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Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month: A Reflection by Roeline “Wee” J. Ramirez T’24

“It’s a time when our voices are acknowledged, our identities celebrated, and our community united”

May 2024 – Celebrated nationally in May, Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month honors Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success. 

Drew University community members are honoring the commemorative month with reflections that celebrate the history, cultural diversity, and challenges of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Roeline “Wee” J. Ramirez T’24

For me, this month is not just about honoring the profound legacy of Asian and Pacific Islander cultures. It’s a time when our voices are acknowledged, our identities celebrated, and our community united. It’s also about embracing our diverse cultures and perspectives and empowering one another to create a better community for all people.

The theme for this year’s Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month is “Advancing Leaders Through Innovation,” according to The Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC). This theme aims to teach people about resilience and innovation and how they can benefit individuals and communities. Many Asian and Pacific Islander community leaders are known for their innovative leadership despite facing challenges such as calamities, colonization, and economic struggles. One such leader is Philip Vera Cruz, a Filipino who moved to America with his family in the 1920’s. While working on a farm under challenging conditions, Vera Cruz and other farm laborers organized strikes to improve the rights and conditions of the workers. They fought for better salaries, medical care, retirement funds, and safe working conditions. From being an immigrant and working in grueling farm conditions, Philip Vera Cruz became a national labor leader for farm workers in the U.S. and the Philippines.

Filipinos are renowned for their hospitality, resilience, hard work, and optimism. As a Filipina and a female minister serving a multicultural congregation, I am committed to embodying these values. I will strive to open the church’s doors to all people, lead with courage in the face of challenges, work diligently alongside the community, and remain hopeful in our efforts to create a better and more inclusive community for God’s glory.

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