JeffreyM Consulting AAPI Employee Highlight – Tony Augusty - JeffreyM

JeffreyM Consulting AAPI Employee Highlight – Tony Augusty

Guest Contributor

As we continue to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we had the pleasure to sit down with one of our employees, Tony Augusty. He works with Microsoft Marketplace Rewards as a Senior Editor. He provides go-to-market benefits through ISV Success for offers in Microsoft AppSource and Azure Marketplace. Continue reading below to hear about what Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month means to him.

What does Asian American and Pacific Islanders Month mean to you? AAPI Month is a time to celebrate both sides of my culture, American and Indian. It’s a distinct group made up of many different cultures, which is to me what the United States is all about. I think it’s also a reminder of something I strongly believe, that true diversity is ultimately the way forward as a society and a civilization. In a time where you can be made to feel your differences are “bad” or a “necessary evil” by some, it rather is our differences in experience and perspective that make us stronger.

Are there any specific events or traditions that are important to you during this time or throughout the year? Growing up, our traditions were centered around the Catholic church – and food. The Christianity part may surprise some people because I am of Indian descent, but in Kerala, the Indian state where my parents hail from, Christianity goes back more than a thousand years. My parents’ love language is food, so my mom is sure to make appam (savory rice pancake) and mutton curry every Easter – it’s my favorite meal! Throughout the year, there’s also biryani (a mixed rice dish some of you may be familiar with), poori (deep-fried wheat flatbread), and various stews and curries, accompanied by dad’s hand-rolled chapati (another type of flatbread). Now I’m hungry, ha ha.

How can the community celebrate and bring awareness to Asian American and Pacific Islanders Month beyond just this month? It’s simple: Make friends with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. And while you’re at it, make friends with African Americans and Hispanic Americans, too. I promise you, your life will be better for it. And you’ll find out you’re not that different after all.

Through circumstance and by choice, I have grown up with a wide variety of friends of different races, cultures, religions and sexualities, and frankly, I feel sorry for people that don’t have that experience. I know white people who only hang out with white people, and Indians who only hang out with other Indians. Both sides are missing out. Maybe one side is afraid of saying the wrong thing, the other of being hurt. Guess what? You might indeed say the wrong thing. You might indeed be hurt. But moving past mistakes is what true friendship is about. That is what understanding is about. That is what love is about.

Achieving harmony cannot happen without love. And love cannot happen from a distance. Actually making friends with someone different than yourself will do more for you than a thousand Facebook posts or tweets advocating for them. You can’t swim without getting in the pool. So, get in the pool. It’s nice in here. And there are pool noodles.

Mmm, noodles. Now I want some Pho.

Thank you, Tony, we appreciate all that you do!

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