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Equus Celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

During the month of May, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebrates the rich histories and cultures of Americans of Asian descent as well as those from the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Equus is proud to celebrate this month with our employees.

Meet Autumn Balford Fawcett

Meet Brandi Dolfo

Equus Celebrates APAHM with Brandi Dolfo

Aloha and Kumusta!

My name is Brandi Dolfo, Project Director for Equus Hawaii Child Care and I am Native Hawaiian, Filipino, and Portuguese.

Tell us about your heritage and family history.

Due to the numerous Sugar Plantations in Hawaii, which started in the 1850s, Plantation owners imported contracted workers from China, Portugal, Japan, Philippines, Korea, Puerto Rico, and Okinawa.  I am a granddaughter of one of these contracted workers who came seeking a better life for his family.  My maternal grandfather immigrated to Hawaii from the Philippines in 1946, as part of the last group of 6,000 Filipino men contracted to work in the booming Hawaii Sugar Plantation industry.  This influx of workers to Hawaii created such a melting pot and blending of cultures which is truly prevalent in current Hawaii communities.  You can find a blending of cultures reflected in the food we eat and the traditions of each family.

Even though, I knew I was Native Hawaiian, my education and appreciation of Hawaiian culture truly blossomed when I attended Kamehameha Schools, an All-Hawaiian School, dedicated to the education of Native Hawaiian Indigenous Children.  Attending such a prestigious private school in Hawaii allowed me to explore and appreciate my Native Hawaiian Culture.  It was here that I was introduced to hula and mele (Hawaiian songs or chants).

Why does this month mean to you?

Asian American and Pacific Island Heritage Month is important to me because it allows me to share my story, but most importantly it allows all Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to share how impactful we are to American History and Culture.

What do you love most about your job at Equus?

The people who I see or interact daily are what I truly love about my job here at Equus.  From the Families we serve, to the entire Hawaii team that showed up daily to the office during the Pandemic to process applications and re-certifications, and all the support that I’ve received has been tremendous and so helpful!