API Panel with eight Mozillians

Asian Pacific Heritage Month, and Beyond

By Julie Hollek, Leslie Gray, Rowe Hoffer and Su-Young Hong

Each May, many in the U.S. recognize Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. And given that Mozilla is an international company, one of our key goals was to extend this recognition globally and celebrate the many diverse cultures of Asian and Pacific Islanders.

With this in mind, a subcommittee formed with a goal to make space for and acknowledge the breadth of experiences across Asia and the Pacific Islands, including:

  • the physical and emotional violence against Asian descent people in the US
  • the impact of the model minority myth
  • the vast variety of experiences across ethnicities within Asia and the Pacific Islands

The intention was to create opportunities for everyone to learn and engage. And, in close partnership with our D&I team, the month took off.

We wanted to discuss issues that impact API Mozillians and began with a gathering of our API community members, spending time getting to know one another and setting some common goals for the newly-formed API Mozilla Resource Group. During our time together, Jainaba Seckan led us in holding space for all  Mozillians to acknowledge and reflect upon anti-Asian and Pacific Islander violence.

We hosted a panel discussion where a group of API Mozillians shared parts of themselves that don’t always appear directly over Zoom during “normal working hours,” but shapes how they approach the world. We talked about some of the fun aspects of heritage and culture as well as what these mean in a work setting. We talked about how the Model Minority Myth impacts us at work and got real about what it takes to gain advancement and acceptance in spaces where APIs are othered.

API Panel with eight Mozillians

We closed out the month with a Q&A with our CEO Mitchell Baker where she reaffirmed Mozilla’s commitment to focus on inclusion and belonging.

And while we wanted to make space to focus on the issues at hand, we also wanted to celebrate the vibrant aspects of our culture through music and art. We were honored to host a music lounge featuring Jessica Louise where we heard her play live music and share her stories about her music, and her Filipino-American heritage.

Our community created a playlist of some of our favorite API musical artists that you can listen to here. We also focused in on the meaning of “API” and created a slack bot that showcased a different piece of art from the incredible collection of the Asian American Art Museum in the #moz-api Slack channel.

And lest we neglect our stomachs….we will not fail to mention the cooking class featuring a Filipino classic dish, chicken adobo (instant pot FTW!).

Energized and encouraged by all that happened, we’re already looking at what’s next. Currently under consideration: a regular API internal water cooler / social meeting leveraging the already-vibrant MozAPI Slack channel; a reading club that centers API-relevant content; a movie/series club; and, other gatherings when the time is right.