Recognizing Asian Americans With Disabilities in Honor of AAPI Heritage Month

On Wednesday, May 26, join RespectAbility for a celebration of representation and inclusion of disabled AAPI in media

Celebrating Representation and Inclusion of Disabled AAPI in Media

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, RespectAbility recognizes the contributions made by and important presence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the United States. There are more than 18 million Asian Americans in America today, of which 1,315,999 Asian Americans live with some form of physical, sensory, cognitive or other disability. In addition, there are 612,857 native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders living in the United States, of which approximately 64,782 have disabilities.

There are 537,908 working-age Asian Americans with disabilities. In the economic expansion prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian Americans with disabilities had one of the highest employment rates of the disability community, with fully 43.1% having jobs. By comparison, 76% of Asian Americans without disabilities had jobs prior to the pandemic.

At the same time, it is critical to recognize the societal barriers that still impact people with disabilities among the AAPI community. For example, 17.9% of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with disabilities live in poverty, compared to 10.6% of those without disabilities.

This year's celebration of AAPI Heritage Month is particularly important given the increase in racially-motivated hate crimes against Asian Americans since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a national study released by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, hate crimes in 2020 decreased overall by 7%, but those targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders rose by nearly 150%. These statistics are alarming, but unfortunately, they are only the tip of the iceberg.

"As a society, yet again, we are at a critical crossroads," said RespectAbility Vice Chair Ollie Cantos. "By coming together to amplify our voices, in the spirit of the great Mahatma Gandhi, we each get to BE the change we want to see."

RespectAbility is committed to shining the spotlight on individuals with disabilities who are members of the AAPI community:

  • Ollie Cantos: A Driving Force in Reshaping Intersectional Visibility
  • Sneha Dave: Super Talent Creates Network for Teens and Young Adults with Chronic Health Conditions
  • Tammy Duckworth: Senator Serves as Role Model for Many
  • Shaina Ghuraya: Triple Threat Creates Space for Spectacular Intersectional Stories to Grow
  • Abigail Heringer: The Bachelor Season 25's Frontrunner is a Deaf Contestant, and She's Already Stolen Our Hearts
  • Mazie Hirono: Hawaii Senator Recognized for Leadership as an Immigrant and as a Person with a Disability
  • Kannie Yu LaPack: I Was Diagnosed With Breast Cancer—Then Coronavirus Happened
  • Staff Spotlight on Vanni Le
  • Steve Lee: Disabled Comedian Breaks Down Stereotypes Through Jokes

Ten individuals will be speaking during RespectAbility's Celebrating Representation and Inclusion of Disabled AAPI in Media panel on May 26, 2021. Register and learn more on RespectAbility's website.

Press Contact:
Lauren Appelbaum:

Source: RespectAbility

About RespectAbility

RespectAbility is a nonpartisan nonprofit working with entertainment leaders, policy makers, educators, self-advocates, nonprofits, employers, philanthropists and journalists to fight stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities.

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