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Illuminating Remembrance During AAPI Heritage Month

To mark Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, AAPI Montclair in New Jersey illuminated thousands of lanterns in remembrance of those harmed by violence and injustice, including anti-Asian hate. The AAPI Montclair Lantern Festival drew more than 3,000 people to Edgemont Memorial Park in New Jersey on May 21 for food, music, and commemoration.

Bob’s Discount Furniture was honored to have several employees and their loved ones attend the event as volunteers and participants.

John Kim, Bob’s Human Resources Talent Acquisition Partner (left) and Candice Wong, Human Resources Generalist (right) at the AAPI Montclair Lantern Festival.

“Our hearts are full after seeing so many friends and families gather at Edgemont Park on what was truly a magical evening,” said Sumeet Kapoor, AAPI Montclair Development Director. “This year’s Lantern Festival for Justice and Remembrance was a reflection of our beautiful community, bringing together more than 3,000 people to honor those harmed by injustice and to celebrate our shared goal of securing justice for all.”

Bob’s employees and their friends and family with AAPI Montclair team. Photo courtesy of Fred Mastromarino Jr. 

To ready the park for the Lantern Festival, volunteers placed paper lanterns along the tranquil pond, throughout the grounds and suspended from trees along paths. When night fell, the park was aglow with homage to AAPI culture. 

“It was great being a representative of Bob’s,” said event volunteer John Kim, Bob’s Human Resources Talent Acquisition Partner. “I’m glad to have been able to participate in celebrating the solidarity shared at the event,” he added. 

Kim was joined by fellow colleague Candice Wong. “It was absolutely fulfilling to help set up this event that brought plenty of smiles to the local community and AAPI supporters,” commented Wong.

Photo images 2, 5, 6 and 7, courtesy of Fred Mastromarino Jr. Other images courtesy of John Kim.

During AAPI Heritage Month, Wong, a Human Resources Generalist with Bob’s, participated in a company-wide learning series, Celebrating Our Diversity. During the year employees are invited to share personal stories in relation to national celebrations. Wong shared about her participation with the Tianyi Dance Team focusing on traditional Chinese dance at University of Maryland, College Park.

“Tianyi Dance Team was established in 2012 and strives to break down cross-cultural barriers through the graceful, yet powerful language of dance,” Wong told colleagues.

As part of the Celebrating Our Diversity initiative, Bob’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Resource Group, in partnership with the Community Outreach team, presented a $2,500 donation to AAPI Montclair.

AAPI Montclair’s mission is to create a more inclusive community through three focus areas: advocacy for rights and representation; promoting awareness and education around AAPI history and culture; and fostering a diverse community of belonging.

In addition to providing community building opportunities, education, and fundraising, AAPI Montclair hosts several signature events during the year drawing thousands of participants from New Jersey as well as the tri-state area.

The annual AAPI Montclair Lantern Festival is free to the public, but donations were accepted. All funds raised were allocated to festival costs as well as the Belleville Historical Society and Friends of the Howe House.

AAPI Montclair accepts ongoing donations here.