May 21, 2021 Category: Our Impact Meet Fresh Air

Our Fresh Air Family: Celebrating Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage

During the month of May, The Fresh Air Fund is celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month which recognizes and honors the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture and achievements of the United States.

We invite you to celebrate AAPI culture and traditions with us through food, films, music and books and to learn more about AAPI history and experiences.

Check out and visit some awesome museums!

Visit our resources page for more information.

We asked our Fresh Air Family, “What does AAPI Heritage Month mean to you?”

Kavita Shah – Field Manager, Friendly Towns

I’m grateful that The Fresh Air Fund is taking the time to acknowledge AAPI month. It’s not something I often see celebrated elsewhere but acknowledging it, the recent hate crimes, and the diversity within the Asian American community is so important and a first step in breaking down the stereotypes and misinformation that exists about the AAPI community. I’m excited to celebrate this month with my colleagues and learn about all the different cultures that fall under the AAPI umbrella!

Kevin Wong – Associate Software Engineer

AAPI Month is about bringing awareness, celebrating and educating the world about our culture, history, languages, and nationalities.

Nicole Johnston – Deputy Director of Friendly Towns

AAPI Month is a time for us all to learn more about Asian American and Pacific Islander history and heritage. It is a time for us to celebrate the incredible contributions the Asian American and Pacific Islander populations have made and continue to make, and an opportunity for us to think deeper about how we recognize and appreciate this legacy. This month I celebrate my colleagues, Fresh Air Fund families and children, my friends, fellow New Yorkers, and all individuals who identify as Asian American and Pacific Islander.

Kat Mallari – Development Database Associate

I am very passionate about my Filipino heritage and grew up in an immigrant household. The past year has taught me so much about how much of a difference it makes to be able to find community during a turbulent time. AAPIs have had a long history being subjected to xenophobia and racism which has been exacerbated by COVID-19. Now more than ever, AAPI month to me is a time to not educationalize my experience with racial prejudice and traumas, but rather, choose to uplift the voices of other AAPIs whose work in entertainment, sports, politics, etc has made an imprint on our daily lives; to show that AAPIs aren’t a monolith and that #racismisavirus.

Helen O’Reilly – General Counsel

AAPI month gives me a chance to reflect on the diversity within the AAPI community and to reminisce about my time living in the Philippines back in 2006.  The Filipino people welcomed me so warmly when I was living there alone, and I’ll never forget it. I appreciate this month as a chance to honor my friendships with that community and to highlight the hugely positive impact Filipino people have had on the United States.

Jade Callahan – Support Services Coordinator

To me Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month means a wealth of history to be shared, cultural traditions and cuisine to be acclaimed and acknowledged, and an amazingly diverse and multi-faceted population of individuals to be celebrated!! 

Michael Wong – Community Outreach Associate

AAPI month gives me and other fellow Americans of Asian and Pacific Island descent the opportunity to showcase our rich and vibrant culture. It’s a time of celebration as much as it is a time of reflection on our struggles as marginalized people. I’m proud to have a month dedicated to giving us a voice to demonstrate our contributions as Americans.

Our Commitment to Stop AAPI Hate

In response to the recent hate crimes toward the AAPI community, The Fund issued a statement sharing our commitment to stand with the AAPI community. The Fresh Air Fund will not tolerate racism, hate or inequity and is deeply engaged, committed and connected to the Asian-American community. Almost 30% of the children we serve identify as Asian. The Fresh Air Fund supports the Stop AAPI Hate movement and stands with our AAPI children, families, staff and partners.

Read more about our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Visit our Resource page which includes AAPI educational resources and safety and anti-hate resources.