Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Meaningful Work in the Pool of Diverse Ideas
By Andrew Chu
Hi there! Thanks for reading my blog. I’d like to share with you how much it means to me personally and as a federal employee to work at EPA.
EPA offers many opportunities to work with a diversity of interests and ideas. In the Permits Office of the Pacific Southwest Air Division, I work with businesses to process their applications to build new projects that create jobs and strengthen our economy. I also help them find clean technology to minimize or even avoid adding pollution to the air that we all share. I know that navigating the regulations is difficult, but when I work with the businesses to understand them, they find it easier to comply.
It’s important to connect with different communities to understand where they have been disproportionately shouldering environmental burdens. In the interest of fairness and equality, no community should be unjustly singled out to take more pollution than the next one due to differences in language or income. I was born and raised in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, and I understood the difficulties people faced with language barriers and not knowing where to turn with their environmental concerns. Today, it’s my role to make sure that each community is heard and that polluters clean up their act and follow the law. It’s about fairness and doing the right thing.
For example, when I accompanied our regional administrator to meet with community members in Richmond, Calif., I gained a better understanding of their concerns and where they wanted technical staff like me to pay closer attention. I also saw how some businesses have been making efforts toward the goal of a clean environment. These experiences confirm my belief that I’ve found meaningful work, and make me proud to work for EPA.
As an EPA employee, I work with colleagues from different cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. By participating in a range of activities here, from honoring Black History Month in February to Native American Heritage Month in November to LGBT Pride in June, I feel a stronger connection with my co-workers. Having learned more about their cultural values and heritages, I can communicate with more openness and on deeper levels. For all of these reasons, my EPA is a truly remarkable place to work.
About the author: Andrew Chu is an environmental engineer with EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region Air Division Permits Office. Andrew is a second generation Chinese American.
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