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Maricopa County Celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage

Third Annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration

Ed Guerrero, Diversity Director

On May 15, 2012, the Maricopa County Diversity Office and Maricopa County Asian Network hosted the Third Annual Asian Pacific American Celebration with the theme of “Striving for Excellence in Leadership, Diversity, and Inclusion.”

Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Max Wilson and new County Manager Tom Manos were honored with traditional leis worn around their necks.  And in front of the audience were numerous displays and photos of Micronesia for everyone to enjoy and learn.

County Diversity Director Ed Guerrero explained how the unique shapes of the traditional Chamorro stones related to the unique characteristics and qualities of our County employees.  Similar to the different shapes of the latte stone, the unique qualities and talents of our County employees makes us more solid and more productive.    

Newly elected Chairperson of the County Asian Network, JakinDee Kosaka of Clerk of Superior Courts, emceed the event and introduced each of the Asian Network executive committee members.  Chairman Max Wilson talked about his memories of diverse people that he has met.  He went on to say that we can always be better than we are; he learned this lesson about himself at the young age of six and always tries to learn something new every day.   County Manager Tom Manos told the audience that this was his second full week at work and he was very honored to be there.  He grew up as a grandson of Greek immigrants and he felt very special about his heritage as everyone in the audience did of their own childhood.  Diversity programs are good business for the County and numerous studies show that companies that practice diversity have more productive workers, stay longer with their employers, adapt better to change and the community where they work in.  And inclusion is what brings us together and makes us stronger.

The Dudus Chamorritas (Proud Chamorros) danced to traditional songs from the island of Guam.   Their performance  gleefully taught the audience how to say greetings in the Chamorro language.

Keynote speaker Claudia Kaercher enthusiastically welcomed everyone to the islands of Micronesia.   An insightful PowerPoint Show displayed colorful ocean views of islands, pristine underwater scenery, and historical events dating back to 1521. This captivating islander lore included Chuuk, Yap, Mariana Islands, Guam, Saipan, Pohnpei, and  Kosrae, to name a few of the islands.  Claudia’s humor caused wave after wave of laughter.  Natives of Guam, George and Merci Hernandez (Adult Probation Department),  spoke specifically about Guam’s history beginning from the landing of Magellan, Two Lover’s Point, water buffalo, and that Guam’s state flower is the bougainvillea where the name of this flower means “It hurts not to have a boyfriend” to the humor of the audience.  A video of spear fishing and traditional throw nets captured not only fish but also the attention of everyone. 

The Dudus Chamorritas closed the event by dancing to the song “Take me Back” …to the island in the sea - - a song that caused many feeling homesick for their island homeland.


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