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Celebrating Asian American, Asian Canadian and Pacific Islander Heritage: The Force of Jeong

 Kelly's headshot

Kelly S. | Specialist, Inside Product | Ontario, Canada


Originally Published: May 28th, 2024


Can you share a bit about your heritage and what Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month means to you?

As a Korean Canadian, my heritage is a beautiful fusion of Korean traditions and the rich, diverse experiences I've encountered while growing up in Canada. Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Asian Heritage Month in Canada are incredibly meaningful as they provide a special opportunity to honor our past, present and future. It's a time to joyously celebrate the multifaceted contributions of our communities in art, history, science and society, while also acknowledging the remarkable resilience, struggles and triumphs that characterize our journey.


How do you celebrate your culture at home or in the community?

Celebrating culture is like a beautiful tapestry woven with threads of traditions, memories and shared experiences. For me, the best way to celebrate my culture has been to give back and support the community. It’s a beautiful way to honor our heritage and plant seeds of kindness. Every small act of kindness matters and has great impact on the community. Kindness helps break down barriers, build bridges and inspire change while creating waves of positivity.

What aspects of your culture do you wish people were more aware of or understood better?

One aspect of Korean culture that I wish people understood better is the concept of “Jeong”(정)." Jeong is a deep emotional bond or connection that exists between people that encompasses loyalty, compassion, love and a sense of shared fate. It’s the warmth you feel, and you can see it every day in relationships, food, workplaces, literature, art, etc. Jeong isn’t easily translated; it’s more like a feeling or a force you feel. So, next time you encounter a Korean friend or experience a moment of connection, remember Jeong. It’s more than just a word – it’s a beautiful expression of humanity ❤️.

An old photo of a woman with a child at a table full of food.
Kelly poses in front of a wooden door.

How has your involvement in the Asians in Action Employee Resource Group (AiA ERG) shaped your perspective on the importance of allyship and collaboration across different backgrounds and identities?

My involvement in Asians in Action has shown me that allyship is not just about sitting on the sidelines. It's about making a deliberate effort to understand, support and advocate for one another. By being an ally and advocate, I’ve come to understand that collaboration is not about assimilation; it’s about amplifying voices. We’re able to provide platforms for underrepresented voices and uplift narratives that often go unheard. In AiA, we collaborate with various non-profit organizations in the community, such as the Native Women’s Resource Centre, where we have organized skills labs, provided meals to underserved communities, hosted sports tournaments with other Dell ERGs, brought communities together and partnered with an international nonprofit, KIVA. Together, we are creating a tapestry of allyship, where every contribution is valued.


What advice would you give to young Asian and Pacific Islander professionals starting their careers?

I recently came across the idea that snakes grow to the size of their tank or environment. This got me thinking. Do we all have an environment that is big enough for the person we are or want to be? For the goals we have for ourselves and our accomplishments? I truly wish that everyone reading this is in an environment that allows them to grow to their full potential. Don’t limit yourself and know that you have a seat at the table!


Remember, your journey is uniquely yours. Embrace it, learn from it and leave your mark!


Next, read ⁠why YJ values multiculturalism.

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