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WHIAAPI Weekly Highlights June 3, 2011

Last month, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month provided ample opportunity to celebrate and honor the diversity of the AAPI community and the many great strides our Federal agency colleagues have made on behalf of the AAPI community. Read about our May events and accomplishments, a listing of blogs highlighting the administration’s work and the AAPI community, and other announcements and upcoming events from our Federal agency partners in the WHIAAPI Weekly Highlights.

We’ve had an action-packed AAPI Heritage Month full of great discussions and dialogues.  WHIAAPI Director Kiran Ahuja blogged about the many strides our Federal agency colleagues have made on behalf of the AAPI community, our dynamic and tenacious staff and community partners, and under the leadership of our President.

In one short month, we have engaged in a flurry of activity, bringing Federal agencies together with the AAPI community.  Administration leaders on the economy, immigration, healthcare, education and civil rights kicked off the month by briefing over 400 AAPI community members on these critical issues in Washington, DC. We then joined with the Council on Women and Girls and the Department of Labor to hold two nationwide conference calls on AAPI women and immigration.

In response to the AAPI community’s rapid population growth between 2000 and 2010, we partnered with Census Bureau officials to hold an in-person briefing and webinar with a complete analysis of the rapid growth of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders throughout the country over the last decade.

We worked with the National Healthy Nail Salon Alliance to hold the first Federal interagency roundtable at the Environmental Protection Agency focused on nail salon workers and the cosmetics industry, one of the fastest growing industries in the country and predominantly comprised of Asian immigrant women. Women workers and salon owners spoke directly about their daily experiences handling toxic chemicals to a room full of Federal officials and provided concrete recommendations on how to improve working conditions.

We convened a gathering at the White House with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) AAPI youth and Federal agency representatives.  The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance and the Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, Queer Justice Fund brought 19 youth from diverse communities across the country to speak about their journeys, challenges and triumphs growing up in this country.  Federal officials from across the Administration listened and committed to incorporating the needs of this community into bullying prevention, comprehensive sex education, and HIV preventions programs.

To read the blog in its entirety click here or visit

White House Blogs: Throughout the month of May, WHIAAPI posted a new blog a day highlighting the work of the administration, its impact on the AAPI community, and the personal motivation behind these efforts by our Administration officials. Learn more about the people, policies and actions that have a direct impact on you. Here are the blogs and their authors that have been posted since the last update:

Upcoming Events

On June 7, 2011, WHIAAPI will host a conference call on Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community issues. For more information, contact

On June 9, 2011 WHIAAPI Advisor Miya Saika Chen will speak at the JACL Collegiate Leadership Conference on AAPI advocacy and how to mobilize important issues back in their home campuses.

Other Federal Agency Announcements

On May 24, 2011 the Department of Energy signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the American Government Executives Network (AAGEN) and the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) to partner on AAPI federal employment issues.

On June 2, 2011, WHIAAPI Director Kiran Ahuja spoke at the REACH US Conference (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) in Carson, CA. REACH US grantees and community agencies and organizations to discuss health disparities and health equity to AAPI community.

Also on June 2, 2011, the Department of Education released final regulations requiring career college programs to better prepare students for “gainful employment” or risk losing access to Federal student aid. While many career college programs are helping to prepare America’s workforce for the jobs of the future, far too many students at these schools are taking on unsustainable debt in exchange for degrees and certificates that fail to help them get the jobs they need or were promised. These regulations are designed to ramp up over the next four years, giving colleges time to reform while protecting students and their families from exploitative programs.

Translated Materials Available: You can download the following new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) translated materials at and to order free copies, visit the CMS Product Ordering site at

  • Fraud Brochure—“Fight Back!” 11481-C (Chinese), 11481-K (Korean), 11481-V (Vietnamese)
  • Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies Factsheet—11307-C (Chinese), 11307-K (Korean) and 11307-V (Vietnamese)

New Food Icon: MyPlate: First Lady Michelle Obama, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin unveiled the federal government’s new food icon, MyPlate, to serve as a reminder to help consumers make healthier food choices. The new MyPlate icon emphasizes the fruit, vegetable, grains, protein and dairy food groups and can be accessed at