In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we’re spotlighting members of our ASPIRE employee resource group (ERG). In this post, Stephanie Wang, Chief Legal Officer at Progress, shares how her culture has shaped her.
Each May, the U.S. celebrates AAPI Heritage Month. It’s a time to recognize and appreciate the contributions of generations of Asians and Pacific Islanders, and to honor the many ways they will continue to enrich communities all over the globe.
This month, we wanted to take some time to spotlight employees who are part of our ASPIRE ERG. Stephanie Wang, Chief Legal Officer at Progress, gave us a glimpse into how her culture has informed her experiences, both past and present. Read more about Stephanie below.
When I was young, I thought of myself as fully American and fully Chinese—I didn't really have a chance to engage with the uniqueness of the Chinese American or Asian-American identities. It was only in college that I started to fully appreciate the amazing diversity of Asian-American heritages and our role in shaping the U.S. and other countries around the world. Being Asian to me means recognizing the depth of our heritages, both in our native cultures and in the countries we are a part of today; it means passing our culture and language onto our children; and it means advocating for our communities and building bridges rather than walls.
Zheng He, China's most famous admiral. He explored and established trade routes throughout Asia, the Middle East and East Africa from 1405-1433, with a fleet of the largest wooden vessels discovered to date. History and culture are often characterized as east versus west, but the truth is that civilizations were not constructed in silos (even in antiquity) and have always been written in explorations and the "silk roads" that connected us.
I dislike the idea that being American means that I am somehow disqualified from being "truly" Chinese (and certainly the reverse is even more offensive, that Asian Americans are perpetually "others."). Most zero-sum choices are fallacies, and a focus on purity or allegiance is often based in prejudice or intellectual laziness. I see my Asian identity as being able to see in two "colors" (two cultures, two ways of thinking) and the privilege of being a translator.
To learn more about Progress’ CSR efforts, visit our Progress for Tomorrow page.
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