Hawaii Alliance of Pacific Islanders (HAPI)

Hawaii Alliance of Pacific Islanders (HAPI)

Hawaii Alliance of Pacific Islanders (“HAPI”) is an organization founded in 2022 with a mission to strengthen the unity amongst Pacific islanders in Hawaiʻi through community building programs that center social equity and cultural wellbeing. We define Pacific Islanders as the original inhabitants of, or people originating from the islands

Hawaii Alliance of Pacific Islanders (HAPI)

Hawaii Alliance of Pacific Islanders (“HAPI”) is an organization founded in 2022 with a mission to strengthen the unity amongst Pacific islanders in Hawaiʻi through community building programs that center social equity and cultural wellbeing. We define Pacific Islanders as the original inhabitants of, or people originating from the islands of Polynesia, Melanesia or Micronesia. We hold the Samoan/Tongan concepts of Tauhi Va/Va as the framework behind the programs we make. The work we do is guided by our Core Values of Stewardship, Accountability, Humility, Open-mindedness, Health, Humility, and Collaboration. We envision a future where Pacific Islanders in Hawai’i are rooted in their cultural identities, empowered to reach their full potential and are thriving in all areas of their lives. A future where we are also educated in becoming stewards of this land while supporting our Kanaka Maoli family. It is only together that we can cultivate this future. Although only officially founded a year ago, HAPI has been a member of the Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (NHPI) 3R Team (Response,Recovery, and Resilience), that was established in 2020 to identify and support initiatives across Hawaii working to address Covid-19 amongst NHPI and improve the health and wellbeing of NHPI in Hawaii. Our fiscal sponsor is Papa Ola Lōkahi, who has spearheaded programs and initiatives for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPI). They co-formed the Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (NHPI) Covid 19 Recovery, Response, and Resilience Team and formed the NHPI CHW Collaborative.

About the Organization:

Hawaii Alliance of Pacific Islanders (“HAPI”) is an organization founded in 2022 with a mission to strengthen the unity amongst Pacific islanders in Hawaiʻi through community building programs that center social equity and cultural wellbeing. We define Pacific Islanders as the original inhabitants of, or people originating from the islands of Polynesia, Melanesia or Micronesia. We hold the Samoan/Tongan concepts of Tauhi Va/Va as the framework behind the programs we make. The work we do is guided by our Core Values of Stewardship, Accountability, Humility, Open-mindedness, Health, Humility, and Collaboration. We envision a future where Pacific Islanders in Hawai’i are rooted in their cultural identities, empowered to reach their full potential and are thriving in all areas of their lives. A future where we are also educated in becoming stewards of this land while supporting our Kanaka Maoli family. It is only together that we can cultivate this future. Although only officially founded a year ago, HAPI has been a member of the Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (NHPI) 3R Team (Response,Recovery, and Resilience), that was established in 2020 to identify and support initiatives across Hawaii working to address Covid-19 amongst NHPI and improve the health and wellbeing of NHPI in Hawaii. Our fiscal sponsor is Papa Ola Lōkahi, who has spearheaded programs and initiatives for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPI). They co-formed the Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (NHPI) Covid 19 Recovery, Response, and Resilience Team and formed the NHPI CHW Collaborative.

organizational budget

$0 - $50,000

existence for

0-5 Years

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

Hawaii

organizational budget

$0 - $50,000

existence for

0-5 Years

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

Hawaii

The Issue:

According to statistics, Pacific Islanders suffer from health and social inequities at an alarming rate. Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have the highest incidents of behavioral health programs of all racial and ethnic groups in the U.S., this includes depression, substance abuse, family adversity, psychological distress. NHPIs have a higher rate of chronic diseases amongst the general population (Assessment and Priorities for the Health and Well-being in Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders,2020). “In comparison to other ethnic groups, NHPIs have higher rates of smoking, alcohol consumption, and obesity. This group also has less access to cancer prevention and control programs. Some leading causes of death among NHPIs include: cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.”. (Minority Health - HHS.Gov, 2019) These inequities were only exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. There was a lack of responsive measures from the local government to address the high rates of infection in marginalized communities like Pacific islanders. However, this prompted NHPI leaders to come together and respond to the crisis within their own communities. This resulted in the formation of the NHPI Covid-19 3R Team. Although many accomplishments were made as a result of the NHPI 3R Team, it showed us the lack of nonprofit organizations in Hawaii that were Pacific Islander-led – so small we could count them all on our fingers! Many of the Pacific islanders that were members of the group, were attending on a voluntary and unpaid basis - they had full time jobs while dedicating time to fight for their community voices to be heard. HAPI’s mission is to correct these social inequities by addressing the root causes, which are several complex and interconnected social determinants of health, historical and colonial trauma, and disconnection from our cultural identities. The challenge that arises from addressing these issues is that we severely lack capacity in our Pacific Islander communities to advocate for the change we want to see. Capacity in terms of individual, organizational, and community capacity. Until an abundance of resources is dedicated to building capacity at all levels of society, Pacific Islanders’ voices and needs will continue to be unrealized.

The Solution:

Systemic change in politics, education, and social systems are required to improve the social and cultural wellbeing of NHPIs. The path to addressing these issues starts with NHPI reconnecting to their cultural identities and nurturing our relationships to one another. Only then can we adequately advocate for the needs of our communities. There needs to be investment in building capacity in order for these goals to be fully realized. This requires organizational capacity and infrastructure; that organizations are adequately staffed, that they have the appropriate infrastructure to provide support for communities. This requires that communities’ basic needs are met, and that community leaders and change-makers have the confidence and skills to move beyond their circumstances and advocate for change. Capacity building will allow organizations to build relationships, assess community needs, and develop frameworks for healing and wellbeing. Our approach is simple: partner and collaborate with existing nonprofits and grassroots organizations to carry out important programs for change. We’ve learned from our work during the initial wave of the pandemic that the best programs are community-informed, data driven, and done in collaboration. It will take a collaborative and united approach from a policy, education, and especially community level. This capacity building project’s activities will include, but not limited to: build the organizational infrastructure of Hawaii Alliance of Pacific Islanders so that we can increase our ability to serve the Pacific Islander community, develop and implement a strategic plan for HAPI, build and develop community partnerships with NHPI organizations and community groups, and build the NHPI 3R Pacific Islander Sub-team so that it is a fully operative vehicle for change. Our Executive Director is currently the Co-Lead for the 3R Team, since January 2023, and is leading it with 3 other NHPI Co-Leads. In addition to building HAPI’s capacity, we also want to hire a representative from 5 grassroots organizations run by Pacific Islanders, to attend the committee meetings held in our NHPI 3R team in behalf of their organizations- so that they are able to represent their communities at the table and advocate for their programs and organizations.

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