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Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

The Mariners would like to recognize Asian-American and Pacific Islander players, front office staff and community members. Together, we recognize and celebrate their impact while acknowledging, learning and listening to be a champion of change and inclusion.

The month of May marks two important markers in AAPI history: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the US in May of 1843, as well as the contributions of Chinese workers in the building of the transcontinental railroad which was completed in May of 1869.

We look forward to creating a path forward through love and coalition, and encourage you to check out the resources collected below.

Our Stories are Your Stories (OSAYS) is a grassroots awareness campaign highlighting AAPI voices through video storytelling. View videos from members of the AAPI community as they share their stories.

Celebrating Front Office Members

Ngoc Do is originally from Bellingham, Washington, where she also attended Western Washington University and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Human Services. Ngoc joined the Seattle Mariners in 2012 and has worked in several positions including event/venue sales, ballpark event operations, gameday services and human resources. In her current role as Team Member Experience Coordinator, she manages employee engagement and learning and development initiatives, coordinates meeting and event planning, and administers internal communications. Ngoc works with the People & Culture group to strategically improve processes and systems for Team Members to have a successful employee experience. When asked what she enjoys the most about her job, Ngoc wrote "the best part about my job is the people. I have been very fortunately to have the opportunity to work closely with the Front Office and Event Staff at all levels of the organization. There is so much variety in my job and it is never boring. I feel like I've grown the most during the pandemic year, working with our Front Office team to pull off the 60-game season in 2020, open for the 9,000 fans limited capacity, and hopefully we will reopen the ballpark at full capacity again soon. All year round, Team Members are doing all of the incredible work behind-the-scenes and when gates open, it's "showtime" and it all comes to fruition - we're all part of creating unforgettable experiences for our employees and fans."

What helps you feel most connected to your heritage as a member of the AAPI community?

"I feel most connected to my heritage through authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Everyone knows pho and banh mi nowadays, but that's only been in the last decade. I grew up in a time when teachers told my parents to speak only English at home, to assimilate, to downplay one's culture and heritage; and growing up in a small community, we were one of the few families of color, period (like two Black families and two Asian families in my elementary school). As the AAPI community grew, I still felt like I didn't completely "belong" because I was born in the U.S. but wasn't white and wasn't accepted by the Vietnamese immigrants because I wasn't born in Vietnam. Growing up, every month or two, my family would drive to Seattle or Vancouver BC to buy groceries, because local stores didn't sell ingredients for Vietnamese cooking. My mom is an incredible cook and we always had the best food - my parents ran a Vietnamese food booth at the annual church festival for several years and my mom was famous for her eggrolls! As society learns to embrace different cultures, for which I am grateful to live in Seattle because diversity is more readily accepted and celebrated here, I'm able to share my Vietnamese self, which like my parents is through food. I have a Pinterest board of my favorite Vietnamese foods (but I can't cook any of it), I can read Vietnamese only on a menu (and have to call my dad to tell me how to pronounce), and I can tell you it's "real" if it tastes like my mom makes it.

Melissa is in her 4th year with the Seattle Mariners where she oversees the Guest Experience team and day-to-day operations. She interacts with both guests and Team Members on a daily basis and has the opportunity to create unforgettable experiences for Mariners fans. She was born and raised in Seattle, Washington and currently reside in Puyallup, Washington with her husband, Shaun and her French Bulldog, Moose. Melissa serves as a member of the Mariners IDEA Alliance and is a mentor for the Hometown Nine.

What helps you feel most connected to your heritage as a member of the AAPI community?

"As a member of the AAPI community, what helps me feel most connected to my heritage is being able to spend time with my family and share a traditional meal. Pre-COVID, we'd host family gatherings once a month and made any and every excuse to get together. Growing up, you were taught to respect your elders and that everyone was considered an Auntie or an Uncle. Family was (and still is) the most important thing and sticking together and supporting each other is a non-negotiable. I was also a part of the Seattle Chinese Community Girls Drill Team for 11+ years. I was a second generation drill team girl and followed in my Mom's and Auntie's footsteps. I spent my summers with other girls who looked like me and learned how to find my own sense of self by watching other Asian women succeed."

