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Confidence Through Culture: Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
May 1, 2023
At Balfour Beatty, we strive to cultivate a diverse and inclusive workplace where everyone feels safe and respected and everyone’s voice matters. Through our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month theme of “Confidence Through Culture,” we recognize and celebrate AAPI individuals and communities and their contributions to our company, our industry and nation.
Balfour Beatty’s AAPI Heritage Month activities will feature strategic company-wide web conferences and trainings that will foster critical conversations about the AAPI community in construction and as a whole.
Balfour Beatty’s AAPI employee affinity group REGAL (Reinforcing, Educating and Guiding Asian Leaders) is leading the company’s observation and support of AAPI Heritage Month. Formed in 2021, REGAL promotes advocacy and representation for AAPI employees, strengthens our cultural understanding of diverse AAPI communities and facilitates AAPI inclusivity within Balfour Beatty and the construction industry.
The first webinar, led by Asian Americans Advancing Justice in partnership with Right to Be, focuses on the nature and prevalence of harassment and xenophobia directed at AAPI individuals and communities. Balfour Beatty teammates will learn how to recognize and safely respond to these behaviors both online and in-person, creating a more inclusive and respectful environment for all.
REGAL will also host a virtual conversation with Baldwin Chiu, a Chinese American hip hop artist and producer of the film Far East Deep South. The autobiographical documentary film chronicles an eye-opening journey as Chiu and his brother discover their complex family roots – not in China, as they expected, but deep in the Mississippi River Delta.
Chiu will join a panel of employee affinity group members including REGAL national chair Jacklyn Smith, REGAL member Earnie Eng and NOBLE (Network of Black Leaders and Executives) Texas chapter lead Royce Dawkins in a conversation about the film and the importance of building confidence through an understanding of one’s own cultural background.
The Importance of AAPI Heritage Month
AAPI individuals comprise a small percentage of the construction industry workforce in the U.S., as little as 1.5% in a 2021 Build California study despite comprising 5.7 percent of the country’s population. Underrepresentation can create situations where AAPI voices may not be heard.
REGAL’s – and Balfour Beatty’s – mission is to provide our teammates and industry with opportunities to learn from AAPI construction professionals, thereby dispelling harmful stereotypes, understanding AAPI communities’ experiences and working to cultivate a more diverse business.
“Balfour Beatty teammates a diverse range of AAPI backgrounds and stories,” says REGAL national vice chair Neil De Los Santos. “Intentional education is a great way to enrich our teammates’ and allies’ understanding of our community’s contributions to our culture and the construction industry.”