COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Federal employees at the Defense Supply Center Columbus celebrated the history and diversity of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders during their annual heritage event on the installation May 22.
The program included the Shoong Yin award ceremony and a presentation from keynote speaker Christina Young, director of the Office of Small Business Programs. This year’s theme for the nationally recognized federal program was “Unite Our Mission by Engaging Each Other,” a continuation of the “Unite” series, focused on leadership and engagement to advance the AAPI community.
This year’s theme was created to target the community’s desire to unify and strengthen its internal ties - versus focusing on their differences.
Planning committees from Defense Finance and Accounting Service-Columbus and Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime co-sponsored the event inside the Building 20 Buckeye Room at DSCC.
“It’s our intention that educational and entertaining programs that highlight our diversity, like today’s event, help to heighten awareness and inspire deeper appreciation of the diversity represented throughout our Land and Maritime workforce,” said DLA Land and Maritime Deputy Director Steven Alsup.
Young, who has worked at several DLA Major Subordinate Commands prior to her arrival to the Office of Small Business Programs, identified herself as being of Chinese decent. Her mother was the first in her family to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, following her family’s immigration to the U.S. after the Shanghai Communist Revolution forced her family flee to Hong Kong in 1949. Young’s father was a second generation immigrant following his parent’s immigration to the U.S. from Canton, China in the 1920s and began operating a laundry business and restaurant in Philadelphia’s Chinatown.
She noted the event provides an opportunity to reflect on all our previous generations that endured hardships and struggled to pave the way for the privileges we enjoy today.
“Diversity contributes to resiliency,” stated Young. “By engaging new people, we’re creating personal relationships, we then have an opportunity to turn those relationships into partnerships.”
As she concluded her presentation, Young encouraged those in attendance to go out, reach out, and connect with someone new. She emphasized how grateful she was to have had the opportunity to have been raised in an environment that allowed her to have spent time with her grandparents and other relatives and to have heard their stories.
“My family’s story is one of determination and persistence to make a new beginning, in a new country,” Young said. “So, take time to discover, document and learn about your family’s story for future generations. A little bit of that story disappears with the passing of each generation.”
Prior to Young’s remarks, Alsup and Hoa Ta, chair of the AAPI Special Emphasis Program, announced the recipient of the 2019 Shoong Yin Award of Excellence.
The award is named in honor of the former DLA Land and Maritime associate and founding member of the AAPI program who passed away in 2003. Yin, was the embodiment of a diversity champion, according to Ta. The award is given to an individual who has demonstrated stellar work performance and has contributed to the AAPI community.
This year’s recipient of the award was retired Army Col. Yee Hang, a contract specialist at DLA Land and Maritime. Hang received the award for his continual leadership and active involvement in the local AAPI community.
“Mr. Hang whole heartedly served as a mentor to many Asian American Pacific Islander associates at DLA; willingly sharing his experiences and wisdom with others,” Ta said. “He’s an ambassador for the Asian American Pacific Islander Community and DLA Land and Maritime.”