News Release

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Celebration


Photo of Associate Director LC Williams and guest speaker Gil Asakawa.
IBC's Human Resources Associate Director LC Williams thanks guest speaker Gil Asakawa.

Photo of Kalama Dancer
A Kalama Dancer teaches employees a few words in a variety of Asian and Pacific Islander languages.
Lesson number one: Asian Americans are a distinctive part of the American fabric, yet by no means a homogenous population. The six largest groups of Asian Americans are Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese. While these groups have much in common, each has a unique history, culture and language.

Guest speaker Gil Asakawa, a journalist, author and speaker who is active in the Asian American and Japanese American communities, raised the education level of nearly 70 IBC employees at the Denver celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, Thursday, May 29, 2014.

Along with an enthusiastic presentation about the culture, pathways to America, civil rights history and contributions to of Asian-Pacific Americans, he provided some words of wisdom.

What Asian-Pacific Americans Want You to Know

Asian Americans account for about 6% of the U.S. population. (Note: Asian Americans make up 5% of the IBC employee population.) Between 2000 and 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Asian population increased 46%, more than any other group. They are the most diverse group in the U.S. It’s important to make a distinction between the different people and customs of Asian-Pacific Americans. Most Asians in the U.S. are Americans; immigration to this country began in the mid-1700s.

The Bamboo Ceiling: Fifty percent of Asian Americans are college educated, compared to 28% of Americans overall. Yet Asian Americans make up only 1.5% of CEOs in Fortune 500 companies.

Phrases to avoid: What are you? What’s your nationality? You don’t act very Asian.