Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Blog
- Posted byon May 16, 2012 at 8:00 AM EST
The observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is in full swing across the country. They include festive celebrations of ethnic foods, traditional dances and speeches about the history of AAPIs in the United States.
As an immigrant who had to learn a new language and culture, I appreciate the needs of the newly-arrived and those who struggle to make a life in the United States. Having worked for twenty years as a community organizer for AAPIs and other underserved communities before joining the Obama Administration, I have advocated for changes in federal, state and city governments to improve access for undeserved communities to essential government services. Now the tables are turned. As the Interagency Working Group representative for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) at the White House Initiative on AAPIs, I am tasked with working with our HUD team to effectuate changes at HUD according to our agency plan. I am proud to say that HUD has undertaken significant steps under the leadership of Secretary Shaun Donovan to improve services for AAPIs. Here are some examples:
- Posted byon May 15, 2012 at 8:34 AM EST
According to the most recent census numbers, over the last decade, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities have been among the fastest growing communities in the country (1). From 2000-2010, the Asian American population grew by 43.3%, outpacing growth of the Latino population over the same period. The Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders population grew by 35.4% in the decade. In 2011, AAPIs made up 5.1% of the labor force, including close to 7.5 million workers of Asian descent and close to half a million Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. By 2020, Asian Americans are expected to comprise 5.7 percent of the U.S. labor force (2).
Like many other groups in the U.S., Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders suffered through the most recent recession. As the economy strengthens, however, the AAPI community has been at the forefront of the recovery.
- Posted byon May 14, 2012 at 5:23 PM EST
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 12:53 PM EST
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 11:43 AM EST
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 8:00 AM EST
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:
White House Blogs
- The White House Blog
- Middle Class Task Force
- Council of Economic Advisers
- Council on Environmental Quality
- Council on Women and Girls
- Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
- Office of Management and Budget
- Office of Public Engagement
- Office of Science & Tech Policy
- Office of Urban Affairs
- Open Government
- Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships
- Social Innovation and Civic Participation
- US Trade Representative
- Office National Drug Control Policy