Exploring the connectedness of health in our communities and imagining a better future
When Larry Itliong was organizing Filipino and Mexican American farm laborers in the Delano Grape Strike of the 1960s, he and his fellow workers were making the invisible visible. They made the silent loud. They made change for the better and left an enduring legacy.
We honor the leadership and collaboration of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities in California this May. Whether highlighting overdue strides in equal pay for AANHPI women, supporting a teen in sharing her experience of an abusive relationship, or sharing strategies for elected officials to do right by child care workers, we offer stories of empowerment in a spirit of linking arms and building a better future together. Blue Shield of California Foundation’s own Asian American leaders — including, but not limited to, Debbie Chang
, Carolyn Wang Kong
, and Annie Wong
— bring that spirit to our work every day.
If these stories resonate with you, please, forward our newsletter to a friend
Director of Communications and Public Affairs
A more inclusive look at wages reveals wider gaps for certain women
Equal Pay Day draws attention to gender-based pay disparities by highlighting how far into a new year a woman must work, on average, to earn what a man did in the previous year.
This year’s Equal Pay Day for AANHPI women came much later than usual, on May 3.
That’s because this year, the wages of AANHPI women in part-time and gig work were included. The numbers show that AANHPI women make 75 cents to every dollar paid to a white man.
“When you include all workers, our Equal Pay Day is almost two full months after what it used to be, which to me indicates how many people are working part-time and temporary jobs in our community,” said Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, in a recent article focusing on multiple inequities AANHPI women face.
Including the 20% of AANHPI women workers who are part-time is important, but looking at wages alone does not paint a full picture. When we consider other critical compensation benefits, such as paid leave, we begin to see even more social, racial, and economic issues that we must address to achieve equity.
Analysis points to need for investment in child care
Building a better future together includes setting up the next generation to thrive. But in the pandemic, we have learned how disproportionately fragile our child care infrastructure is compared to how vital child care workers are in raising that next generation.
Child care providers, who are predominantly women of color, struggle to make a living wage. When the pandemic hit, thousands were forced to shut their doors. Now more parents are returning to work outside the home, and supporting the child care sector is critical.
The California Budget and Policy Center recently published a brief showing how significant one-time federal support payments for child care providers and families during the pandemic have proven to be. More than one-third of funds have been used to support families with low incomes, and two-thirds have gone to child care providers to not only increase wages but also to help keep their businesses open.
These one-time supports expanded California’s subsidized child care and development system. To sustain it will require more resources, state and federal, moving beyond relief to truly invest in child care providers and the families they serve.
Making Larry Itliong’s legacy visible
As we uplift leadership and collaboration this Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Eliseo Art Silva’s mural of Filipino American labor activist and civil rights leader Larry Itliong is our Snapshot.
This mural in Delano, supported by the Foundation and unveiled on Larry Itliong Day in October 2021, pays homage to a father of the California labor movement. In 1965, Itliong organized thousands of Filipino farm workers in the Delano Grape Strike. His persistence and skill got the attention of César Chávez and Dolores Huerta, and together, Filipino and Mexican American workers led the historic five-year strike that ended with pay increases, medical insurance, and safety agreements.
“All those who were silent now have a voice,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta at the mural celebration. Bonta, California’s first Filipino and second Asian American attorney general, said Itliong showed us that “when you fight for justice, you can realize justice.”
What survivors wish others knew about domestic violence
As part of a new series of essays by domestic violence survivors, California Health Report shared Angela’s story about surviving teen dating violence. In it, Angela stresses, “Preventing teenage dating violence is not the teenager’s burden to carry — it takes a village.”
At multiple points across a person’s life, violence has an outsized impact on health, safety, and the ability to thrive. The Foundation’s life course research shows how factors like early exposure to violence and the influence of peer groups can greatly increase or decrease risk.
As Angela grew up, she admired the romance in the movies she’d watch. But it wasn’t a realistic blueprint for what to expect as she entered into a relationship at the age of 16.
“Disney isn’t real life. And because no one had talked with me about what a real, healthy relationship looks like, I didn’t know what to do when my boyfriend became abusive,” she writes. “In fact, I lacked the tools to even recognize the abuse when violence became the norm in my relationship.”
Now, working for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Angela articulates that domestic violence is a public health issue. She shares, “Whether it’s infectious disease, environmental factors or domestic violence, the goal of public health promotion is to prevent harm before it occurs. I believe that education about healthy relationships at a young age is crucial to decreasing rates of domestic violence and getting us one step closer to a violence-free world.”
This month at Blue Shield of California Foundation