NWiR Feature: Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month with Sej (Sage) Sorathia, Chief Operating Officer
of Capitol Roofing Company in Clifton, New Jersey!

What do you embrace and love most about your culture?
I love everything about my Indian culture, especially when it comes to the
celebrations such as Diwali and Holi. The food is delicious and the
clothing that we get to wear for different events is my favorite. Oh,
and can’t forget about the great Bollywood songs!

What is something you want others to know about your heritage?
One important aspect of the Indian heritage that I would like others to
know is its incredible diversity. It’s home to so many different
traditions, practices, and belief systems. This heritage has
contributed to a remarkable mix of customs, arts, architecture,
literature, music, dance, and cuisine. Each state and region in India
has its own distinct traditions, festivals, and languages. Indian
heritage also places a strong emphasis on family and community
values. Respect for elders, hospitality, and the celebration of festivals
together are integral parts of Indian culture.

Have you faced any challenges in life because of your ethnicity?
My upbringing had many challenges due to my ethnicity. Growing up
there were not many Indians in my neighborhood, and I was bullied a
lot in middle school because I was Indian. As a child this was hard to
overcome but as years past, it got better. Our culture was more and
more embraced.

Who has been an inspiring figure throughout your life? How or why
has this person made an impact?
My Mom has always and will always be the most inspiring figure in my life, she came to this
country not knowing anything and her and my father created an
amazing life for my brother and me. My mom always worked when I
was growing up and she showed me what work ethic meant, what it
was like to work hard to get what you want, and that there were no
shortcuts in life. She taught me how to be disciplined in life and most
of all organized. I will forever be grateful to my mom for everything
she has ever and continues to teach me.

What is your favorite way to celebrate your heritage?
My favorite way to celebrate my heritage is through the all the amazing celebrations
we have from Diwali, to Holi, to Navratri. Especially when it comes to
the food, the traditional attire and just spending quality time with your