AAPI History Month: A Look Back, a Leap Forward

AAPI History Month: A Look Back, a Leap Forward.

As we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we reflect on the unique experiences and contributions of the individuals who exemplify the GoGetter spirit. This year, I spoke with one of our AAPI GoGetters, MJ Caro, who is an RFP Analyst here at GoTo. When I asked her to describe her job in the simplest form, she said, "It is like taking tests that I enjoy for different companies and writing papers on the different products we sell." Explaining complex job roles in simple terms can be challenging, but it's impressive how forcing ourselves to think in simpler terms highlights our passions – and MJ's passion doesn't end with her role. 

Today, we celebrate and acknowledge MJ and the many contributions of our AAPI team members, as well as our dedicated Employee Resource Group (ERG), Asians in Motion (AIM)@GoTo.

A Safe Haven: Joining AIM@GoTo

"I joined AIM@GoTo when it first started around the time of the pandemic. When we were working remotely, it was a safe space to interact with others who looked like me and understood what it was like to be Asian-American. It opened my eyes to how diverse GoTo is; as a Filipina, I was surprised and excited to learn how many Filipinos work here."

The start of AIM@GoTo during the pandemic provided MJ and other colleagues a safe space to connect with others who shared similar experiences. Working remotely challenges our ability to make and form connections or foster a sense of community. With AIM, MJ re-captured that feeling and a sense of belonging and understanding. 

The Evolution of AIM@GoTo

AIM@GoTo has grown through various initiatives and events that foster open communication and cultural exchange. "What's the Tea?" meetings provided a virtual space for candid conversations, while Slack became a hub for sharing news, recipes, and personal stories. Celebrating cultural holidays together has been particularly impactful, as it allows employees to share their traditions and learn about the diverse cultures within the AAPI community.

"A personal favorite of mine," MJ says, "is during holidays (e.g., Holi and Lunar New Year), when colleagues share themselves celebrating with friends and family. Asia is a big continent, and we enjoy learning more about different countries. We want to encourage more employees to share their cultures."

Celebrating AAPI Heritage

We all belong to a shared culture and community, whether big or small. When we take the time to notice and celebrate those shared experiences with each other, our bonds only grow stronger. I asked MJ about any examples of these she wanted to share.

"What comes to mind is how my family celebrates Christmas and New Year. On September 1st, my dad would play Christmas music and set up the lights. For New Year's, we have many traditions: placing coins by doors and in pockets for financial stability, jumping at midnight for growth, making noise with pots and pans to ward off evil spirits, not cleaning on January 1st to keep good luck, eating 12 grapes at midnight, and having a table with 13 round fruits for good fortune."

Think about the rich traditions you share with your family around a particular holiday or event, and the next time you celebrate, share them with others! 


Promoting AAPI Representation and Inclusion

Representation and support from leadership have been crucial in promoting AAPI inclusion at GoTo. MJ highlights the significance of seeing Asian employees in executive roles and their vocal backing during challenging times. These actions often send a powerful message about a commitment to inclusion. “Seeing representation and support are important steps in the right direction," she says. 

As for the fun stuff...

Celebrating AAPI Culture Through Media

I asked MJ if she could share a favorite AAPI-themed book, movie, or TV show.
"Kim's Convenience is one of my favorite TV shows! I sometimes like to have it on in the background when I work. Celeste Ng also has two novels I enjoyed: Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere."

Looking Forward

AAPI Heritage Month celebrates the rich cultures, histories, and contributions of the AAPI community. Through personal stories and experiences, MJ Caro highlights the importance of diversity, representation, and inclusion. We'll continue supporting and uplifting the AAPI community, ensuring their voices are heard and their contributions are recognized.

Connect with MJ and learn more about AAPI Heritage Month.