The Biden-Harris administration hosted a White House forum at George Washington University on May 3 in honor of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.
The daylong event featured panels with industry experts and politicians including a discussion with Vice President Kamala Harris. The forum drew more than 1,300 attendees and was themed “Visible Together.”
The first two panels discussed mental health—the intersectionality of AAPI culture and mental health, including the pressure placed on AAPI children to succeed, and the need to expand the behavioral health workforce to be more culturally competent and diverse,
Vice President Harris discussed her Indian American heritage and actions the Biden administration has taken to protect AAPI communities from gun violence in a discussion moderated by Jerry Won, CEO of Just Like Media, and Poorna Jagannatha, an actress who stars in Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever” TV show.
Harris said being raised in a family and community where there was a “real fight” to uphold the importance of independence and identity is part of her story. Harris said there has been a “horrendous rise” in hate crimes toward Asian communities and that the Biden administration has passed smart gun safety legislation when asked about what the administration has done to protect AAPI communities from gun violence. She said the administration has “more to do” and advocated for a national assault weapons ban, background checks, and red-flag laws.
Poet Rupi Kaur, actor Daniel Dae Kim, producer and transgender rights advocate Geena Rocero, and CEO of Hawaiian creative firm Gravitas Pasifika Aaron Sala discussed AAPI art and identity with moderator Bing Chen, CEO of the Asian creative nonprofit Gold House.
Kim said it is “really important” for people outside the AAPI community to continue their support of Asian American art, citing the recent success of award-winning international movies like “Parasite,” and “Everything Everywhere All At Once.”
The full list of speakers and performers can be found on the White House forum website.