As May closes, so does the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month. This past month, filled with celebrations and cultural appreciation, like the Filipino Fiesta, the Micronesia Festival, and the Marshallese Constitution Day, has allowed us to reflect on the importance of AANHPI heritage, contributions, and achievements. Recognizing and celebrating AANHPI fosters a more profound sense of unity and understanding in our community. However, our efforts must extend beyond a single month.
During my morning routine of consuming my daily news, I came across an article that left me quite speechless:
A recently published study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reveals that young Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have the highest rates of cancer death among people their age in the United States. This study highlights the significant health inequities and further indicates a systemic issue in healthcare access, treatment, and support. Most importantly, this study underscores the urgency to address these disparities, especially for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and this requires targeted efforts to improve access to culturally appropriate and sensitive healthcare services.
While AANHPI Heritage Month serves as a catalyst for celebration and reflection, what comes next? It is imperative to remember that the significance of this month extends beyond these conversations, and the struggles faced by the AANHPI community persist long after May. It is not enough to confine our efforts to a single month; we must commit to long-term advocacy and support. We need to translate the momentum that was AANHPI Heritage Month into tangible actions that uplift and empower our AANHPI communities.