Asians* in Focus is an initiative by the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA) to create a space dedicated to the sole purpose of telling Asian American, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian (AAPINH) stories.  Using the full range of artistic expression, Asians* in Focus recognizes that mental health takes many forms.  NAAPIMHA is spearheaded by Dr. DJ Ida, a Sakura Foundation board member.

In early July, Asians* in Focus will unveil its inaugural project: Asians* Unmasked, a photography project that came about as a direct response to COVID-19 and the impact on AAPINH communities.  The unprecedented loss of life and economic uncertainty forever changed the world and placed mental health in the heart of all discussions.

Unfortunately, the pandemic saw an increase in racist attacks towards individuals of Asian ancestry, who were blamed for the coronavirus. In response to these attacks, a small group of Asian American advocates and artists came together to not only make a statement, but to also develop creative outlets designed to heal.

Photo submissions were accepted in May, which was both Asian Pacific American History Month and Mental Health Awareness Month, because it is important now more than ever to celebrate who we are as AAPINHs.  Photos depicted life/community changes, connection/isolation, resiliency and hope, health, racism and intolerance and other miscellaneous areas.  Although the official deadline for photos has passed, the submission form will remain open to those would like to submit a photo. If you do so, please email AsiansinFocus@gmail.com so their team can ensure that your submission is reviewed.

We invite you to view the photos and stories in July at AsiansInFocus.com.