Tana Lepule, Executive Director of EPIC, accepting the Community Partner Award
Oct. 16, 2015
Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) recently received the Community Partner Award from Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, in recognition of its efforts to advocate on behalf of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (NHPI). EPIC brought together NHPI leaders from across the continental United States to contribute to the development of the NHPI Policy Platform Blueprint in 2012, which focused on issues faced by NHPI on the continent. As a by-product of the Policy Platform Blueprint convening, EPIC has been able to foster strong relationships with NHPI organizations that have led to resource sharing, capacity building, and a unified advocacy voice. Most recently, these partnerships led to the creation and release of A Community of Contrasts: Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the United States, 2014, and A Community of Contrasts: Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in California, 2014. These demographic reports highlight the diversity of NHPI communities, disaggregated data, and the disparities faced by NHPI communities. These reports were made possible through a partnership with Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles and have proven to be a powerful tool for advocacy.
In an effort to create a pipeline of leaders and advocates, EPIC created the Pacific Islander Leaders of Tomorrow (PILOT) leadership program. This is a culture-based and community-focused youth leadership program for NHPI college students. To date, PILOT has graduated 77 young leaders who have extended their knowledge to more than 2,500 middle and high school students, church youth, and young professionals. Additionally, it has engaged more than 90 NHPI professionals from different sectors who serve as resources and mentors for PILOT leaders.
EPIC is continuing to strategize and organize its efforts in pursuit of its mission in order to create more empowered Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Communities.