Many of you may have seen the recent news reports from across the country about the recent increase of crimes and racial discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. It’s been heartbreaking for me to read the accounts from people in our communities who were either harassed, discriminated against or attacked, simply because of their race.
On Jan. 26, President Biden published a memo, “Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States,” on this topic that states:
Despite these increasing acts of intolerance, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made our Nation more secure during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout our history. An estimated 2 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have served on the front lines of this crisis as healthcare providers, as first responders, and in other essential roles. The Federal Government should combat racism, xenophobia, and intolerance against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and should work to ensure that all members of AAPI communities — no matter their background, the language they speak, or their religious beliefs — are treated with dignity and equity.
Many of our Veterans, employees, volunteers, friends and families, neighbors and elected representatives are of Asian American and Pacific Islander descent. As the Health Care System Director, I want to assure you that discrimination or harassment of any kind against Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders or any other minority group will not be tolerated at the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System. I also want to assure you that our Executive Leadership Team and I are working on identifying opportunities to help promote diversity and inclusion at all our sites of care. We are committed to being a diverse and inclusive workplace and health care organization that has the privilege to employ and care for thousands of America’s Veterans. Diversity in our workforce is a strength. Our Veterans and their loved ones, and all who walk through our doors deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity.
I want to assure everyone that these types of issues are important for us to address as One Team, One Ohana.
If you or someone you know has been harassed at a VAPIHCS facility, below are a few resources you can reach out to for support:
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One Team, One Ohana!
Adam M. Robinson, Jr., MD, MBA, CPE
Director, VA Pacific Islands Health Care System
VADM, MC, USN, (RET)
36th Surgeon General, USN