Who is Making Asian American Pacific Islander History in 2021: The GMA Inspiration List

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebrates the contributions of one of the fastest-growing groups of people living in the United States. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders contain multitudes. They are a global community with a homegrown and unique perspective on America.

Their diversity expands continents and demographics. The hopes and dreams of the AAPI community are America at its finest, and its people and traditions are those that are tightly stitched into the fabric of the nation. The American dream is alive and well within the AAPI community, and we’ve gathered so many of those dreams here throughout this inspiring list of individuals.

We’re publishing The GMA Inspiration List as the community asserts its voice — speaking out and standing up as anti-Asian violence has spread amid the COVID-19 pandemic; defining itself on its own terms; and increasing awareness of their collective history and future in the United States.

The month of May is a time to remember those who have enriched the community and others with knowledge, pride and respect. We recognize that work, those struggles and the vision for the future of the AAPI community, and reflect on the idea that their history is at the heart of American history.

Welcome to the GMA INSPIRATION LIST: Who’s Making AAPI History Right Now?

Good Morning America and ABC News asked influential AAPI leaders, celebrities, intellectuals, entrepreneurs, athletes and more to nominate fellow members of the community for the list. It’s important to note: the vastness of the AAPI community means it has deep ties in countries of origin, which includes the rich Asian global diaspora. To honor the global community, we’ve provided space for nominators who do not identify as American. Most of the nominations on the list are rising stars on the cusp of becoming household names, whose influence, we believe, will become monumental. They are those who are doing the work, gaining success and sharing their talent … and making history right now.

America, meet the next generation of AAPI excellence. James Hong nominates Chris Naoki Lee

As an actor who has been a part of this business for nearly 70 years, it has been inspiring to see the rise in work from the Asian community, and I am proud to acknowledge Chris Naoki Lee as an up and coming artist. This industry certainly tries to put you in a box, or tries to make you stay in your own lane, but just as I had learned to weave my career into what it is today, I see Chris making similar bold choices as well. Not only does he work as an actor, but he continues to adapt and evolve in the fields of writing, directing, and producing. […]

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Breaking down the reality and history of mental health stigmas within America’s AAPI communities

AAPI mental health stigmas have only been exacerbated amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Hannah Xu Throughout the month of May, the U.S. celebrates the history, culture, traditions, diversity and many contributions of the AAPI community with Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The month of May was chosen for two reasons. One is to commemorate the first wave of Japanese immigrants to the U.S. on May 7, 1843.

Between 1886 and 1911, 400,000-plus Japanese women and men immigrated to the states, particularly to Hawaii and the West Coast.

In memory of the arrival of Manjiro , the 14-year-old fisherman who is considered to be America’s first Japanese immigrant, Congress established May as AAPI Heritage month.

May also marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.

The Central Pacific Railroad, the company that built the western portion of the railroad, employed more than 10,000 Chinese laborers, yet their hard work has often been glossed over in history.

Even at a ceremony in 1969, marking the 100th anniversary of the completion of the railroad, centennial officials agreed to set aside part of the ceremony to pay homage to the Chinese workers who helped build the railroad, but they neglected to fulfill this promise — in a way that stung like a scorpion.

Instead, the then-Transportation Secretary, John A. Volpe, attributed the achievement to Americans, saying: “Who else but Americans could drill 10 tunnels in mountains 30 feet deep in snow?”

Volpe mentioned some of the backbreaking and hazardous work that was performed by a labor force consisting of 90% Chinese migrants, who were ineligible to become citizens under federal law, but they received nothing more than a passing mention. The five minutes of recognition that was promised to these migrant workers was never given. Thus, each May that passes, the AAPI community acknowledges this labor effort and reflects on the many ways in which Asian immigrants shaped this country.

For the 31 days of May, mental health advocates, organizations and those living with mental illnesses observe the importance of taking care of one’s mental wellness, and shed light on the issues that permeate the mental health industry, like inaccessibility, injustices within treatment centers, and the stigma that hinders people from seeking help.

The word stigma is defined by the Cambridge English dictionary as “a strong feeling of disapproval that most people in a society have about something.”

Stigma, prejudice and discrimination against people with mental illness is extremely normalized and can be seen in several sectors of society.

