Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Blog

  • Building the Capacity of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community in Southern California

    On November 5, 2014, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Region 9/Southern California Regional Interagency Working Group (RIWG) partnered with Asian Americans Advancing Justice—Los Angeles, the Asian Pacific Planning & Policy Council (A3PCON), and East Los Angeles College (ELAC) to host an intermediate-level grant-writing workshop in Los Angeles. Nearly 150 local Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community advocates and leaders attended the all-day training to gain a deeper understanding of grant research, writing, and approval.

    Community members attend an all-day grant-writing training in Los Angeles, CA

    Community members attend an all-day grant-writing training in Los Angeles, CA on November 5, 2014. (by Everett Wong)

  • Knowing Your Rights in Colorado

    The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) population in the greater Denver area is remarkably diverse – not only in terms of ethnic backgrounds, but also in the range of needs and interests that this AAPI community is dealing with.

    In June 2014, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and its Region 8 Interagency Working Group (RIWG) convened a roundtable with Denver’s AAPI community to engage the community and better understand the challenges that it is striving to overcome. Based on feedback from the event, we have been developing a strategic plan to meet those needs, and on November 6, 2014, the RIWG and WHIAAPI came together again to host a “Know Your Rights” event for the Denver AAPI community.

  • Understanding the Needs of the Vibrant AAPI Community in Illinois

    White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Region 5 AAPI Community Listening Session in Chicago City Hall

    Over 70 community leaders met with 12 federal agencies during the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Region 5 AAPI Community Listening Session in Chicago City Hall on October 29, 2014. (by Victoria Chan)

    Illinois is home to about 670,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) – an extremely diverse group of Americans with cultural heritages including: Bangladeshi, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Malaysian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders, Nepali, Pakistani, Taiwanese, Singaporean, Sri Lankan, Thai, Tibetan, and Vietnamese. 

    With this immense diversity comes needs that are critical to understand and address. The federal government can play an important role in addressing those needs. On October 29, I had the privilege, alongside federal representatives from 12 agencies, to hear from more than 70 AAPI community leaders at the WHIAAPI Region 5 AAPI Community Listening Session. Our goal was to clearly understand the diversity of needs of the Chicago and Illinois AAPI community and to develop tangible recommendations on how our Region 5 Interagency Working Group can address these needs.

  • Kicking Off the Conversation with WHIAAPI’s Young Leaders Dialogue on Education

    Watch on YouTube

    On October 30, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) held its first Young Leaders Dialogue (YLD) Google+ Hangout on Education. This is the first of four YLDs happening in conjunction with the E3! Ambassadors Program, comprised of 34 young leaders across the nation committed to increasing opportunity and improving the quality of life for AAPIs. These E3! Ambassadors aim to “Educate, Engage and Empower” young leaders, by highlighting federal programs and resources for AAPIs around the issues of education, mental health, pathways to public service and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

    Students at Johns Hopkins University pose with their photo campaign about the importance of education

    Students at Johns Hopkins University pose with their photo campaign about the importance of education on October 30, 2014 in Maryland. (Photo by: E3 Ambassador)

    The first YLD focused on the topic of education in an interactive Google+ Hangout. Over 500 students and professionals RSVP’d and attended watch parties hosted by E3! Ambassadors across the nation, followed by small group discussions focused on the needs of various campuses and communities. Throughout the event, participants were able to take part in a photo campaign and explain why education matters to them. During the Google+ Hangout, WHIAAPI senior advisor Akil Vohra discussed eligibility for Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), and how students can encourage university administrators to apply for funding for Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). Maulik Pancholy, a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs, shared his personal story, and discussed important anti-bullying resources. Monica Thammarath, a community leader with the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), highlighted efforts within the community to increase college affordability and access to quality education.

    YLDs are a way for young leaders to learn about federal resources available around issues that affect them, and share their personal stories. Each dialogue features Administration officials, community leaders, and other experts on the topic and can provide valuable information to increase access and opportunity for young AAPIs.

    To find ways to engage your community around these issues, check out our education toolkit, and stay tuned for our upcoming Young Leaders Dialogue on Mental Health in December!

    Jason Tengco is a Senior Advisor at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

  • Addressing the Needs of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Des Moines

    Community members and federal representatives participate in a breakout dialogue about the needs of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in Des Moines, IA on October 28, 2014

    Community members and federal representatives participate in a breakout dialogue about the needs of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in Des Moines, IA on October 28, 2014. (Photo by WHIAAPI)

    On October 28, 2014, the Region 7 Interagency Working Group, in partnership with the Iowa Department of Human Rights and Drake University, hosted its first community roundtable in Des Moines, IA. 

    Professor David Skidmore of Drake University and San Wong from the Iowa Department of Human Rights opened the event to welcome federal representatives and community leaders to the roundtable. Federal agency members from the Social Security Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Small Business Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the International Trade Administration shared their experiences working with the AAPI community and the wealth of resources, programs, and services their agencies and offices offered. Community members voiced key issues challenging the AAPI community in this region, learned about available federal tools for addressing their needs, and connected with federal officials from agencies across the board.

  • Strengthening the AAPI Community Through New Bullying Prevention Efforts


    Hines Ward, retired NFL wide receiver and former member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, shares his story on bullying.

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    More than one-quarter of students between the ages of 12 and 18 reported being bullied at school during the 2010-11 school year — nearly 7 million students. Some Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students face bullying and harassment based on their immigration status, such as Micronesian students whose families have recently immigrated to the continent and Hawaii. Others are bullied for the way they look, such as turbaned Sikh youth, or for their English language skills.