May has been an important month for me for almost my entire professional career doing policy work in Washington, DC. As Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM), it has served as an opportunity to focus on the communities I’ve served, lift up issues such as immigration, cultural and linguistic competence, and address anti-Asian violence and racial discrimination. From its modest beginnings in 1977 when it was just the first week of May, to 1992 when it became officially designated for the entire month, it was chosen initially to recognize both the completion of the transcontinental railroad and the role Chinese laborers played there as well as the arrival of the first cohort of Japanese immigrants.
April 30th marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the U.S. war in Vietnam. Between 1965 and 1975, the war took the lives of over 58,000 Americans and at least 1,000,000 Vietnamese. Without Congressional approval, the U.S. also secretly dropped the equivalent of a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24 hours a day, for 9 years on the small country of Laos, and carpeted northern and eastern Cambodia with ordnance over the course of the war. In Cambodia, the end of the Vietnam War marked the beginning of the terror of the Khmer Rouge genocide, which killed approximately.... Read More
Raising Awareness and Eliminating Health Disparities for National Minority Cancer Awareness Week
When I’ve given trainings to healthcare and social services providers about cancer in the LGBTQ communities, I always find it interesting to ask the audience, “Does it matter who a breast lump spent Valentine’s Day with?” Or, “Does it matter what country the lump’s grandparents were born in?” Most participants say, overwhelmingly, no, a lump is a lump is a lump: we should treat patients the same irrespective of their racial and ethnic backgrounds or their sexual orientation. But as we’ve learned this National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, cancer affects different populations differently, and minority groups in the United States continue to bear a greater cancer burden.
Much of this difference is due to factors like poverty and lack.... Read More
Support Groups for Survivors: Commemorating National Minority Cancer Awareness Week
In 2013, the National LGBT Cancer Network and LGBT HealthLink surveyed over 300 LGBTQ-identified cancer survivors and found that, overwhelmingly, our communities needed LGBTQ-targeted support. Mainstream, “straight-identified” cancer support groups too often left our people’s cancer experiences shut out of the dialogue. LGBTQ survivors also told us that doctors were not open enough to our needs and sometimes were overtly hostile. Cancer support groups by and for LGBTQ members were the number one request made by survivors who participated.... Read More
We Honor Our Past & Embrace Our Present Movements for Justice At podium: Harry Belfonte, Folk Trio Peter, Paul and Mary To the left of the podium: Bayard Rustin, A. Phillip Randolph, John Lewis, Coretta Scott King Location: Alabama State Capitol, Montgomery, AL (March 25,1965) Photo Credit: Ray Ariatti | Photo Courtesy: Walter Naegle
On March 7, 2015, President Obama lead the nation and world in commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. The horrific events of “Bloody Sunday”.... Read More
White House Conference on Aging: This Time it’s Personal
The last time the White House Conference on Aging happened, back in 2005, I was personally in a major life transition: I had just taken a new job, moved across the country, and was too busy planning my new life in Los Angeles as a young 30-something to think about the Washington, DC I was leaving behind, much less be concerned with the “aging communities” that I was probably too self-absorbed to care about at the time.
Ten years later, as the White House Conference on Aging gears up for its once-in-a-decade incarnation this summer, my life has changed dramatically in many ways. With my parents in retirement age and me well into my forties, I am much more.... Read More
Collecting Stories from Our Communities: The Diverse Elders Stories Initiative
Some of our greatest tools to make positive change on behalf of our constituents are stories from older adults, their loved ones, advocates and community members that illustrate the struggles and triumphs of aging as people of color or LGBTQ people. We share these stories with the public on our blog and through social media to raise awareness of the issues that affect diverse elders. Your stories also allow us to show policymakers the faces behind their proposed policies and programs. With your stories, we are able to advocate for the needs of diverse elders more effectively.
It is fascinating to watch the demographic changes that have transpired in Washington, DC since World War II. Seventy years ago, our Nation’s Capital was predominantly White. Blacks lived in most of Northeast except the Brookland area, in Northwest around Florida Avenue and U Street, in all of Foggy Bottom, and in Southwest Washington. Neighborhoods west of 16th Street NW were red-lined where Blacks could not rent apartments nor buy property. The Anacostia neighborhood, which includes Ward 8, was totally White, as was Anacostia High School.
I caught up with Birendra Dhakal of the BAG to learn more about the partnership, and how consumers responded to the various trainings to support them in enrolling in health insurance, either through the.... Read More
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Looking Out for Each Other
Throughout my time in healthcare education and advocacy, particularly when working with LGBT people and people of color, I have heard so many heartbreaking stories about HIV/AIDS. Living in fear, losing friends and family, lack of information about and access to care – the specter of this disease looms large, particularly over those underserved communities. I remember watching Marlon Riggs’ “Ethnic Notions” in college and then being devastated to learn that we had lost this powerful and talented voice to the AIDS epidemic. This disease has taken far too many of our friends, family members, heroes, and compatriots.
The Diverse Elders Coalition joins Community Catalyst for their latest Health Equity webinar
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers a unique opportunity to address racial and ethnic health disparities for individuals who are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, sometimes referred to as “dual eligibles.” The dual eligible population is disproportionately non-white and they experience a high rate of health disparities. Through provisions of the ACA, more than a dozen states are launching demonstration projects focused on improving care for vulnerable dually eligible Americans. But very few states are using this new opportunity to address racial and ethnic health disparities, even though the demonstration design.... Read More
Webinar: Marketplace Outreach for Diverse Populations – Thurs. Sept. 25 at 2pm EDT
Call in number: 1-877-267-1577 Meeting ID: 995 471 476
No advanced registration is required.
Jeanette Contreras, MPP, Outreach Lead – Partner Relations Group, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Jonathan Tran, California Policy and Advocacy Manager, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) Patrick Aitcheson, Interim National Coordinator, Diverse Elders Coalition
Who should attend? Advocates. Policy makers. Older adults. Funders. Anyone interested in learning more about ACA enrollment as we approach the start of.... Read More