May marks Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI Month) — a time to recognize and honor the generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have enriched our history and culture.
Bellevue LifeSpring Board Member Julie Cheng Bui shared what AAPI month means to her and her work with Bellevue LifeSpring’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.
What’s your heritage, and what does AAPI Month mean to you personally?
“I identify as Asian American, more specifically as Chinese-American. Growing up in San Francisco, which has a very large Asian population, I mostly took AAPI Heritage Month for granted. Now, though, with kids of my own, it’s a reminder for me to pause in my daily and weekly activities and be more intentional about learning and sharing our heritage with them. AAPI Heritage Month is also a time to more mindfully connect with our local Asian American communities.”
This year’s AAPI Month theme is “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration.” You’re a Bellevue LifeSpring Board Member who helped start and lead our D.E.I committee this past year. Why did you decide to take on this role, and what has this role meant to you as an Asian American?
“Inclusion has always been a core personal value for me, from not participating in cliquey behavior in school to getting a degree in Hospitality Management, which focuses on making everyone feel welcome. When Bellevue LifeSpring identified DEI as an organizational priority, I naturally gravitated to the opportunity to help lead the effort.
“Although I was terrified to step into a more visible leadership role within Bellevue LifeSpring, my passion and belief in the importance of this work were greater than my fear. As an Asian American female, I’m proud to bring my perspective and experiences to this role, which are informed by my intersectionalities.
“Equally, I’m grateful to have the strong support and partnership of Bellevue LifeSpring leadership, board members, and staff in doing this work. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging affect everyone, regardless of who or what you are, and I’m honored to be part of our organization’s intentional efforts in this space.”
Why do you think it’s important to support Bellevue’s Asian American students in becoming leaders in our community?
“I think it’s important to support Asian American students in their leadership efforts so that we increase the overall number of Asian American leaders in our community. Representation matters — seeing Asian American leaders will show younger Asian Americans that their voice matters and will encourage them to take on leadership roles. I think it’s also important to honor and champion all different kinds of leadership styles. Everyone’s lived experiences and perspectives are different, and embracing those differences in our leaders makes our community stronger and more accessible.”
Thank you, Julie, for sharing!