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Weekly Highlights, July 1, 2011

It's been a busy couple weeks for the White House Intiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: U.S. Census Bureau data releases, briefing and reception for community leaders, and other community events. Also, check out what's happening next Friday in Seattle!

Welcome to this edition of the WHIAAPI Weekly Highlights! The nation’s Asian American population became the fastest growing race over the past decade, experiencing a 43 percent increase from 2000 to 2010, according to new figures from the 2010 Census Bureau. The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is working to understand what these changes mean for public policy, specifically for federal services and protections.


PHOTO: Participants engage with White House officials at an Asian American and Pacific Islander Community Leaders Briefing at the U.S. Department of Treasury. Credit: Akil Vohra.

On June 22, hundreds of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander leaders from across the country converged in Washington, DC, to meet with Administration officials and discuss issues important to the community, including the economy and the budget. Earlier this week, President Obama made clear that reducing our deficits has to be done in a fair and balanced way, and that means the Administration will stand strong with core priorities important to the AAPI and broader American community, like education, job creation and Medicare benefits for seniors.

On June 28, Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at the first-ever Senate hearing on the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, before the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugee, and Border Security. Secretary Duncan told Congress that the Administration supports passage of the DREAM Act for two basic reasons: it’s crucial for meeting our national goals and future workforce needs, and also sends the right message about the value of hard work and our Nation’s basic sense of fairness.

Upcoming Events and Announcements:

In the first ever Twitter Town Hall at the White House, President Obama answers your questions on jobs and the economy submitted through Twitter. Ask your questions now, watch the event live, and learn more for your chance to join the live audience.

Register now! On Friday, July 8, WHIAAPI will host a Sustainable Growth Summit at the North Seattle Community College to provide information on federal efforts to promote sustainable communities, encourage innovation, and support economic growth.  Come hear White House Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu and White House Senior Economist Ronnie Chatterji talk about the Administration’s plans to create jobs.  Attend workshops on financing and growing a green business, developing community health centers, greening your lifestyle, using local food to spur economic development, accessing higher education, contracting with the government, and the emerging industries of healthcare IT and clean energy technology.  

Nominate a Champion of Change President Obama has challenged us all to help win the future by out-educating, out-innovating, and out-building our competitors in the 21st century. Know someone who is doing extraordinary things to make a difference in your community? Nominate them to be a Champion of Change. We’ll consider your nominations as we feature people who are bringing about change in their communities on the White House website to share their ideas on how to win the future. Check out this week’s series, which highlights fourteen individuals who are inspiring others to transform their communities through citizen leadership and social innovation.

Other Agency Announcements:

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced new draft standards for collecting and reporting data on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status, and announced the administration’s plans to begin collecting health data on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations. Both efforts aim to help researchers, policy makers, health providers and advocates to identify and address health disparities afflicting these communities. In anticipation of these efforts, HHS, over the past year, has consulted with federal agencies, requested recommendations from the HHS Data Council, and held listening sessions with relevant community stakeholders. The public may submit comments for the draft minority data collection standards at under docket number HHS-OMH-2011-0013. Public comments will be accepted until August 1. 

Everyday millions of people practice yoga to improve their health and overall well-being. The Million PALA Challenge (MPC) is a program offered by the President’s Challenge, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and developed in partnership with the First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative. The MPC has set a goal to get 1 million Americans to earn the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA). Show your support for yoga and answer the challenge! Click on the link to register for the Million PALA Challenge and join the Yoga PALA Challenge team.