Tara started with the Mariners as a ball-girl and seasonal event staff employee. She describes her time as a ball-girl as "truly a dream job at age 16," and soon realized not only was she passionate about the sport of baseball, but also about being a part of the Mariners organization. "This was where I wanted to be - where my heart was and where I wanted to grow," Tara says. Tara joined the Front Office in 2011 and started in her current role in 2017, where she administers the Front Office health benefits and the Mariners 401(k) plan.

What helps you feel most connected to your heritage as a member of the AAPI community?

"I was adopted from South Korea by an Italian family when I was 3 months old. In 2015, I decided to make the "trip home" to meet my biological mother, brother, and grandmother for the first time. I was finally able to see where I came from and begin to understand the complexity of what brought me here. Every day I strive to teach my kids about self-acceptance and self-love and to affirm their experiences in ways that celebrate and acknowledge their cultural heritage. I try to remind them that everyone has their own story, and I have hope that for my mixed race daughter and son, with their eyes that kiss at the corners, that people everywhere will start to learn how to value and acknowledge everyone's identity!"

Mason's role with the Mariners is to help the business side of the organization collect, analyze, and report on data to help make informed data-based decisions and optimize business processes and procedures. His love for baseball began at a young age since his father is a 25+ year Mariners Season Ticket Member. He has many fond memories going to games with his dad and learning everything he could about the sport. Mason is originally from Seattle and is a proud Ingraham High School and University of Washington alumnus. Mason also serves as a mentor for the Hometown Nine.

What helps you feel most connected to your heritage as a member of the AAPI community?

"Growing up I always felt distant from my Japanese heritage. My dad grew up in Chicago, so my immediate family were far from my extended family in California. As a Japanese American family in the Midwest, they didn't have the community to embrace their Japanese heritage. I wasn't exposed my AAPI culture like other kids, so as I've gotten older one of my personal goals has been to reconnect with my Japanese heritage. To do so, I have worked to connect more with my extended family both in the US and in Japan to learn more about my family's history, participating in Obon festivals in the Seattle area, and am learning how to speak Japanese."

Renée graduated from the University of Washington in 2003 with a double major in Political Science and Communications. After working in the non-profit sector for her first year out of college, she took a job as an Assistant Buyer at Macy's which incorporated her previous experience at the Gap as their Visual Merchandising Lead. She then found the perfect opportunity at the Seattle Mariners which combined her passion for fashion and sports. Renée stared as the Retail Marketing Manager/Buyer - Women's and Kids and stayed in that role for 9 years. Now, she oversees the buying department as the Director of Retail Merchandising. She is responsible for the overall product selection and retail marketing for the Mariners Team Store. Renée works closely with licensees such as Nike, New Era and '47 Brand on product design, marketing initiatives and visual displays. The best part of her job is seeing fans wearing Mariners product at T-Mobile Park and in the community!

What helps you feel most connected to your heritage as a member of the AAPI community?

"My parents immigrated from South Korea when they were teenagers and my siblings and I were all born in the US. My childhood was definitely a blend of both Korean and American cultures. I had to attend Korean school every Saturday which of course was not the most fun way to spend your weekend as a child! But as I look back, I am thankful that I was educated on not only the Korean language but also Korean culture including learning about holidays, songs and traditions. I primarily speak Korean to my grandparents and still celebrate Korean holidays with my family. I feel connected to my heritage and the AAPI community by making sure I'm passing down generational knowledge from my grandparents and parents to my children. It's been so much fun teaching my 2 children about their Korean heritage. They think it's super cool that they have 2 names (English and Korean) and one of my fondest memories this past year is when my son taught his first grade class how to say "hello!" in Korean during their morning Zoom greetings.

Francesca Taporco, a former softball player and lifelong sports fan, has worked for the Seattle Mariners for 6 years. Her current role is working as the Merchandise Assistant, which means she supports buying all of our apparel and souvenirs for the Team Stores and ballpark. She began working for the Mariners at the Westlake Team Store then was hired to the Front Office after graduating from the University of Washington in 2017. Outside of work and being a big Seattle sports fan, she is a music enthusiast and book lover. Francesca is a member of the Mariners IDEA Alliance and also serves as a mentor on the Hometown Nine.

What helps you feel most connected to your heritage as a member of the AAPI community?

"There are many things that help me feel connected to my Filipino heritage, but what helps me feel most connected is my family, especially spending time with my cousins and gathering around delicious Filipino food together."

Resources to Support AAPI