WHIAAPI Weekly Highlights

Welcome to this edition of the WHIAAPI Weekly Highlights.  It has been an exciting few weeks for the WHIAAPI: More than 1,500 people joined Commissioners Sefa Aina and Hines Ward for the first Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Youth Health and Fitness Day on April 2 in Los Angeles, CA. Read below for more details on this event and New York AAPI community roundtables, and a Minnesota panel discussion on the Affordable Care Act, plus other federal agency announcements.

On March 29, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights on extensive Department efforts to protect the rights of Muslim, Arab, Sikh and South-Asian Americans. AAG Perez also indicated the importance of these communities and that they “contribute to our economy, play a vital role in our civic institutions, serve in our armed forces, and work in and with law enforcement to keep our communities safe.” Read the full testimony here.

On April 2, WHIAAPI staff and Commissioners Sefa Aina and Hines Ward were joined by Congressional APA Caucus Chair Judy Chu, Interior Assistant Secretary Tony Babauta, professional athletes Troy Palomalu, Marcus McNeill, trainer Jillian Andrews, and 1,500 youth and their families to increase awareness around the alarming rates of obesity in the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities.  Read about the activities promoting healthy eating and physical activity during the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Youth Health and Fitness Day.

On April 4, Vice President Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan introduced comprehensive guidance to help schools, colleges and universities better understand their obligations under federal civil rights laws to prevent and respond to the problem of campus sexual assault. The new guidance, announced at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire, makes clear the legal obligations under Title IX of any school, college or university receiving federal funds to respond promptly and effectively to sexual violence. The guidance also provides practical examples to aid educators in ensuring the safety of their students. Read the Department of Education’s full press release here or a White House blog post here.

On April 7, WHIAAPI Director Kiran Ahuja and Commissioner Amardeep Singh joined the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) in New York City for a discussion with community leaders and federal officials about key recommendations on how to ensure federal resources are designed to meet the diverse needs of AAPI communities.  CACF members provided a report with recommendations to the WHIAAPI that addressed building capacity of Asian led community based organizations, increasing funding to support services to the Asian Pacific American community, and improving language access to services and programs.

On April 8, Kiran Ahuja and Miya Saika Chen met with AAPI women advocates from New York and New Jersey to discuss agency recommendations on how to improve the lives of AAPI women and girls.  Similar meetings with other women’s advocates will be held in the future and an assessment will be submitted to the White House Council on Women and Girls.

Upcoming Event

On April 23 in Minneapolis, MN, the WHIAAPI, in conjunction with the 15th Annual Hmong National Conference, will hold a panel discussion on the Affordable Care Act.  One in six Asian Americans, and one in four Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are either uninsured or underinsured.  The Affordable Care Act expands affordable coverage to as many as 2.5 million AAPIs who will become eligible for new insurance coverage options because of the law.  Space is limited and on a first come first serve basis. Please RSVP with your name and e-mail address to WhiteHouseAAPI@ed.gov by April 14, 2011 to reserve a seat.

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