Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage is celebrated annually in May to honor the cultural and historical diversity of individuals of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the United States. With over 20 million people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent residing in the country, they constitute approximately 6 percent of the U.S. population. AAPI communities have significantly contributed to the social, economic, and artistic fabric of the United States, bringing their vibrant art, traditions, cuisine, and unique experiences to life.

At Zoox, our APIDA (Asian Pacific Islander Desi American) community invited all crew to join the celebration by sharing the many cultures and traditions of the AAPI community. This celebration serves as a reminder to honor and embrace the multitude of voices and talents within the AAPI community, further strengthening our collective understanding and unity.

Honoring Tradition

First up, traditional Lion Dancing! Our crew enjoyed a lively Lion Dancing session by Lion Dance Me, a dancing group specializing in lion dance, music, and entertainment. Founded by Norman Lau in 2012, he took traditional Chinese cultural art and transformed it into a modern entertainment company. Lion Dance Me started as a single high school club and expanded to San Francisco schools.

The crew were also introduced to Tai Chi, taught by Si Fu Mao. This ancient Chinese exercise originated 2,000 years ago as martial arts, and uses gentle, slow, deliberate, and meditative body movements with particular stances and positions to achieve mental and bodily relaxation.

Savoring Delicious Cuisine

The culinary team hosted Amy Kimoto-Kahn, chef/cookbook author and blogger, and gave a terrific hotpot-style cooking demo on making a lamb Mongolian and a vegan Mongolian hot pot. Amy is also a Yonsei, a fourth–generation Japanese American, wife, and mom of three. She is a student of her family’s long history of cooking and continues to share her favorite recipes on her blog, easypeasyjapanesey.

Crew also had a chance to indulge in a modern take on Vietnamese iced coffee. Founded in 2015, Phin Bar was designed as an urban brew bar offering Vietnamese-style steeped coffee and house-made ingredients. Phin Bar gets its name from ‘phin,’ a metal filter most commonly used in Vietnam to brew coffee.  The drip is slow, especially when freshly-ground beans are packed tightly inside, producing a strong and aromatic coffee base for their drinks.  Phin hosted coffee pop-ups at our Fremont and Foster City offices.

Empowering our AAPI community

Zoox-APIDA hosted a game night to bring our crew together and also launched a “Humans of APIDA” spotlight series, inspired by Humans of New York, to share each other’s stories and learn more about their background, interests and culture.