“AAPI Heritage month recognizes that Asian people have been essential to creating the United States and have long been part of American history.” -Evelyn Wan, YPTC Staff Accountant
In honor of Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, YPTC’s Equity Committee sat down with Evelyn Wan, Staff Accountant, from our Central New Jersey office, to learn more about what this month means to her.
YPTC: What does AAPI Heritage Month mean to you?
Evelyn: The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese person to the United States and the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad. Most of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants. AAPI Heritage month recognizes that Asian people have been essential to creating the United States and have long been part of American history. But my ancestors were not the ones who helped build the railroad or sailed on the Mayflower to this country. To my children and grandchildren, I am their ancestor who flew on a Korean airlines plane from Hong Kong to study college in New York City 35 years ago.
America is where I call home now because I have lived most of my life in this country. It’s important for me to pass on my Chinese tradition and culture to my children and grandchildren or even to my friends and co-workers. Why do we eat dumplings? Why do we celebrate Chinese New Year or Mid-Autumn Festival? AAPI month reminds us that one important way to understand and learn about a person from another country is to learn about their heritage. We can do this even by trying other cultures’ good food and celebrating their traditions, which is always a plus.
YPTC: How has your heritage shaped the person you are today?
Evelyn: People in Hong Kong are very hard-working, and most of them have a strong work ethic. Those characteristics have been instilled in my blood since I was little. I have inherited them from seeing my parents and my relatives strive to support their families and children. My dad was a taxi driver working 10 to 12 hours a day, and my mom worked at a denim factory until dinner time. Chinese people have a saying: you would never starve if you had two hands.
Our culture has also shaped us to be very family-oriented; we get together for birthdays, weddings, and holidays. We gather to make and eat all sorts of Chinese dishes, and these are the traditions I have passed on to my children. And I hope they will remember to pass them on to their children, especially the secret family recipe for making dumplings!
To learn more about Asian Pacific Islander Heritage month, visit https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/asian-american-pacific-islander-heritage-month.
YPTC’s Equity Committee, formed in 2020, amplifies the causes and work of YPTC clients, supports YPTC’s Culture of Equity where differences are valued, and ensures equitable practices within the company.