Joint Statement by HHS Secretary Becerra, Ambassador Tai, Erika Moritsugu, and Krystal Ka‘ai in Celebration of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
Today, in celebration of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai – Co-Chairs of both the White House Initiative and the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders – along with Deputy Assistant to the President and AA and NHPI Senior Liaison Erika Moritsugu, and White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI) Executive Director Krystal Ka‘ai, released the following joint statement:
"Every May, we honor the rich histories of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and recognize their central role in strengthening the fabric of our nation. The immeasurable contributions of AA and NHPI communities touch the lives of every American, and we celebrate their enduring strength and resilience.
"This Heritage Month is also a reminder that AA and NHPIs have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, risking their lives to save others even as the virus has uniquely devastated their communities – particularly Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Furthermore, our hearts have been repeatedly shattered by unconscionable attacks on Asian elders, women, and other vulnerable groups over the past year.
"The Biden-Harris Administration continues to work with urgency to provide direct relief, tackle inequities, and ensure that AA and NHPIs have the resources to lead healthy lives as we recover from this crisis. We will keep working together to build a future where no one fears violence, and all can live in safety and prosperity."
With the pandemic disproportionately affecting communities of color including AA and NHPIs, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has become a vital hub for the Biden-Harris Administration's work to provide relief and care to these underserved communities.
In a snapshot, HHS agencies have:
- Administered COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses to millions of AA and NHPI community members.
- Provided significant funding to health care entities and organizations serving AA and NHPIs to aid their response to COVID-19.
- Relaunched and reinvigorated the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI) and the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, as directed through Executive Order 14031.
- Translated vital patient education and COVID-19 testing resources into multiple Asian languages.
- Awarded grants to drive better health research and data focused on AA and NHPI communities, reduce language access barriers, and support AA and NHPI survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.