The Louisville District celebrated Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month May 14 with an observance at the Mazzoli Federal Building. The theme this year is “Unite our Mission by Engaging Each Other” and is a continuation of the 2018 theme, “Unite our Vision by by Working Together.”
“Experiencing different perspectives,” said Louisville District Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Kevin Lewis. “That is what these equal employment opportunity events are all about.”
The guest speaker for this event was the district’s own Quyet La, a project engineer in the Reserve Section of Engineering Division.
“We have a lot of diversity within the Corps of Engineers,” said Mr. La. “We need to be able to support each other and our differences.”
Mr. La and his family emigrated from Vietnam to the United States in 1992. Mr. La likes to say he was born Asian and raised American. He spoke about how different Vietnamese culture is compared to American culture.
“Imagine winning the lottery,” said Mr. La “That is what it was like being in American verses in Vietnam.”
Mr. La spoke about his family’s experiences and what they went through before coming to the United States. He emphasized how differences and difficulties make people unique.
“It’s the difficulties that we experience through life that allow us to grow,” said Mr. La. “Only through difficulty are we allowed to create a vantage point for us to appreciate what we have today.”
During the observance, Mr. La presented Vietnam’s four cardinal virtues and wrote them out in Vietnamese and in Chinese: obligation to the country; commitment to society and humanity; commitment to your family, friends and your words; and most importantly, the responsibility one has as a son or daughter to their parents.
Louisville District Commander Col. Antoinette Gant thanked Mr. La and gave the closing remarks.
“It’s always fabulous when you have your own as the guest speaker,” said Gant. “Because it shows that there are a lot of different people in our organization and so much we can share with each other.”
May was chosen for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month because two important anniversaries are celebrated this month: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in America on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad by predominantly Chinese laborers on May 10, 1869.