Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Blog
- Posted byon May 14, 2012 at 6:23 PM EDT
In this year’s Presidential Proclamation on Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, the President reminded us that “generations of AAPIs have helped make America what it is today.” In light of this celebration, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) will be hosting briefings at the White House and other engagements across the country throughout the entire month of May. You can find blog posts and a listing of this month’s engagements on WHIAAPI’s Weekly Highlights: AAPI Heritage Month Edition page.
- Posted byon May 10, 2012 at 1:53 PM EDT
When I ask my Dad about his childhood, he has little to say. He says he grew up poor in a small Koreatown in rural Manchuria. His father was a logger. He was the youngest of seven children. That, to him, is pretty much all there is to tell.
But there’s much more to his story. With support from his family, he moved to Seoul in 1955 – just two years after the end to the Korean War – to attend college. In Seoul, he met several Americans who encouraged him to dream bigger and move to the United States. There, they told him that you could receive a world-class education. There, intelligence and hard work mattered more than connections or your family name. One of these Americans, a generous Minnesotan, bought my Dad a plane ticket to the U.S.
After a journey that took nearly three days, he stepped onto U.S. soil on January 20, 1961 – the day John F. Kennedy was sworn into office. In Seattle, waiting for his connecting flight to North Carolina, he witnessed President Kennedy’s inaugural address on television. Like millions of Americans watching that day, he was inspired when he heard JFK ask what we can do for our country and what “together we can do for the freedom of man.”
- Posted byon May 9, 2012 at 12:43 PM EDT
Last night, I was proud to hear President Obama speak to over 1,000 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) leaders and community members at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) 18th Annual Awards Dinner in Washington, DC. We heard the President highlight the many contributions made by AAPI pioneers and trailblazers, dispel the myth of the "model minority," reaffirm his Administration's commitment to address the specific needs and concerns of AAPIs, and speak eloquently about a shared future in which the next generation has more opportunities than the generations that came before.
- Posted byon May 8, 2012 at 9:00 AM EDT
As we observe AAPI Heritage month, we have an opportunity to reflect on how much we have accomplished throughout the Obama Administration for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and acknowledge the work that is still to be done to empower those in need.
Through numerous briefings and town hall meetings, we have heard many of you describe some of these needs: the importance of health insurance for those who cannot afford it, the urgency to fix our education system, the need for immigration reform to fix the broken system, the plight of small business owners working to keep their businesses afloat.
Throughout the month of May, we are posting regular blogs that detail the work of this Administration to address those needs. We will also be hosting a White House Briefing tomorrow from 12:00 p.m. ET to 2:00 p.m. ET to continue this conversation with various White House and Agency leaders. This event will be live-streamed at www.whitehouse.gov/live and we hope that you’ll join us. Here is an agenda for the event:
- Posted byon May 7, 2012 at 9:00 AM EDT
Fifty years ago, I began my legal studies as a woman of Japanese American descent. During my student years, I read, for the first time, the text of the Supreme Court decisions upholding the Government’s actions resulting in the internment in 1942 of the Japanese Americans on the West Coast on the grounds of national security. I also remember the strong dissents of the minority Justices and weeping because of what not only my family and other Japanese Americans lost, but also what every citizen in this Nation lost as a result.
Eventually, time and the efforts of individuals—not only the Japanese Americans—led to disclosures of suppressed information by the Government and the racism influencing the decisions made. Over 40 years later, Fred Korematsu’s conviction for refusing to voluntarily report to an Assembly Camp for imprisonment was voided by a court, and the U.S. government acknowledged its mistake. Nevertheless, the internment story must be told over and over as part of our Nation’s history, to warn that even well-intentioned people and a government can be led to do unjust things.
- Posted byon May 3, 2012 at 10:53 AM EDT
Ed. Note: This item is cross-posted from AIDS.gov
This month we are observing both Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Hepatitis Awareness Month. The dual observances are an important opportunity to bring attention to the disproportionate burden of viral hepatitis among the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the United States and to renew our commitment and call to action to address this disparity.
Viral Hepatitis Disparities in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities
Liver cancer and other liver problems caused by viral hepatitis (for example, cirrhosis) affect some U.S. populations more than others, resulting in substantial health disparities. This is especially true for Asian and Pacific Islanders Americans (APIs). In fact, an estimated 1 in 12 APIs are living with chronic hepatitis B. So, although Asian/Pacific Islander Americans make up only some 5 percent of the total U.S. population, they represent 50 percent of the estimated 800,000—1.4 million persons who are infected with hepatitis B in the United States. These health disparities are further reflected in viral hepatitis–associated illness and death. For example, liver cancer incidence is highest among the API population. Despite these high rates, many APIs are not tested for hepatitis B, thus remaining unaware of their infection and not accessing lifesaving medical care and appropriate treatment. Read more about this health disparity and what can be done at CDC’s Viral Hepatitis and APIs page.
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