This month Dang is empowering and recognizing the historical and cultural contributions from our AAPI communities all month long - and after May too.

As of 2009, May became the month to recognize the influences and culture of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans in our communities. To celebrate AAPI Heritage Month, our Dang team is sharing touching, personal accounts of how Asian Americans have been a part of their lives leaving a lasting, positive impact.

Niwat Kitirattragarn

"My Dad was born in Thailand, as one of 8 children who sometimes didn't have enough to eat. The only way out of poverty was through education. He earned the top spot in his class and earned a scholarship to attend college, then graduate school in the US. Afterward, he started two successful import businesses and created hundreds of jobs. It's a privilege to learn valuable life lessons from him - I owe everything to him and as I recently became a parent, I will work to be as good a father as he is."

Vincent Kitirattragarn,
Founder of Dang Foods


Anne Mary

"I look up to Anne Mary (@ampham) because she is not afraid to go after what she wants. She found her passion for working in dental while also being a DJ, doing food pop ups (@anchoibep), and hosting a podcast called sitdownbehungry. I admire her incredible work ethic and for being authentically herself. Not only is she willing to stand up for herself, she is willing to do it for others as well. She is passionate, beautiful, caring, and I am so lucky to have her as a friend."

Meghan Corbett,
Logistics Manager at Dang Foods


Michael Pham

"I met Michael Pham in 2012, when he was a junior in high school. Michael (@lilmike94pham) also volunteered as extra help with an organization I was part of at the time, Active 20-30, which focuses on at risk youth and providing support for those that really need it. The kids we helped were homeless, facing homelessness, have food insecurity issues, or have been victims of abuse. Michael showed up to all of our events ready to help and most of the kids he was helping were not much younger (or older) than he was at the time. His desire to help, his infectious smile and positive attitude were always welcome by all of our club members.

Michael was born in Oakland, CA and is the son of Vietnam immigrants. He graduated from high school in 2013 and went right to Cal Berkeley where he graduated with a Bachelors in Integrative Biology and will be the first in his family to obtain 2 Masters Degrees (Masters of Public Administration from CSU East Bay and a Masters of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins). As if that seems like it should be enough, he was recently awarded an Administrative Fellowship at Stanford Healthcare.

His desire and ability to learn and grow are nothing short of amazing. Michael has cerebral palsy, but he has never let that stop him, ever! When you meet Michael, and speak with him, you don’t see the disability, or a person of color, you see a determined, smart, sophisticated, inspired young man who sees no limits for himself.

If more people could have Michael’s outlook on life, the world would be a much better place. I met Michael when I was in my 30’s and thought I knew about life, he has shown me how wrong I was and continues to be an inspiration to me and all that meet him."

Kimberly Belmonte,
Operations Manager at Dang Foods

Maria Steinberg

"Maria is my earliest mentor,and has had a substantial impact on my life. I wouldn't be where I am today without her guidance and support in shaping me as a young professional. I was lucky to work under her for over 6 years and am now lucky to call her my friend. This strong woman stands up for what she believes in, speaks out when she needs to, and I've always been able to count on her to have my back.

With successful marketing careers at IBM and in the Food & Bev Industry, Maria continues to contribute her knowledge, intellect, and passion for culture and food as a professor and published writer. She is always pushing herself to learn and grow at every stage in her life and inspires me to try new things and step out of my comfort zone.

America is a better place with contributions like Maria's. We're inspired by her eloquent writing, lifted up by her sassy yet classy spirit, and better off through her work at various organizations like the New York Women's Culinary Alliance. Maria (@gingsteinberg) exemplifies grace in all she does."

Lindsay Naple,
Director of eCommerce at Dang Foods

Jon Gomez AAPI Month

"Jon Gomez is at first a Friend of mine. After college we rented a house together in Berkeley. Jon (@yogomez) is funny, creative, and hard working, at one point we owned a business together. With his many talents he wooed my niece Tyler and they were married, now with two beautiful, smart, and funny little girls... Jon is family. I never thought of Jon as an Asian American, just an American; really just as a friend... Family... In light of recent events it breaks my heart to think that Jon, his little girls, or his larger family would be worried to go outside in a country that he is a part of. My life would have less love and laughter if Jon wasn't a part of it.

For me, Jon and his family are what make America great, Jon is great people. Great people make America a great place to live. I'm grateful to have Jon in my life and believe that he and all the Asian Americans making this up this country deserve to feel safe in their home. It is all of our jobs to make sure they do. Please go out of your way to support your friends of Asain heritage, let's show them our love!"

Joshua Gustafson,
Director of Sales at Dang Foods

Adena Ishii AAPI Month

"My wife, Adena Ishii, is one of the most accomplished people that I know. She was the youngest and 1st woman of color to be President of the League of Women Voters, Berkeley, Albany Emeryville. She is currently in law school at Santa Clara University, and she graduated from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

From Adena, I’ve learned that supporting our own communities can make the world a more equitable and inclusive place. I’m grateful to wake up everyday next to someone who is able to change the way I think for the better. I love you."

@adenaishii @lwvbae @santaclaralaw @berkeleyhaas @ucberkeleyofficial

Andrew Kitirattragarn,
CFO/COO of Dang Foods