May is an exciting month at the Diverse Elders Coalition. Our communities, which are so often left out of mainstream conversations, are highlighted nationally in two different ways during the month of May: not only is it Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which allows our AAPI elders take the spotlight, it is also Older Americans Month, which celebrates the legacies and supports the future of all of our diverse elders. We love seeing the many ways in which our communities are working together to honor each other during May and all throughout the year.
The theme for this year’s Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month is “Walk Together, Embrace Differences, Build Legacies.” I love this theme, not only because it celebrates the differences among the AAPI communities, but it also encourages us to find strength and support in those differences – a “connecting the dots” that the Diverse Elders Coalition believes in very strongly, not only for the AAPI communities, but for all communities. In particular, the DEC asks the world to look at those differences and legacies among people over 50. We believe strongly in intergenerational work, which allows youth to listen to, learn from, and support elders.
Which is why this new report from AARP and Asian Americans Advancing Justice is so timely. In a new study of Asian American older adults living in Los Angeles, AAPI elders were found to face major issues with regard to language barriers, educational attainment, income, housing, and health. (You can read the full report here.) Reports like this one, especially when paired with the personal stories of AAPI elders, like those in NAPCA’s Senior Voices series, help to paint a vivid picture of the lives of AAPI elders in the United States, and guide the organizations, philanthropists, and younger generations who want to support and honor them.
Concurrently, this year’s Older Americans Month theme is “Blaze A Trail.” All this Older Americans Month and AAPI Heritage Month, the Diverse Elders Coalition will be highlighting reports, events, and stories from the field as we blaze a trail for our elders of color, American Indian/Alaska Native elders, and LGBT elders – and as those elders continue to blaze a trail for themselves. Stay tuned to our blog, as well as our Facebook and Twitter accounts, for ways that you can get involved.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.