Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, an observance celebrated each May, recognizes the historical and cultural contributions of individuals and groups of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the U.S.
Here at Axon, we are a global public safety technology company with over 3,000 employees in 13 nations. As such, we foster togetherness by recognizing, honoring and celebrating those who add unique cultural experiences and perspectives to our workplace and our mission to protect life.
This month, we sat down with two leaders of our Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (APIA) affinity group to learn more about how they are leading celebrations this May.
Q. Tell us a little about APIA. What it is?
Charlie Xu: The Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (APIA for short) is Axon’s affinity group focused entirely on the API community. We aim to support our API-affiliated employees however we can, whether that’s through holding get-together events, sharing and promoting API culture and accomplishments, or educating the broader Axon community about API experiences and issues.
I decided to found APIA back in 2021 for two reasons. First, the rise in anti-AAPI sentiment and violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, and second, the critical need for a platform at Axon to enable community members to share their experiences and help educate people about our community.
Q: Describe the APIA affinity group’s main goals?
Charlie: Our mission can be structured along three pillars:
- Support the growth and well-being of Axon’s entire API community. In this pillar, we generally focus on fostering a community for our API employees to promote and celebrate their cultures and facilitate their personal and career development and growth.
- Provide an avenue for all Axon employees to learn about the whole API experience. This involves educating the broader Axon community about API experiences, cultures and issues, and providing a platform for API members to authentically share their perspectives and thoughts.
- Drive positive impact for the broader API community outside of Axon. Here, we strive to aid in recruiting more API community members to the Axon team and to serve as an advocate for the API community at large.
Q: Why are affinity groups like APIA so important?
Dennis Zhang: I think affinity groups allow employees of different backgrounds to feel more included and recognized in the workplace. For identifying members, affinity groups provide a safe space to share experiences and find representation; for non-identifying members, they provide a learning opportunity and a chance to connect with identifying members on a deeper level. For everyone, affinity groups foster a culture of empathy and inclusion in the workplace.
Also, I’ve enjoyed the events that APIA has brought to Axon, as I had previously longed for a space in which employees can share their experiences as identifying or non-identifying members of the AAPI community. I decided to join the APIA board to best help foster that sense of inclusion and community.