Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month: Sammy Tsang
Date: May 28, 2021
ADUSA Distribution is celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month by highlighting some of its great associates – including Sammy Tsang, Campus Leader for the Chester, N.Y., fresh distribution center, which will become part of the self-managed supply chain network in 2022.
Sammy was born and raised in New York City as second-generation Chinese immigrant. His parents migrated to Hong Kong from mainland China as teenagers. It took his father three unsuccessful attempts to swim from China to the island city of Hong Kong before making it on his fourth try. During the journey, his father sustained his energy with chocolate and survived several passing sharks. Once he made it to Hong Kong, he was able to migrate to the U.S. and live the American dream because his great-grandfather had served as a soldier for the U.S. during World War II.
For Sammy's family, it has always been a priority to keep in touch with their Chinese heritage. Growing up, Sammy was taught to speak and write in Cantonese as well as the local village language variation. His grandmother encouraged Sammy and his siblings to speak Chinese to get their lunch and snacks. Learning both dialects was very important.
Another essential part of Sammy's upbringing was martial arts. His father was a Kung Fu master and taught the children and family to practice martial arts. Sammy's cousins went on to open a martial arts studio in the U.S.
Sammy was also influenced by the Chinese culture's appreciation for hard work and entrepreneurial spirit. His great-grandfather opened the first Chinese laundromat in New York City. At age 13, Sammy also learned his family's business of selling plumbing and heating supplies. Sammy said this is when he developed strong people skills from interacting with customers and suppliers. Their business is still thriving after 30 years.
As an American citizen, Sammy observes traditional American holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Fourth of July, but he also celebrates Chinese holidays like the mid-Autumn festival, which is an ancient Chinese festival to thank the moon for a good harvest. Nowadays, its commonly celebrated as an opportunity for family reunions. His family also observes the Lunar New Year with family, friends and plenty of food. Food is symbolic in Chinese culture, with dishes like chicken and noodles – which represent longevity and fortune – and candy, which represents joy and happiness.
Sammy said that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a particularly stressful time for the AAPI community due to increased violence and hate crimes. Connecting to the AAPI community in groups and one-on-one settings goes a long way in showing support and allyship, according to Sammy.
"I am worried about how my family is doing every single day. Some of the victims of hate crimes look like my mother or grandmother," Sammy shared. "Our company and local brands need to have a voice in the community. That will reassure us that we are part of our society."
Sammy asked for associates' continued support for the AAPI community, mentioning it is essential to make sure they feel like they belong and are appreciated.
Sammy lives in Nutley, N.J., with his wife, Ka-On, and their three-year-old daughter Katelyn.