Mainstream media coverage of complex illnesses, such as psychosis and schizophrenia, tend to emphasize portrayals of violence, unpredictability and danger to others, despite the fact that close to 96% of violent crimes are committed by people who […]

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Mental health: the new top priority

Mental health: the new top priority

Kai Humphrey, 9, has been learning from home for more than a year. He badly misses his Washington, D.C., elementary school, along with his friends and the bustle of the classroom.

“I will be the first person ever to have every single person in the world as my friend,” he said on a recent Zoom call, his sandy-brown hair hanging down to his shoulder blades. From Kai, this kind of proclamation doesn’t feel like bragging, more like exuberant kindness.

But when Kai’s school recently invited him back, he refused. That’s because his worry list is long, topped by his fear of getting COVID-19 and giving it to his 2-year-old sister, Alaina. She was born with a heart condition, Down syndrome and a fragile immune system. To her, the disease poses a mortal threat, and he is her protector, the only one who can make her giggle breathlessly.

Kai also worries about being separated from his mom, Rashida Humphrey-Wall. His biological father died in 2014, and she remains his rock, his mama bear and occasional taekwondo partner. He sometimes visits her bedside in the middle of the night just to check on her.

This pandemic has been stressful for millions of children like Kai. Some have lost a loved one to COVID-19, and many families have lost jobs, their homes and even reliable access to food. If that stress isn’t buffered by caring adults, it can have lifelong consequences.

“Children have had extended exposure to chaos, crisis and uncertainty,” said Dr. Matt Biel, a child psychiatrist at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

But there’s some good news for children like Kai: Educators across the country said their top priority right now isn’t doubling down on math or reading — it’s helping students manage pandemic-driven stress.

“If kids don’t return to school and get a lot of attention paid to security, safety, predictability and reestablishing of strong, secure relationships, (they) are not gonna be able to make up ground academically,” Biel said.

To reestablish relationships in the classroom — and help children cope with the stress and trauma of the past year — mental health experts say educators can start by building in time every day, for every student, in every classroom to share their feelings and learn the basics of naming and managing their emotions. Think morning circle time or, for older students, homeroom.

At Irene C. Hernandez Middle School in Chicago, teacher Lilian Sackett starts off each day by checking in with students, then diving into a short lesson on mindfulness and other social-emotional skills.

“We need to allow the students to share their experiences with the pandemic and to give them that safe space (to) talk about it,” Sackett said.

What’s more, she said, children can benefit a lot from just a few minutes each day of classwide calm. When she found out her students love Bob Ross and his tranquil, televised painting lessons from the 1980s and ’90s, Sackett decided to work him into their morning routine.

Continue reading the rest at www.newstribune.com

How to Build a Culture of Inclusivity Starting With Your Kids

How to Build a Culture of Inclusivity Starting With Your Kids

I’m a parent of three children, ages 8, 10, and 13, with mixed identities. We’re Brown first- and second-generation Americans descended from Indian and Pakistani immigrants.

As a result, I’ve been keenly aware of how my kids are relating to their identities as they engage in their own paths of self-discovery.

Each has grappled in their own way with understanding how they “fit” into their surroundings. They code-switch and accentuate aspects of their identity like race, family background, and family culture to better assimilate in their communities.

When we traveled around the world as a family for a year, we all got a lot of practice in code-switching techniques. In each country, we accentuated the aspects of our identity that helped us assimilate, to be included by the community as one of their own instead of transactional tourists.

For example, in the 4-plus months that we traveled through Central and South America, we leaned into our Spanish-speaking skills and brown skin to facilitate friendships with locals.

In Cuba, we were proud when we were mistaken for Cubanos and relished an Indian shopkeeper’s delight when our bargaining language switched from Spanish to Hindi.

We loved feeling like locals but were aware of our differences, a balance that kept us culturally humble and hungry to learn.

The feeling of inclusion is powerful, yet it’s easy to take for granted when you’re used to it. Perhaps the best way to capture the power of inclusivity is to remember the painful feeling of its opposite.

Recall the hurt of realizing you weren’t invited to the birthday party or weren’t welcome to sit at the “cool” lunch spot at school. Remember those moments when you weren’t let in on the secret or didn’t get the “inside joke” that others shared?

Exclusion stings. It makes us feel like we are the “other.” We aren’t extended the acceptance, approval, and empathy afforded to those who are included.

