Asian Health Services (AHS) is a health, social, and advocacy services provider that has been proudly supporting communities in Oakland since 1974. It was recently announced that The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) selected AHS to serve as the Oakland AAPI Action Center and act as the on-the-ground hub for fighting anti-AAPI hate locally. AHS is one of three AAPI Action Centers TAAF is investing in — the others are in Chicago and New York City — and all of the centers are now part of TAAF’s Anti-Hate National Network. You can read more about the network in a recent Washington Post story.
On November 5, 2021, AHS’ incoming CEO Julia Liou joined TAAF and Asian Art Museum’s After Hope Symposium for a panel discussion on “Creative Solutions for Belonging.” The panel was moderated by Sonal Shah, TAAF President, and included Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Founder of Define American, and Christine Wong-Yap, Bay Area artist-activist. They had an engaging discussion on how public artists, public policy leaders, and public health practitioners are advancing creative solutions for building cultures of belonging and keeping our communities safer. Liou spoke on how AHS approaches health care and advocacy with an understanding of a larger context of what belonging means, and how AHS’s measure of success is how many people are empowered to assert their right to healthcare so they can reach their highest health potential. A key part of reaching that goal involves AHS providing in-language services that understand the cultural background of the over 50,000 patients served each year.
At the reception following the panel to celebrate the launch of the TAAF AAPI Action Center in Oakland, AHS’ Julia Liou and incoming President Thu Quach and TAAF were joined by many honorable guests, with one of them, David Chiu, San Francisco’s first Asian American city attorney, quipping that, “This is the equivalent of the Asian American Hamilton room where it’s going to happen.” Those who spoke that night, which included Dr. Jay Xu, Director and CEO of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; Nikki Bas, Oakland City Council President; Eric Cheng, a Federal Prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California and Dave Andish from the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Justin Wok from the Department of Justice Community Relations Service Agency who liaises with AAPI community, noted the importance of having an action hub in Oakland and the partnership between AHS and TAAF to protect and support our AAPI neighbors, families, and friends.
Other notable attendees were Helen Zia, influential Chinese-American journalist and activist; SF State’s Professor Russell Jeung, who spearheaded the Stop AAPI Hate project; Audrey Yamamoto from the Asia Pacific Fund; and Sung Yeon Choimorrow, CEO of The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF).