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NEWS | May 3, 2021

“Unity in Diversity” - JBLE celebrates Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

By 1st Lt. Jun Hee Kang 633d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Joint Base Langley-Eustis will celebrate Asian/Pacific American heritage throughout the month of May with a variety of virtual events and discussions.

Asian/Pacific American is a broad term which encompasses those who have a heritage to the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia, the island groups of the Western and Central Pacific such as the Philippines and the Marianas and Hawaii, the 50th U.S. state. While these communities have roots that span the globe, their success stories are uniquely American. Generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have helped develop and defend the United States, often in the face of tremendous racial and cultural prejudice.

To showcase those experiences, JBLE’s Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month Committee will focus on highlighting the community’s contributions to the nation as well as individual perspectives of serving in the military.

This year, there will be seven events, including virtual panel discussions with Chinese American veterans of World War II, members of the Air Force Thunderbirds Team, the first Sikhs to serve in the DoD with authorization to follow their religious dress code.

“Our community has come so far throughout decades of service,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Wesley Chiu, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month Committee lead. “I’m looking forward to celebrating and discussing these issues. It is important to remind people what Asian/Pacific American community has contributed to the nation as we see the recent hate crime attacks on Asian/Pacific American community in New York City and Los Angeles. We hope to remind people that one person cannot accomplish the mission alone, we need each other and we need everyone.”

Other events aimed at increasing cultural awareness will be a themed movie night and a pop-up museum at the Bayview Community Center.

“Despite the diversity, we all wear the same uniform.” said, Chiu. “We are all different and unique in our own capacity and that is what makes our military strong.”