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Building leadership by embracing cultural values

By Pfc. Brendan Roethel | | May 9, 2013


President Jimmy Carter designated the annual celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Week, in October 1978. Twelve years later, President George H. W. Bush signed an extension designating May 1990 as the first AAPI Heritage Month, May 7, 1990, changing the observance from a week to a month.

The AAPI Heritage Month is observed throughout the month of May and will be culminated with an observation at the auditorium aboard Naval Hospital Beaufort, May 30.

The theme for this year’s AAPI Heritage Month is building leadership, embracing cultural values and inclusion, said Gunnery Sgt. Tamara McMillan, the equal opportunity representative for Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. The event will consist of a fashion show displaying different garments worn in different cultures, dancing, a speaker, and several other performances all while authentic Asian food is served.

The volunteers are of all races and they are committed to making this a great event, said McMillan. The celebration is open to all service members and their families within the Tri-Command and civilians from the surrounding community, regardless of their race.

This month is important because America is a melting pot, and the only way to improve as a nation is by building understanding, said Cpl. Jun Lin, a supply shipping clerk for MALS-31.

"I know where I’m from, I’m an American from New York," said Pfc. Michael Dou, a supply aviation clerk for MALS-31. "It’s important though to remember and know your heritage and the accomplishments of your ancestors."

The month of May was selected to be Asian American and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month to commemorate both the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.

These observances are conducted to recognize the continuous achievements of all Americans to American culture, said McMillan. They increase awareness, mutual respect, and understanding to enhance harmony, cross-cultural and cross-gender awareness, between military members, their families and the civilian work force. Volunteers are being solicited to dance for the event and will be taught the dance moves before performing.

If interested call McMillan at 228-7936 or Cynthia Golson at 228-2647.