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APIAHF Highlights HHHRC’s Work

Earlier this month, HHHRC was profiled by the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) in its Community Highlights series. APIAHF is the oldest and largest health advocacy organization working with Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander communities across the nation, in the US Territories, and with the US-affiliated Pacific jurisdictions. The series outlines community-informed strategies promoting health equity.

The paper, “Centering the Lived Experiences of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders Living with HIV and Viral Hepatitis,” is available in full online.

“What I always think about is why so many people, whether it’s by the medical system or law-making bodies, can just think of people like they don’t count? Every policy change we want to enact starts with someone in power understanding that these individuals have values,” said Trisha Kajimura, HHHRC Deputy Director-Community.

“Highlighting the intersection of race, poverty, illness, and stigma is important in reducing structural harms and pursuing more just and compassionate policies,” added Nikos Leverenz, Grants & Advancement Manager.

One example Leverenz pointed to was HHHRC publicly advocating for an end to sweeps of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness in the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and also ensuring that access to potable water and bathrooms were available. “We were one of few voices out there during very precarious time, defending the ability of already dispossessed people to access basic needs,” he said.

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