May is Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month — a time to celebrate and reflect on the achievements, contributions, cultures and histories of Asians and Pacific Islanders (API) in the United States.
And each May, our SPAM (Sound Transit Pacific Islander Asian American Masterminds) employee resource group hosts a potluck-style celebration, with multi-cultural cuisines and colorful decor.
Of course, our celebrations will have to be virtual this year. But with the discrimination and harassment experienced by our Asian and Asian American communities during this epidemic, it's more important than ever to stand together against hate and celebrate the differences that make us unique.
Celebrating API month is a way to highlight our individual API cultures as well as the achievements made by those who came before us.
For this month's entry in our series introducing you to the people who work here trying to make it easier for you to get to where you work, live and play every day, we meet Alan Yamamoto, a copywriter on our marketing team and a member of SPAM.
"The main reason why I joined was to bring visibility to the API community we have here at Sound Transit and to give us a 'louder voice' when it comes to career advancement," he said.
He said he enjoys celebrating API month because it "gives people an insight into who we are outside of work."
He has worked at Sound Transit for three years, after freelancing as a copywriter/creative director for six years. Before that, he worked for a variety of marketing agencies and design firms.
In this video, you can hear from Yamamoto and other SPAM members about what this month means to them:
Now, on to the questions!
Q: What do you tell your friends you do for work?
A: I tell them I’m a Marketing Copywriter in Communications, which in most cases, goes right over their heads. Haha. Then I tell them, “Have you ever seen those little posters when you’re riding light rail, like 'Bags don’t have butts!' Well, I wrote those.”
Q: What’s your passion outside of your job?
A: I like wine, and I think it likes me because it always wants to hang out. I also enjoy cycling long distances, so I’ve been riding STP (Seattle to Portland) in one day and have ridden RAMOD (Ride Around Mt Rainier in One Day) eight times.
Q: What attracted you to work at Sound Transit?
A: [Marketing Director] Tim Healy. He said he would make me lunch every day and cut the crust off of my sandwiches.
Q: How do you get to work?
A: I ride my bike to and from work unless the ground is frozen.
Q: What three things would you take with you to a desert island (besides food and water)?
A: My wife. (Yes, I would strand her too). A satellite phone so I can call to be rescued, and a case of moderately expensive red wine, so I can stay hydrated.