The Asian Americans with Disabilities Initiative

The Asian Americans with Disabilities Initiative (AADI) is a youth-led nonprofit movement centered around intersectionality, aiming to amplify the voices of disabled Asian Americans. Our mission is simple: AADI empowers the next generation of disabled Asian American leaders with accessible resources so that they can combat anti-Asian racism and ableism in their own communities.

On Friday, August 13th, AADI hosted its inaugural virtual speaker panel with four disabled Asian activists and policymakers from around the nation. The interactive panel had over 120+ signups, many of whom attended and engaged in unfiltered dialogue with the panelists about their experiences as advocates, researchers, and entertainers. Additionally, AADI is expecting to publish a nationally accessible resource guide to combat ableism within the Asian American community, compiling first-person testimonials, comprehensive peer-reviewed research, and briefs from the August speaker panel.

The intersection of disability and Asian American identity presents a complex sphere of cultural and social nuances that are yet to be properly explored, both in academia and in advocacy. The CDC estimates that 1 in 10 Asian Americans have a disability, yet nearly no research or resources exist in response to the specific challenges of being disabled in the Asian Pacific Islander and Desi American (APIDA) community. In the U.S., Asian Americans face a particular internalized stigma of disability within families. As such, it is even more alarming that despite the growing population of over 2 million Asians that identify as being disabled, there lacks any disability support platform with readily available resources specific to the APIDA community.

To me, intersectionality is at the root of any advocacy efforts. Disability is one singular piece embedded into a much more nuanced identity that comes into play with race, gender, and more. Ultimately, AADI aims to create the much-needed space in the disability and Asian advocacy sphere.

What our grantee is saying: "Receiving this award on behalf of AADI is an absolute game-changer for us. As a fledgling nonprofit organization ourselves, we are truly elated to be working on the frontlines on behalf of disabled Asian Americans. Through the generosity of the Awesome Foundation, AADI hopes to continue uplifting and amplifying the voices of Asian Americans with disabilities through the publication of our soon-to-be-published resource guide, virtual speaker panels, and so much more!"

Funded by Disability (August 2021)