies that we recognize and value the unique perspectives, talents, and experiences that each individual brings to the table.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Haitian American Heritage Month, and Jewish American Heritage Month. It’s a time for celebration, reflection, and action, as we recognize the importance of embracing our differences and working together towards a more inclusive future. There’s much to learn, honor, and appreciate as we come together as a community to honor the rich tapestry of traditions makes us who we are. We encompass many different cultures, different ancestries, and different identities that we are so very proud of!

We are committed to building bridges across divides, fostering understanding, and creating spaces where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to be their best selves every day. We want to celebrate, honor, and acknowledge Pamela Tan, Board Member, and Gloria Coicou, Chief Equity, Engagement, & Grants Officer.

Pamela Tan shares a bit about her Filipino heritage: “[I celebrate my heritage] primarily through cuisine, which is such an important touchstone for my Filipino family. My husband’s parents immigrated from Ireland and Wales, but I’m proud to share that he makes a Philippine chicken adobo that rivals my mother’s.We asked her to tell us something about her culture/heritage that we may not find on the internet, she says “The Philippine folk dance called tinikling involves two people rhythmically beating and clapping together long bamboo poles on the ground–often speeding up the tempo as the music progresses–while dancers hop between the poles without getting caught. Who doesn’t love dance with a little danger?”

Gloria Coicou shares a bit about her Haitian heritage: “Being Haitian represents everything that I am. How I show up, how I participate, how I lead, and how I work. One special aspect of the Haitian heritage is our revolutionary history. Did you know that Haiti was the first independent nation in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the first black-led republic in the world, achieving independence through a successful slave rebellion against French colonial rule in 1804…that says a lot about who we are as a people. This revolutionary spirit and resilience are deeply ingrained in Haitian culture and identity, we are a proud ‘people’.” We asked Gloria how she celebrates her culture, she says “We love to dance and have the most amazing music. I listen to Haitian music almost every day and teach my son about the instruments played and about our language. I’m so happy that Duo Lingo has added Kreyol as a language to learn.”

Knowledge is key to fostering understanding and empathy. We encourage everyone to learn more about your peers, friends, and colleagues…take part in these conversations and deepen your understanding of the tapestry of our community.