Join us as we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with stories from our very own team members.
“May is a month where two celebrations near to my heart come together: Mother’s Day and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
I am proud to be the product of strong Korean women who took amazing life risks for their family. My grandmother was widowed when my Mother was one, leaving her to remake her life so she could support herself and her daughter. And I am in awe of my brave mother who took the leap to leave Korea with my father when I was only two, embarking on a new, unknown life in the U.S.
My Korean heritage and my experiences as an immigrant are so central to who I am, but probably not so different from so many Asian Americans who feel the cultural ties to their Asian heritage and the powerful force of being American, many of us currently fighting to be seen and appreciated as American.
Now more than ever, it is important to pay tribute to the many mothers and elders of the Asian American community, who have sacrificed so much for three generations who come after them. My hope is that in this country, we can all find a way to be proud of our unique heritage and to embrace unity, not hate or fear.
This May, join us as we recognize the beauty and strength of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community through creative projects, spotlights on AAPI artisans, makers and the Paper Source community. Please read further to enjoy their stories.”
– Winnie Park, CEO of Paper Source
“I am a Chinese American, a daughter of refugee immigrants, and I am so proud to be able to celebrate who I am and where I come from this month. As a first generation Chinese American, I was born into a life that my parents built from scratch. My grandmother used all her savings to help my father escape from Vietnam in the late 70s to seek refuge in America. He arrived in a country where the language, people and culture was foreign to him, but yet he was determined to adapt and set a foundation for his family to thrive in. My parent’s path to where they are today wasn’t always easy, and being able to uproot themselves from a place they called home and move to a foreign place is something I cannot fathom of doing myself, but it makes me so proud to know their story, the steps they took, and that they came to America and brought all the traditions, values, and our culture with them. They have always instilled in me the importance of our culture and to not lose sight of or be embarrassed by our identity. Today, it’s important for me to carry on and share my culture, traditions and history with others.
The picture you see is from my tea ceremony. The Tea Ceremony is an important event in a Chinese Wedding, it represents a formal introduction of the bride and the groom to their families and demonstrates respect to their elders.”
– Susan Chiem, Allocations Analyst at Paper Source
“My great aunt immigrated to the United States in 1970, her husband was invited to Sacramento, CA to help open a Thai restaurant and she got a job in housekeeping. As I grew up, each year in December they would come back to visit our family in Thailand and we would have a large family reunion to celebrate Christmas together.
Through the years, the stories from my great aunt about her life, her struggles with English, and all the hard work she did to support her family was inspirational to me. After graduating from college in 2004, I decided to immigrate to the United States so I joined the Au Pair program and spent two years living with an american family in New Hampshire. With this experience I had living in the United States, it reminded me about my great aunts stories and her advice over the years. Though she passed away last year, I still keep in close contact with her family in California. Following in her footsteps, I am so proud to have recently become a US Citizen and part of the AAPI community.”
– Sirinuch Nichols, Shift Supervisor at Paper Source
“My mother immigrated to Canada from the Philippines when she was still a teenager. With no more than a High School diploma, she was offered $100, a job in the garment industry and was promised hope for a better future. My parents built a life from scratch in a country completely foreign to them — raised 3 children and worked extremely hard to provide for our family. It wasn’t until I became an adult, had 3 children of my own and moved my family from Canada to the US, that I realized how difficult my parent’s journey truly was.
Growing up in a diverse city surrounded by others that looked just like me, I took my Asian heritage for granted. With having mixed race children, I believe that I have an even bigger responsibility of educating them on their Filipino culture and teaching them to celebrate their Asian roots. This year, I officially became a US citizen and take so much pride in my family’s story. I encourage my fellow AAPI community to “grow where you are planted” — be proud of where you came from, but more importantly, honor the journey it took to get to where you are.”
– Roxy Schmid, Manager of Customer Experience at Paper Source
All month long and beyond, Paper Source plans to honor the AAPI community and celebrate our own. Check out resources to educate yourself, find limited-time prints and support diverse makers on our Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month guide to celebrate.