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.
A conversation with Quyen Dinh, Executive Director of the Southeast Asian Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
May was AAPI Heritage Month and this year’s theme was “I Am Beyond.” It is a phrase meant to evoke the rich and complex diversity of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. What does AAPI Heritage mean to you personally and as the ED of SEARAC?
I grew up in Orange County, California, and San Jose, California, homes to two of the largest Vietnamese American communities in the nation. Growing up in these communities to me meant seeing a lot of Asian faces.... Read More
Dion Wong: A conversation with a 69-year-old Chinese gay man (AAPI Heritage Month)
In recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, the Diverse Elders Coalition is featuring stories relevant to AAPI older adults (their successes, their struggles, their history) during May. A new story will be shared every Thursday with additional posts shared throughout the month. Be sure to visit diverseelders.org regularly during the month of May.
By Dion Wong
Dion Wong is a 69-year-old Chinese gay man. Retired since 2002, Dion was a middle school teacher for over 34 years in San Francisco and was married in Canada in 2006 to his partner, Benjamin Aquino, Jr. They have been together for 18 years. Read his experience as a gay Chinese man and his views on the broader.... Read More
Doing a better job of telling diverse elders’ stories, starting with AAPI Elders + an exciting reveal! (AAPI Heritage Month)
May is Older Americans Month. It’s also Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. As the National Coordinator of the Diverse Elders Coalition, I am honored to work alongside many diverse aging advocates, including leaders in the field of AAPI aging.
Partnering with our member organizations, the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) and the Southeast Asian Resource Action Center (SEARAC), I have become very intimate with the daily realities of AAPI elders and their loved ones. I’ve learned many lessons along the way, such as the silence of AAPI elders who identify as LGBT, to why the “model minority” myth is damaging to the AAPI elder.... Read More
Life Lessons from a Hmong Grandfather to His Granddaughter
The following is a guest post from SEARAC’s Bao Lor.
“Wake up, kids! It’s 6:30!” my grandpa said as he pulled off the blanket that covered my head. I moved around, pretending to stretch and then curling back into a ball. Through my squinted eyes, I could see that my siblings were still lying next to me. I popped my head up and looked at the alarm clock across the room. It read: 6:10. This was my daily routine growing up. I grew up with my grandparents taking care of me and my siblings since my parents were always.... Read More