On being Asian American

I remember one day sitting down with friends at a long, navy blue lunch table, excited to eat the lunch my mom so lovingly packed for me that morning. When I opened the container, though, my giddy anticipation to eat one of my favorite foods was shattered by the verbal disgust from a few white boys seated at the table. Yes, I admit, the smell of pork-shrimp-chive dumplings can be quite powerful. 

As an elementary school student, I was confused and embarrassed by their reaction. In response to this story, my mom told me not to care about what other people think. But compounded over time, little moments like this led to my own rejection of my food and culture for a few years.

Then I realized that being a child of immigrant parents and living a multicultural experience is what gives me strength. It equips me with empathy (a Recharge value), traditional knowledge, connections abroad, perspective, and the best damn homemade pork-shrimp-chive dumplings ever. My heritage is a gift that I no longer take for granted. 

Forming a community

Upon chatting with other Asian colleagues and friends, I learned that being judged for bringing the food we loved to school was a shared experience. For some, it was noodles. For others, it was egg rolls. Being Asian—raised on values, food, and traditions from abroad—sometimes clashes with simultaneously being American, but this balancing act ultimately shapes our identity and experiences.

A small group of us saw an opportunity to protect, lift up, and celebrate Rechargers of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. Thus, we launched our “APAC and Allies” Slack community channel on the first day of the Lunar New Year (February 1 in 2022), accompanied by an incredible dumpling demo presentation that left our audience drooling and wanting more—more authentic and informative cultural experiences.

Creating space & taking up space

Since then, we have been diligently working towards creating a space to connect amongst ourselves and taking up space at Recharge through Zoom events and cultural celebration posts.

Our programming has varied from food-themed social events to profound panelists interviews with our Senior Leadership Team members of Asian descent, a game of trivia involving Mulan lyrics to a communications workshop rooted in improv techniques, and more. We’ve posted and shared about vibrant Indian festivals like Holi, major Islamic holidays like Eid al-Fitr, the gross injustice of Vincent Chin’s murder, and GIFs of homemade zong zi (rice dumplings) for Dragonboat Festival. 

I’m immensely proud of what our scrappy team of six has accomplished in the last eight months, and I’m incredibly excited to announce that we’re just getting started.

The Asian & Pacific Islander at Recharge ERG

Our group has evolved in tandem with Recharge’s DEI initiatives. We are now officially an Employee Resource Group (ERG) to serve the Asian and Pacific Islander population at Recharge. As with all Recharge ERGs, we’re committed to improving the employee experience, making a sound, quantifiable impact on the business, and extending our reach beyond Recharge through volunteering efforts, charity donations, and more.

Our group’s focus is providing a safe and inclusive space for APAC colleagues to share experiences, build awareness of the issues and perspectives that matter to us, foster a sense of belonging, and celebrate the unique cultures, voices, and viewpoints at Recharge. We envision our community as a place where APAC colleagues and allies can bring their authentic selves to work, stand up for and celebrate one another, and create a more just and equitable community.

Recharge, like all companies, has room to improve in regards to DEI, but we’re moving and shaking in the right direction. If you join Recharge, we hope to see you in our APAC Slack channel and future events! APAC or ally, you’re more than welcome.