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We are proud to recognize the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. As we continue to see attacks and gun violence affect communities across our nation, it’s more important than ever to create safe and joyful spaces for folks to be together, support one another, and celebrate cultural traditions.  

Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest’s AAPI Employee Resource Group (ERG) was established in 2021, has over twenty members, and is co-led by staff members Shelby, Jordan, and Kat. The AAPI ERG’s vision is to empower Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander employees to create an inclusive, diverse, and equitable community at our workplace. Members can bring their authentic selves to work and receive support from one another to reach their fullest potential, while celebrating one another. 

This year for AAPI Heritage month, the ERG prepared a fun, curated calendar of activities for staff hosted by our own ERG and events led by local organizations and businesses such as the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park and the Pacific Islander Festival Association. One newly created activity is Boba in the Park, where members enjoy boba (also known as “bubble tea”) in the sunshine while making meaningful connections.  

Recommendation from Katherine: “If you like coffee, order coffee milk tea with coffee jelly (if it’s an option). If you like a little more sweet, I recommend a taro milk (or if they have a smoothie one), and another favorite is avocado smoothie.”  

Recommendation from Shelby: “My favorite boba drink is the classic – black milk tea (with soy!).” 

We’ll also host a virtual cook-along class. What’s on the menu? “This is still TBD, but I’m thinking of making some sort of Filipino soup. Lately I’ve been making arroz caldo, which is similar to porridge with chicken, garlic, ginger, and rice,” Katherine said. 

We also have an educational session on AAPI Health Disparities, and wrap up the month with an interactive bingo game highlighting animated AAPI characters from Studio Ghibli and Disney. 

What are their bingo favorites?  

“Calcifer is my absolute favorite from Studio Ghibli’s Howl’s Moving Castle! He’s so adorable,” Shelby said. 

Jordan seconded that Calcifer is one of her favorites and added, “Mei from turning red is one of my favorites. I like her character because her experience growing up as an Asian American girl is very relatable and I can relate to her struggles with her relationship with her mother.” 


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