Throughout May we will be spotlighting employees in celebration of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month. This week, we are featuring Tom Sisnroy, manufacturing development specialist at Rocky Mountain Metal Container. Tom, like many members of our AAPI employee resource group, is an ally to the AAPI community. And being the strong ally that he is, Tom uses this month as a time to educate himself on AANHPI cultures, traditions and history. Read on to learn more about what Tom is doing this month to grow as an ally and his experience in AAPI.
What does AANHPI Heritage Month mean to you? How do you celebrate/recognize the month?
As a non-AAPI ally, AANHPI Heritage Month to me means growth. It is my opportunity to further grow my knowledge and understanding of a very wide variety of cultures, traditions, foods, etc. and to celebrate and share that wonderous variety with others.
I take time in this month to seek out some articles that give me some context on what my AAPI friends and co-workers may be experiencing, learn about a tradition I have little to no knowledge of, try a new AAPI restaurant and ensure I try a dish I have not experienced before, and I try to find an AAPI movie to watch. All to grow beyond my sphere or familiarity. Lastly, I share this experience with others (family, friends and co-workers).
Celebrating diverse voices shouldn’t be limited to one month. How can people be strong allies throughout the entire year?
No. 1 is to actively engage in an ERG that you are not a part of. You can never truly walk in someone else’s shoes, but engaging at that level can really open your eyes to a world you have not been a part of. It is enlightening and inspiring. Second, partake in an ERG activity. I highly recommend attending a Dragon Boat Festival near you!
What motivated you to join AAPI?
My grandfather did two tours in Korea as a member of the U.S. Army, and picked up the language and a hunger for AAPI foods and desperately tried to adopt a Korean orphan he found digging in the trash. His stories and our Sunday restaurant expeditions were impressed upon me at a young age. Years later, that led to my desire to experience Colorado Dragon Boat Festival (CDBF), where I found out Coors sponsored a team. The next year I was a paddler for and a member of Coors AsEAN (Asian Employee Affinity Network). Over a decade later I am still a member of the Golden chapter of AAPI.
What would you say to other Molson Coors members who are not Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders who are considering joining AAPI?
Do it! I feel everyone should join and ERG they are not a part of – not just attend the events, but be an active member so you can really learn and experience some of the diversity outside of your own sphere of knowledge and familiarity! I promise it will be one of the most rewarding and growth minded things you have ever done.
What can people do to raise awareness and educate themselves about the “Stop AAPI/Asian Hate” movement?
Two things to start your journey: Take 20 minutes to learn about what people are experiencing around you every day and across history and take five more minutes to learn how to intervene when you see harassment taking place: