New Resources to Help Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian Communities Advance Street Scale and Shared Use Initiatives

Authored by Keith Benjamin and Mikaela Randolph.

Over the past year, the Safe Routes Partnership has collaborated with the Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL), an organization working to champion social justice and achieve parity and empowerment for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.  APPEAL works by supporting and mobilizing community-led movements through advocacy and leadership development on critical public health issues.  As national and local conversations continue over the complexities of obesity, physical activity, and access in underserved and communities of color, it only made sense that our organizations locked arms.

In fall 2014, members of our team attended the APPEAL's 20th Annual Conference, where we saw firsthand how important advocacy tools are for communities to have in hand as they engage decision makers in creating safer and healthier communities. As the Safe Routes Partnership has engaged with expanding Safe Routes to School work outside of traditional bounds and making sure that our work is innovative and inclusive across the board, we have seen that it is imperative not only that citizens in communities understand the factors inhibiting their access to healthy, safe physical activity opportunities, but that they are empowered to advocate for community-driven solutions to these problems to their elected leaders, decision makers, and program influencers.  

shared use 101To meet that need, the Safe Routes Partnership, together with APPEAL and the New York-based Coalition For Asian American Children And Families, has released four tools to help Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian communities use street scale and shared use initiatives to address community needs.

In the words of U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu, insufficient physical activity opportunities have “severe impacts on urban populations struggling with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and chronic illness. Opportunities to enjoy outdoor activity are vital for public health and the wellbeing of people of all ages and walks of life." 

We hope these new tools empower communities towards advocacy to address these challenges. We thank APPEAL for their continued partnership and their dedication to health equity in Asian American, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian communities.