This year’s AAPI Heritage Month theme is “Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity.” Every year, the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) purposefully chooses a theme to center the focus of the month’s celebration. The 2021-2024 series of themes all have to do with “Advancing Leaders,” encouraging further representation of AAPI-identifying individuals in government and social leadership positions.
“Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity” comes after last year’s “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration” theme, where there was an emphasis on federal agencies collaborating in order to collectively tackle discrimination and prejudice. According to FAPAC, opportunity is “a set of circumstances that make it possible to do something.” It can be “built, accessed, achieved or given.”
Opportunity is especially important because to many first or second-generation immigrants, America is highlighted as a “land of opportunity.” Yet, upon attempting to access these opportunities, they are faced with the harsh reality that “opportunity” and “equal opportunity” often mean different things. There are so many more hidden barriers to climb over when equal opportunity is not present due to different backgrounds.
Thus, opportunity means opening doors and breaking barriers. FAPAC also emphasizes those who are “capable” making sure to “lend a hand.” This allows room for advancement, further representation and even hope by ensuring the doors that are open stay open. It also is a call to action for AAPI allies to help out!
Only when people are given the opportunity to shine and make a difference can they enact meaningful change as leaders. The only way to have more AAPI leadership and voices heard is through continuing last year’s theme of collaboration in order to generate equitable opportunities for each other.
So, this AAPI Heritage Month, uplift other AAPI voices, create some noise and shake the room of opportunity a bit, so the foundation looks a little different this time next year.