Compassion, Selflessness, and Family: Why I’m Proud of My AAPI Heritage

Compassion, Selflessness, and Family: Why I’m Proud of My AAPI Heritage

My mother and I came to the United States when I was nine months old, making our way from Vietnam, while my father was already in Florida, working and eagerly awaiting the official reunion of our family. ‘The American Dream’ is often a treacherous path that requires many sacrifices, changes, and a great deal of ambition.

My parents left their family and home in Vietnam in search of a better life for themselves and, especially, for me. Because of their consistently long days and nights working as dish washers, cooks, and business owners, they did not have the time or the resources to further their own education. Regardless of the language barriers and having no support system in Florida, their goal was to have a safe home and create an opportunity-filled journey for me.

When I was around 10 years old, I started going to my mom’s annual check-ups to help her with checking in at the front desk and providing translation with the doctor. I got some strange looks at first from the staff, wondering if I needed to be babysat. As soon as I was able to write and read, I started helping my parents more often with booking appointments, attending doctor visits, and reading over government documents.

It's exactly like how you would imagine it: a 10-year-old deciphering healthcare documents with little knowledge about the actual content but doing my best to translate bloodwork results that would be accurate and make sense.

Growing up this way, I gained a strong sense of responsibility at a young age, a responsibility to help my parents, repaying them for what they provided me. As my parents have gotten older, their healthcare needs became more specialized, which is when I come in to translate the scientific verbiage into Vietnamese, advise on specific procedures, and attend routine doctor’s appointments with them.

Family and selfless support for one another are two of the most important aspects of Vietnamese culture. Parents have the responsibility to provide an education and opportunities for their children, and as the children get older, they care for and support their parents as a symbol of gratitude.

It was incredibly important to me to find a company that would be understanding and sympathetic to my personal responsibilities. We often see companies preach about the flexibility of childcare and having children at home, and some of us can only hope for the same understanding for those taking care of our parents. Fortunately, I've worked with teams at Jabil who have been nothing but open-minded and encouraging.

Specifically, during the recent Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate crimes and attacks, I have received supportive messages and comfort from non-AAPI colleagues. That intentional sense of empathy and support is so important to me because it demonstrates that these situations are being acknowledged and not pushed aside. Many first-generation AAPI and immigrants have experienced additional pain and fear from these incidents. While we have been culturally raised to care for our parents and elders, this has now evolved from a simple sense of care to a deep concern every time they step outside.

Even though I had to grow up very quickly at a young age and had more responsibilities than other children, I would not change a single thing. My parents and culture have taught me compassion, selflessness, and the importance of family.

This year, I feel especially proud to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month and to honor my fellow AAPI peers and the obstacles we overcame. I’m glad to have a resource like the Joules platform to share my voice and my family’s journey. I’m excited to see Jabil continue to intentionally grow in representation and equity for diverse groups.

Lisa Ha
Article Contributed By:
Lisa Ha
BI Developer, Data Integration and Analytics