Celebrated each May, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month honors the culture, history and contributions of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians in the United States. The month of May was chosen to mark the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the U.S. on May 7, 1843, as well as to commemorate the transcontinental railroad’s completion on May 10, 1869, where a majority of the workers who built the railway were Chinese immigrants.
Honoring AAPI Heritage month is particularly significant this year with the rise in Anti-Asian and Anti-Black racism and attacks across the United States. The EcoBlock team stands in solidarity with AAPI communities and Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) communities and is dedicated to promoting racial equity and inclusivity. We believe that we each have an important role in dismantling systemic racism and working towards more equitable and just communities.
In the words of former President Barack Obama, “We cannot rest. We will need to follow through with the concrete reforms that will reduce and ultimately eliminate racial bias in our criminal justice system. We will need to redouble efforts to expand economic opportunity for those communities that have been too long marginalized.”
The EcoBlock team recognizes that climate justice is impossible without racial justice. Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC) communities suffer disproportionately higher rates of health impacts from environmental pollution and climate-related disasters and emergencies and greater loss related to crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to working with communities to address these injustices at the neighborhood level, where we hope our research and partnership will become a resource for empowering inclusive and resilient communities.
The goal of EcoBlock is to improve existing urban homes and strengthen neighborhoods, particularly in communities that might otherwise not be able to afford these retrofits. The project aims to increase resilience to natural disasters by providing community renewable energy and battery storage, improve indoor air quality, and increase living standards by enhancing energy and water efficiency while reducing utility bill costs, and engaging an electric vehicle sharing service for the neighborhood block community.
We join our community members, partners, and all those fighting for racial and environmental justice in celebrating the contributions and recognizing the challenges faced by AAPI. We will work to build resilient communities and create an equitable, sustainable future for all.