By Mass Communication 2nd Class Jeffry Willadsen
EVERETT, Wash. (NNS) — Sailors, DoD personnel, and civilians observed Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a ceremony in the William E. Moore auditorium on Naval Station Everett (NSE), May 30.
The event featured a multimedia presentation, a traditional dance performance, and a static display on Asian and Pacific Island Culture.
“The purpose of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is to celebrate the accomplishments of these people, recognizing their past and future achievements and their contribution to our Navy, society, and communities,” Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/SCW) Melinda Torrey, NSE’s Multicultural Committee coordinator and native of Bremerton, Wash.
The majority of the event was composed of a multimedia presentation containing personal stories and outlining the historical achievements of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SW) Ron Recaido, a native of San Diego, served as master of ceremonies during the event. During the presentation, he shared the story of his father, a Filipino-American, rising through the ranks of the Navy.
“It means a lot to be able to recognize my ethnicity and culture,” said Recaido. “To me it doesn’t just mean celebration of just one particular culture … I think of it as a celebration of everybody’s culture.”
The event also included a traditional Samoan dance, performed by Culinary Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Christine Pritchett, from Suva, Fiji. According to Pritchett, the event was a way for her to share the culture that she is very proud of.
“I just think it’s important to recognize diversity,” said Pritchett. “It’s not just about dancing. It’s about our culture and our heritage and our tradition … I’m actually really proud of where I’m from.”
May has been officially recognized as National Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month since 1992. The observance was designed to celebrate the rich culture and history of Asian and Pacific Islanders, as well as recognize these culture’s great contributions to American society.
The event was organized by NSE’s Multicultural Committee. The committee is a group of Sailors dedicated to spreading the message of cultural acceptance and diversity in the Navy.
“Celebrating different cultures is very important to the Navy because it helps promote diversity and understanding,” said Torrey. “It also gives a chance for Sailors and their civilian counterparts to share their cultural experiences and be recognized.”
The committee regularly puts on events, such as the Asian Pacific Islander heritage celebration, in order to help their fellow Sailors appreciate their shipmates’ diverse cultural backgrounds and heritage.