May is a time to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and to recognize their tremendous historical and cultural contributions. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese people to the United States on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad that was built with significant contributions from Chinese workers.
In observance of AAPI Heritage Month, CHCANYS would like to highlight and acknowledge the community health centers across New York State who have been dedicated to uplifting AAPI communities, especially those health centers who specialize in providing services to Asian American and Pacific Islanders.
APICHA Community Health Center, formerly known as the Asian and Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS, was founded in 1989 to address unmet HIV/AIDS-related needs of Asians and Pacific Islanders in New York City. In 2009, after decades of HIV-focused practice, APICHA expanded their nationally recognized HIV care model to include general primary care and has since grown to include an LGBT clinic, STI clinic, and so much more. APICHA’s leadership, providers, and staff are committed to advocating for and increasing access to comprehensive primary care and preventive health services to the communities they serve, especially Asians and Pacific Islanders, the LGBT community, and individuals living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
Charles B. Wang Community Health Center’s origins date to July 31, 1971, when the very first Chinatown Health Fair was organized by volunteers to provide health education and screenings to the Chinese community in New York City. As a result of the positive response to the Fair and the growing need for healthcare services, the Chinatown Health Clinic was opened and was run entirely by volunteer providers, community partners, and students. The clinic grew into what is now known as the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center – a health center committed to providing high quality and affordable healthcare to all and building on their history and success in caring for Asian Americans.
These are just two of the amazing community health centers across New York State doing incredible work providing quality, affordable primary and preventive care to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. CHCANYS encourages you to learn more about the work that these incredible community health centers are doing.
CHCANYS would also like to recognize that this month of celebration and recognition of AAPI communities also comes at a time when AAPI communities are still experiencing heightened discrimination and racism. Stop AAPI Hate received 10,905 reports nationwide of anti-Asian incidents nationwide between March 19, 2020 – December 31, 2021. Of these reports, verbal harassment comprised 63% and physical assault comprised 16.2%.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is an opportunity and reminder for us all to do our part to support and uplift our AAPI communities, organizations, allies, friends, and families through education, dispelling misinformation, and being upstanders. We encourage you to learn more about how you can celebrate AAPI Heritage Month and be an upstander.
To learn more about AAPI history, check out these resources:
- Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: A collaborative project of several federal institutions, including the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, and National Endowment for the Humanities, displaying exhibits and collections that celebrate the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America's history.
- PBS Ancestors in the Americas: The website is an exploration of Asian American history and experiences.
- John Hopkins Medicine: National Asian Pacific Islander American Heritage Month article.
- National Proclamation: President Biden Proclamation on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
For information on becoming an upstander, check out these resources:
- Right to Be: Right To Be, formerly known as Hollaback!, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending harassment in all its forms by providing trainings, education, and space to address harassment.