“Diversity in our society is a great way to help us become more open-minded and adaptable to life’s inevitable changes,” shared Jennie Pang. “Personally, hearing how history has shaped other people’s lives has made me a more emotionally and mentally strong, such as being more considerate and patient toward others.”
Pang is a Regulatory Specialist in the SFPUC’s Wastewater Enterprise, where she is responsible for coordinating regulatory and engineering technical analyses for permit compliance for the multiple wastewater treatment plants in San Francisco. She also manages many aspects of complicated permit renewals internally and externally on behalf of the SFPUC.
For Pang, Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month is an important time to recognize, acknowledge, and learn about what Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities experience throughout the year. She shared about how recent anti-Asian discrimination and violence have opened up deeper conversations with the people around her, including standing together in solidarity to fight back.
“Fighting against anti-Asian (and all other types of) discrimination is difficult to address. It will minimally require thoughtful, open communication about the hate crimes and other incidents,” she said. “Intervention training is valuable in the short-term, and a long-term solution suggestion is teaching our youngest citizens to be considerate and respectful towards people of all different backgrounds.”
Pang explained that she worries how recent events have personally impacted her mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. “I currently have a health condition making me extra vulnerable if I am attacked, making me reluctant to go outside to get exercise and fresh air. This reluctance has also compounded the impacts from the pandemic,” she shared.
However, she explained how her hope for a better future has empowered her to speak up and show up. “We can participate in AAPI events to show our government and public officials how we feel and advocate to state and federal representatives to understand fighting against discrimination is critical to our future,” she urged. “Policy is not perfect, but it’s a great starting point to bring to light communities’ priorities.”