On May 23, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Economic Impact and Diversity (ED) and Energy Asian American Pacific Islander Network (AAPIN) Employee Resource Group hosted its 2023 Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month Celebration, honoring the many contributions of the AANHPI community within DOE and beyond.
With this year’s theme being “Visible Together,” President Biden’s Proclamation on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month noted the vital importance of the AANHPI community within the American landscape.
“Throughout our history, they have represented the bigger story of who we are as Americans and embodied the truth that our diversity is our strength as a Nation,” said President Biden. “This month, we renew our work to put the American Dream within reach of all people, and we celebrate the vibrancy, contributions, and future of AA and NHPI communities across America.”
During DOE’s AANHPI Observance Ceremony, Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm and ED Director Shalanda H. Baker both emphasized their appreciation for the AANHPI community within DOE.
“We especially honor and recognize our DOE employees who are members of the Asian American and Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities for their contributions to the DOE mission and their successes,” said Director Baker. “It is important to recognize that as we strive to advance equity and opportunity, [but] we know our work is far from done.”
“This idea of visibility is so important, and it’s something we value deeply in this administration,” said Secretary Granholm. “Not only do we have roughly 9,000 colleagues from the AANHPI communities, many are in key leadership roles...and while we celebrate the AANHPI communities, we also must be clear-eyed that hate and discrimination against them persists. We won’t shy away from that.”
Ceremony speakers included White House staffers Neera Tanden, Senior Advisor to President Biden and Staff Secretary; Erika Moritsugu, Deputy Assistant to the President and AANHPI Senior Liaison; Krystal Ka‘ai, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI); and Philip Kim, Senior Advisor, White House Office of Public Engagement.
Other highlights from the ceremony included a panel discussion on navigating one’s career path as an AANHPI moderated by Caroline Grey, Chief of Staff in the U.S Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED). Panelists included Dr. Vanessa Z. Chan, Chief Commercialization Officer for the Department of Energy and Director of the Office of Technology Transitions; Maria Robinson, Director, Grid Deployment Office; and Gene Rodrigues, Assistant Secretary for Electricity and Senior Designee for WHIAANHPI.
DOE was also graced with incredible performances from the Asian American Music Society: Chinese Guzheng by Alice Kan and Chinese percussion by Kent Kan; a Korean traditional folk song by Amy Keesun Kwon; and Tibetan dance by Tashi Yangzom.
The Department of Energy proudly celebrates the many contributions our AANHPI colleagues have made to our nation. DOE is strong because there is strength in diversity. We will continue committing ourselves to an inclusive energy transition that will not only bring a wide variety of perspectives to work on our biggest challenges, but we will make a concerted effort to ensure that those behind the transition reflect what our nation looks like.