Lower Colorado Region Hosts Festive Asian American and Pacific-Islander Heritage Ceremony
Written by: Douglas Hendrix
Ms. Gerri Schroeder (Left), City Council Woman for the City of Henderson, Nevada, and Salve Vargas Edelman (right), Executive Director of the Rising Asian Pacific Americans Coalitions for Diversity Center.With a core focus on unity and inclusion, on Wednesday, May 16, the Lower Colorado Regional Office (LCRO) observed Asian American and Pacific-Islander (AAPI) Heritage month by hosting a special emphasis celebration and luncheon at the Regional Office in Boulder City, Nevada.
This year’s event – which was themed “Unite Our Vision by Working Together” – attracted nearly 100 employees to participate in an Asian-themed luncheon, cultural celebration and festive dance demonstration, held in the Multi-Species Conference Room at the Regional Office complex.
The event, coordinated by staff from the LCRO’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Office and members of the local chapter of the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) was observed to learn more about the cultural traditions and unique life experiences represented by the more than 56 ethnic groups (speaking over 100 languages) from Asia and the Pacific Islands who live and work in the United States.
Deputy Regional Director Jaci Gould provided a welcome to attendees during which she noted that “special emphasis programs improve our working environments by promoting and fostering diversity in the workplace and by educating employees to appreciate, value, and celebrate each of our social and cultural similarities and differences.”
Festive Luncheon Features Local Asian Dignitaries, Festive Diversity Dance Demonstrations and Traditional Asian Cuisine
Keynote remarks by an Asian city official from Henderson, Nevada, dance demonstrations by local diversity troupes and a potluck featuring traditional Asian and Polynesian cuisines were key components of this year’s AAPI celebration.
The keynote speaker was Ms. Gerri Schroder, who currently serves as a Councilwoman for the Henderson City Council. Active in civic affairs, Councilwoman Schroder who currently serves on the board of directors of the Japan America Society of Nevada, encouraged Federal workers to reach out to the Asian community, and noted that it’s important to convey to these groups that they get their voices heard in matters of civic and political affairs. “It’s vitally important to convey to these groups that they have a seat at the table within our governmental structures and that their essential skills are needed for making sound public policy decisions that accurately affects their ethnic group’s living conditions and working environments,” said Schroeder.
The AAPI heritage celebration also showcased an array of high-energy ethnic dance routines and traditional clothing.
Salve Vargas Edelman, of Philippines decent, introduced an ensemble of Rising Asian Pacific Americans Coalition for Diversity Dance groups who performed an assortment of Hawaiian hula, Philippine, Polynesian and Japanese Geisha-style interpretive dance routines to the delight of the attendees.
Interpretive dance routines performed by the Diversity Dance group from Las Vegas included a traditional Philippine style dancing routine, a performance by the Tendo Bai Koki Cultural Dance Group who demonstrated Japanese Geisha-style dancing complete with traditional kimono costumes and fans, a “Heart of Polynesia” Tahiti-style dance routine performed by a group of young Samoan dancers and Hawaiian Hula style dancing exhibition performed by a group of senior-aged (60+ years old) dancers that was choreographed by Crystal Morgan, a local dance instructor.
Following the festive dance routines, the invited guests and regional employees were treated to a potluck luncheon and best dish contest featuring traditional Asian and Polynesian cuisine, including: Kalua style-pork, Chicken katsu, Huli-Huli chicken, Island-style fried rice, chicken curry (Thailand style), Leche flan, Sinigang and Samoan coconut cookies and a host of other traditional specialties.
Planning and Support for the AAPI Heritage Event
To get the ball rolling for planning and hosting of this years’ AAPI cultural celebration at the Regional Office; the Region’s EEO Office benefited from the generous support and guidance from numerous internal employees who are all active members of FAPAC. Anh Rhodes, Gil Cristobal, Maria Romasanta, Milly Okamura, Patrick Jacobs and Yvette Scott-Butler were all instrumental in reaching out to and inviting the local AAPI dignitaries and dancers who participated in the event.
FAPAC – founded in 1985 – is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing the civilian and military Asian Pacific American employees in the Federal and District of Columbia governments. FAPAC serves as a conduit through which the interests, issues and representation of Asian Pacific Americans in the Federal, State, County, City and District of Columbia governments are addressed.
Pictured are the trio Japanese Geisha-style dancers adorned with traditional kimono costumes and fans. Photograph provided by Jamel Carry, Photographer with the Lower Colorado Regional Office.
Pictured are the trio Samoan dancers who performed at the event and were adorned with traditional Island costumes. Photograph provided by Jamel Carry, Photographer with the Lower Colorado Regional Office.
Pictured are Yvette Scott-Butler, EEO Specialist with the Lower Colorado Region and Gil Cristobal, Program Support Assistant with the LCR’s MSCP Program, who served as two of the principal planners and sponsors of the AAPI Heritage Ceremony. Photograph provided by Jamel Carry, Photographer with the Lower Colorado Regional Office.
Published on June 28, 2018