HONOLULU (KHON2) — In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a new film on Hulu spotlights the stories of six unsung AAPI heroes across the country.
They include nurse-turned-chef Justin Foronda, Paralympian Justin Phongsavanh, the high school students of Livingston Asian Youth Alliance (LAYA), fisherman Thiện Nguyễn, AAPI Activist Suki Terada Ports and Honolulu Police Major Mike Lambert.
“I think that every human being wants to belong,” Lambert said in the film. “I’m proud that I’m from Kaneohe. I’m proud that I’m just a local boy that, you know, grew up riding my bike around town, and you know, being a goof. I’m proud of that. For someone experiencing homelessness, there’s that sense of not belonging. How can you feel like you belong when no one will help you?”
Lambert has been in the police force for 19 years and created Homeless Outreach and Navigation for Unsheltered Persons (HONU), an organization that provides temporary housing to the unhoused population utilizing a mobile navigation concept. He was most recently named one of the four finalists for the next Honolulu police chief.
“It’s one of those things, as you know, as a Native Hawaiian, is that we’re just not raised to be impersonal,” Lambert said. “We’re not raised to not care about the people around us, and that goes to the value here in Hawaii of kuleana.”
The film “AAPI Heritage Heroes” was produced by The Asian American Foundation; it was directed, edited and produced almost entirely by AAPI creatives. The “Heroes” were nominated by family, friends and community members.
To help pay tribute to each of them, the special featured a celebrity cast, including Hawaii’s own Auli’i Cravalho, who introduced Lambert. His story begins toward the end of the film at 48 minutes and 36 seconds. Click here to watch the trailer.
“In Hawaii, we’re a very close-knit community,” Cravalho said in the film. “Everyone is our uncle, aunty and cousin — no blood relation needed. Caring for each other is our kuleana, our responsibility.”
Also featured in the film were Daniel Dae Kim, Lisa Ling, Michelle Zauner, Simu Liu, Liza Koshy, Karrueche Tran, Jeannie Mai Jenkins, Gloria Steinem and many others.
Check out what’s going on around the nation on our National News page
“AAPI Heritage Heroes” is a program that centers on unsung heroes from the AAPI communities to share the stories of their work, their world and their wish for the future for a better America.