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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

At the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s (MWRD’s) annual Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month program, Mia Park, a multi-dimensional Korean American artist, entertained, educated, enlightened and explained to guests and MWRD staff how the Asian American experience can be different from one household to another but especially in the various interests Park has been drawn to over her eclectic careers.

AAPI Event with Mia Park and Commissioners
(L-R): MWRD President Kari K. Steele, Vice President Patricia Theresa Flynn, Mia Park, Chairman of Finance Marcelino Garcia, Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos, Commissioner Dan Pogorzelski and Executive Director Brian Perkovich recognize Park following her remarks at the MWRD’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month program.

“My mom came to this country from Korea as a nurse. I play a nurse on TV, and now I am a nurse,” Park said during a lunchtime event held on May 14 at the MWRD’s Barbara J. McGowan Main Office Building in Chicago.

It’s all part of a fascinating odyssey since she arrived in Chicago in the 1990s and has since led her through rock bands, to TV shows, and teaching theater, yoga and Taiji, to bird watching and training to become a real nurse—and not only one who plays one on “Chicago Med.” Her myriad experiences came to the forefront during a fireside chat at the MWRD’s celebration to highlight the contributions of AAPI in the Chicago area.

Park highlighted the significant contributions of the AAPI community, underscoring the importance of recognizing and celebrating the diverse backgrounds that enrich the workforce and drive innovation in water management and environmental sustainability. 

“It was a pleasure hearing from someone passionate about both her cultural heritage and the mission of the MWRD,” said MWRD President Kari K. Steele. “Mia Park’s insights and stories not only celebrated the invaluable contributions of the AAPI community but also inspired us all to continue our efforts in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within our organization.”

AAPI Event with Mia Park and Commissioner Garcia
Mia Park has a fireside chat with MWRD Chairman of Finance Marcelino Garcia.

Park addressed the unique challenges faced by the AAPI community, both within the workplace and in society. She discussed the geographic expansiveness of the Asian and Pacific Islander nations and highlighted both the breadth of diversity and commonalities among the many countries while stressing the importance of being cognizant of the contributions of each nation. 

Park also celebrated the rich cultural heritage and traditions of the AAPI community. She shared personal stories, focusing heavily on self-health, meditation, breathing, exercise and diet, especially when it comes to proper hydration. By weaving these narratives into her remarks, she fostered a stronger sense of community and collaboration within the MWRD. 

“Having the opportunity to have a fireside chat with Mia is a powerful reminder of the strength that diversity brings to our organization,” said Chairman of Finance Marcelino Garcia. “Her heartfelt stories and practical insights will undoubtedly help us to build a more inclusive and dynamic workplace. I always appreciate our programs because they challenge us to take the time to learn about each other’s stories. It’s so important to know where we come from, so we can bridge cultures and build futures together.”

Watch the event recording

AAPI Event audience
AAPI Event Program
Press Release

Established in 1889, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is an award-winning, special purpose government agency responsible for wastewater treatment and stormwater management in Cook County, Illinois.


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