January 25, 2023
United by heartbreak in recent years, the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) and LGBTQ+ communities were invited to share perspectives at Sacramentocommunity forum.
It comes as the Asian American community is still reeling from back-to-back deadly shootings in both Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay.
At the Sacramento Headquarters of Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA), keynote speaker Marsha Aizumi spoke as a Japanese American mother to a transgender son, who battled mental health challenges.
"Now I hope they look and say I know a mother, and I know her son, and I hope that changes them," Aizumi said of those who heard her story.
Aizumi said it's too often that Asian Americans face their mental health struggles alone.
"I know in our Asian community, we don’t reach out for support in this area. Because of the stigma of, 'Oh, you can’t handle it.' It’s like you’re weak or you’re not strong enough," said Aizumi.
Sacramento County's first Asian American District Attorney Thien Ho said Asian Americans face barriers when it comes to seeking help from law enforcement too.
"Some of it deals with the language barrier, some of it deals with the cultural barrier, some of it deals with fear and distrust of law enforcement," said Ho. "So, as a partner in law enforcement, one of the things that we have to do is build a bridge and be that bridge to all communities."
Ho said representation is also key.
"Out of 2,400 elected DAs (district attorneys) in the country, I am only, currently, the fifth that is of Asian descent," said Ho.
That's one of the reasons Aizumi speaks out at events like APAPA's.
"The reason that I do this work is because I think it’s so important to have that visibility and voice, so that maybe somebody else will actually seek mental health," said Aizumi.