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Blog | DEI | Diversity | Diversity & Inclusion | Equity & Inclusion

Asian American And Pacific Islander Heritage Month

By | May 31, 2022

Written by John Mertic, Director of Program Management at the Linux Foundation

One of the big things I celebrate about open source is the vast diversity of individuals that come together to build amazing technologies. A core belief that I have – and also that those at the Linux Foundation share – is that a diverse group of people coming together brings better outcomes, bigger innovations, and a more sustainable project. We at the Open Mainframe Project are truly fortunate to have such a global and diverse community, and with our hosted projects and working groups thriving, we see the impact of that diverse collaborative effort.

As many of you know, three of my children come from an Asian background – South Korea and China. I’ve shared in the past the joy they bring my wife and me, as well as those around us, but also the challenges and struggles of growing up in a culture different from where they were born. 

Nowadays though, I worry about their safety and struggles even more – as there has been a rise in Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate and crime. According to Stop AAPI Hate, from March 19, 2020 to December 31, 2021, a total of 10,905 hate incidents against AAPI persons were reported across the nation. This is sickening to me. 

I was discussing this with a good friend recently and they shared that so much of diversity and inclusion is changing how you think about people, situations, and how you engage with others. This hits home for me now more than ever. I think about that with my children and me as a parent; seeing the world through their eyes has given me a new perspective on others and taught me empathy and understanding. But it has also given me an appreciation for others; who they are, where they come from, and what experiences and ideas they have. 

In open source projects, it’s not a zero-sum game but a positive-sum game – open source development is based on the idea that, collectively, we are smarter than any one of us. That mindset is strong in our communities, and helps create that welcome space for all.

As we celebrate the last day of May and AAPI Heritage Month, I want to thank those Asian American and Pacific Islanders from our communities who have made a great impact. In fact, two of our members recently shared personal stories about their journeys. Thank you to Maemalynn Meanor, Senior Public Relations & Marketing Manager at the Linux Foundation, and Alex Kim, Technology Business Development Executive/OSS Incubator Advocate at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, for offering a look into their personal and professional lives. You can read their blogs here: 

I thank everyone from those backgrounds for their great contributions to not only our projects, but open source in general, and hope that we can continue to make our communities a safe and inclusive place for all.