In addition to the feeling of exclusion, we can look to science. Research tells us that social relationships affect a number of health outcomes, including physical and mental health.

A sense of belonging makes us feel that we aren’t alone, increasing our ability to cope more effectively with hardships. In other words, the stronger the connections and ties are to the communities we’re exposed to and identify with, the more resilient and empathetic we are likely to become. Here’s the catch. If we find inclusion and a sense of belonging only in like-minded people, we perpetuate implicit biases and discrimination. Put another way, creating “inclusion” through the act of excluding others falsely empowers a few while harming the larger community. For instance, the concept of patriotism hinges upon whether someone […]

Continue reading the rest at www.healthline.com

Recovering from the Emotional Challenges of the Pandemic

Recovering from the Emotional Challenges of the Pandemic

“Children are developing their sense of routine and structure, and when there is a stressor or trauma like a pandemic, all elements of their lives are affected,” the clinical psychologist Dr. Archana Basu says.Source photograph by Jessica Rinaldi / Boston Globe / Getty

With Americans being vaccinated at a rate of more than two million shots per day, attention has begun to turn to life after the pandemic. But public-health officials are increasingly concerned that more than half a million deaths in this country alone and a year of isolation, closed schools, and lost jobs have had traumatic effects on many Americans, especially children. To talk about what those effects might be, and how to insure that people get the care and support they need, I recently spoke by phone with Dr. Archana Basu, a clinical psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a research scientist at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed how children and adults deal with trauma, the distinct challenges facing young adults, and how lessons from the pandemic can be used to improve mental-health care going forward.

When it became clear that a pandemic was going to change our lives, what were you most concerned about, in terms of mental health?

As was the case for a majority of Americans, I don’t think I expected what the horizon for the pandemic would be. I doubt that most of my colleagues really anticipated it would last as long as it has. We absolutely expected that there would be an increase in mental-health concerns and some level of distress, because that would be a very typical reaction to an extreme pervasive stressor or trauma, like a pandemic. And we’ve seen this in the past with other mass disasters. There is an increase in mental-health concerns and distress, and then once safety is reëstablished and a sense of routine is reëstablished, we see a decline and a return to baseline for the overwhelming majority of people, including children. What that’s really saying is we are very adaptable, certainly as humans, and as kids. It is with the prolonged period, such as the one we are experiencing now, that we start to worry about more long-term and more pervasive effects.

What effects, specifically?

We are hearing about an increase in rates of severe anxiety and depression-related concerns. We also know that this may have been even more challenging for people who were already struggling with mental-health concerns. There is emerging data to show that rates of self-injuring behaviors have increased as well. The fact is that is what we would expect, and we are seeing a really broad spectrum of mental-health and behavioral concerns. However, I do want to point out that I don’t think this is going to be limited to mental-health concerns. I think there are other parts of our children’s lives where we’re going to see those effects. Some of that might be physical health. Pediatricians have been very concerned about the amount of exercise that children are getting. And there is emerging data to show that sleep- and weight-related issues might be other examples of physical-health concerns.

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PROOF POINTS: Later school start time gave small boost to grades but big boost to sleep, new study finds

Later school start time gave small boost to grades but big boost to sleep, new study finds

A Minnesota study of 18,000 students whose schools switched to a later start time found kids slept more but posted only slightly higher grades. The physical and mental health benefits of getting a good night’s sleep are indisputable. What’s less clear is whether starting school later in the morning will prompt kids to sleep more and consequently learn more during the school day. Fewer studies have looked at academic achievement after a later morning bell. Some have found improved student performance. Some haven’t. A new study in Minnesota documents what happened to 18,000 students in grades 5 through 11 after four school districts postponed the start of the school day by 20 to 65 minutes. Student grades increased a little, raising students’ grade point averages by an extra 0.1 points, on average. That’s the equivalent of moving from, say, a B average of a 3.1 to a B average of a 3.2. Despite concerns that kids would just stay up later at night if school started later in the morning, many students reported sleeping more. After the switch in start times, students were 16 percent more likely to meet the recommended hours of sleep, which is nine or more hours for students in grades 5 and 8 and at least eight hours for students in grades 9 and 11. Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the Bloomington, Minnesota, public schools characterized the academic benefits as “small” but the sleep increases as “large.” The study was instigated by the […]

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