BREMERTON (NNS) -- Sailors from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) celebrated Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM) with an observance ceremony hosted by the Multi-Cultural Heritage Committee (MCHC), May 24.
The theme of this year's event is "Unite Our Voices by Speaking Together."
"For me it's important to celebrate diversity because we have so much of it in the Navy," said Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Tanisha Strowbridge, a member of the MCHC and speaker at the event, from Atlanta. "I think it's amazing that we observe so many cultures and include as many people as we can so that no one feels left out and we have a better understanding of each other."
Guest speakers of various ranks, representing multiple countries and backgrounds, spoke about the influence their culture has had on their lives and their careers in the Navy, and the important contributions of Asian-American and Pacific Islander pioneers.
Another guest speaker at the event, Hospitalman Tre Kubota, from Hau'ula-Kahuku, Hawaii, spoke about his upbringing and ethnic background.
"I'm really proud of where I'm from," said Kubota. "Talking to other people and learning from them has made me realize there are so many interesting differences and things we have in common with each other."
There are 24,473 Asian-American and Pacific Islander Sailors currently serving in the Navy, including eight admirals, 318 officers, and 659 master and senior chief petty officers. They represent more than 56 ethnic groups and speak more than 100 languages.
Concluding the event, guests were treated to assorted Asian-American and Pacific Islander cuisine. Members from the MCHC also encouraged guests to celebrate the cultural differences that exist in the Navy and recognize the contributions that Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders have accomplished in the Navy.
"Events like this bring people together," said Kubota. "I've met people from all over the world and now have friends all over the place, which is a reflection of this event."
John C. Stennis is conducting a planned incremental availability (PIA) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, during which the ship is undergoing scheduled maintenance and upgrades.
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