The month of May marks Asian Pacific American Heritage month. As it comes to a close, we asked Alaska Airlines employees what this month means to them and how they have been celebrating in quarantine or during a lunch break.
“This month is a very special time where we get the chance to share our culture with the rest of the world. Tonga is known for being the friendliest island and so I’d like to keep that spirit alive whether I’m at work, home or out running errands. Be a light wherever you go.” — Ila Langi, a customer service agent in San Jose California
“This month has become a little more meaningful to me than it has in the past because I have finally taken initiative the past couple months to expand more on what I know of my culture. Especially being married to my husband, who knows the language and culture almost so fluently, he has helped me so much. He’s so encouraging and he makes it so enjoyable to learn and love our culture!” — Angelica Mapa, a customer service agent in San Jose California “Every day, I always try to make it a habit to pass on my knowledge to the younger generation in my family by trying to speak as much Tongan in the home and teach them traditions that we still hold on to today. At work, I always try to answer questions about my culture and heritage to anyone that asks. I always admire my coworkers who openly share what traditional foods they love to make or traditional events they keep up with their family because it also encourages me to share mine as well. It’s always a safe place to share about our heritage at work because no one judges,” she said.
Watch Ila & Angelica take over TikTok to celebrate API Month:
“This month means so much to me because not only does API month highlight my culture, it allows me to honor the generations before me that have paved the way for me, by their sacrifices and hard work. I am so blessed to have grown up in a multilingual household, and speaking multiple languages helps me stay connected to my heritage.” — Daniel Remigio, Seattle-based flight attendant
Watch Daniel & other Alaska employees hula to honor API Month
“When most people think of Polynesians, they usually think of song and dance, and rightfully so, as it is the root of our culture. Dating back thousands of years, singing and dancing has been an ancient tradition used to communicate and connect, from ceremonial rituals to preparing for war to reciting history through storytelling and more. And although hula might be one of the first types of dance that comes to mind, there are actually many forms of ancient melodic traditions from around the South Pacific, like Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, Fiji and Tahiti. But no matter which island or country, we all share that same heartbeat of Polynesia through dance.” — Shanyn Wright, multimedia communications specialist