Cultivating AAPI Youth Advocates

This week, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is hosting a web chat targeting young Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) who have an interest in community advocacy.  The web chat will give young leaders the opportunity to discuss their own community work, as well as learn about internships, fellowships, and other opportunities to get involved with AAPI issues at the federal level.

Working at the Initiative has been an incredible learning experience, as well as an invaluable opportunity to meet passionate individuals with a commitment to improving the lives of AAPIs through public service.  I have opportunities to work on projects pertaining to bullying, federal employment, affordable healthcare, domestic violence, and a host of other issue areas integral to improving the lives of AAPIs. 

Through outreach to local leaders and collaboration with community organizations, the Initiative has been able to accomplish so much in just two years.  The Initiative’s work has touched AAPIs across the country, reaching smaller AAPI communities in the Midwest and South, as well as larger AAPI communities on the East and West coasts.  Today, there are more than 17 million AAPIs, yet significant portions of the population live below the poverty rate, face significant health disparities, and struggle with accessing culturally and linguistically appropriate services and resources.  Across the country, the AAPI experience varies greatly.

I encourage those of you who seek a fast-paced and challenging work environment to apply to the Initiative’s internship program.  The Initiative will be accepting applications for its summer internship program until March 15, 2012.  Interns are responsible for assisting the staff in researching a wide range of issues, including education, health, community and economic development, and civil and immigrant rights.  The internship is an invaluable opportunity for young leaders to get hands-on experience and help create greater visibility for AAPI issues at the national level.

Please also take the time to come to our youth web chat on Wednesday, February 29th from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. EST.  If you would like to participate, email WhiteHouseAAPI@ed.gov with “RSVP for 2/29 Chat” in the heading by February 29th at 12:00 p.m. EST.  We will then email you with log-in details.

Bessie Chan is a Project Analyst at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

 

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