Asian Pacific American Month 2021: Employee Highlights
Lamar Johnson Collaborative
Kay (Guo) Maschek
Senior Director of Design Strategy,
Consolidated Distribution Company
Lamar Johnson Collaborative
Asian American heritage to me is about the story of immigration and struggles and hope of many individuals like me that left home, family, and community to start a new journey as an American. It’s a story of adversity, and overcoming obstacles to make impactful contributions to the American story. A story filled with color, flavor, and community building and establishing a wide network of roots that help define the American experience.
– Kapil Khanna
I greatly appreciate the opportunity to express my thoughts on Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, especially in this time of increased animosity towards Asian Americans across the country. As a first generation immigrant, I chose to leave my home, my family, my history - for the opportunity to learn and grow in what people consider the land of opportunity, the United States. My parents didn’t urge me to do so, rather they were against it. They were industry leading architects in China and wanted me to stay. However, as we all must choose our paths in life, I chose to come to the US and be part of what so many other people from other cultures around the world have built together.
I am extremely proud of my Chinese culture, which goes back over 5,000 years, and try to carry that culture with me throughout life. At the same time, I am proud of my choice to come to, and become a citizen of, the US. In the over 30 years I have been here, I have grown personally and professionally – and hopefully, contributed in my own little way to the continuously evolving and progressing American culture. Throughout US history, the daily journey for immigrants has not always been easy – and the same has been true for my personal experience. However, I have been fortunate to work for a company that is an advocate of equality and diversity, and I have great colleagues and friends along my path and they make me stronger – and we all grow together.
– Kay Maschek
I grew up in Cambodia with a big family. Cambodia is beautiful, but it was in political turmoil and made raising a family unsafe. Because of that, my parents had to get us out. It took years and due to financial strain, we weren’t able to immigrate to the U.S. together. We spent years apart before we were able to reunite.
My dad worked every day until we were on our feet. Throughout this transition, he never complained.
Growing up in the U.S. as a 1st-generation Asian American, being different was a given. It took me years to realize that being an Asian American is something to be proud of. I have two rich cultures and two unique perspectives.
Because of my parents sacrifice and hard work, I was given opportunities I would have never experienced. I’m proud to say I was the 1st person in my family to graduate from college and my family was able to create a successful family business. AAPIH Month is a reminder that I am proud of where I came from and who I have become. It’s a reminder of how much my parents sacrificed to give us a chance to live the American dream.
– Lyna Yi
As a second-generation Asian American, I owe everything to my parents for emigrating from the Philippines to a small town in America where there were only a handful of Asian families and a couple of cultural associations at the time. Experiencing the language, food, and traditions in those get-togethers is what shaped my identity and sense of pride, before I even knew that there was a Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week or an AAPI Heritage Month.
However, it is because of the awareness of this month that I have come to realize the deeper struggles that generations of Asian immigrants have endured and that the freedoms people like me enjoy are due to the countless lives, organizations, and movements that have fought for those ideals and reminded us of the value and the richness of those cultures. By passing along that sense of pride and history to my own children, I hope to help build a stronger and more understanding tomorrow.
– Christopher Ching