This next Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month spotlight is on Ryan Applegate, an executive director at Jabian! Ryan’s story highlights the importance of passing down cultural traditions and finding ways how everyone can celebrate during the month.

Q: Is there a family tradition you have or that has been passed down to you?

A: My grandmother used to give me, my sister, and my cousins’ red envelopes filled with money to celebrate holidays, birthdays, and other significant events. This tradition is very common in China and always reminds me of family. My wife and I carry on this tradition with our daughters and extended family to honor my heritage.

Q: What are some ways everyone can celebrate Asian heritage outside of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month?

A: I find that one of the best ways to learn about any culture is through food. Experiencing different flavors and learning the origin behind various types of food. Within the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, there is such diversity of cultures which is also represented in the wide diversity of delicious foods.

Q: What does Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage month mean to you?

A: It is an opportunity to reflect upon my Chinese heritage and be thankful for the sacrifices my grandparents must have endured to immigrate from China in the 1940s with nothing. Through hard work, they became successful owners of a Chinese restaurant that supported and employed themselves and our extended family.

APIC Collage - Ryan Applegate