Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of chairing a meeting of the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in Washington, D.C. The Commission is composed of 20 individuals who hail from all over the nation from New York to California, Hawaii to Guam – and from a wide range of backgrounds business, education, civil rights, farming, health, philanthropy, sports and so many more. We serve as the eyes and ears of the Administration, relaying issues and recommendations from AAPI communities to the Administration.
This meeting came at an exciting time – as we kicked off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and reflected on the Commission's and Initiative’s past accomplishments and progress. We set the direction for the Initiative's work over the next four years, met with Administration officials about the Affordable Care Act and Commonsense Immigration Reform, and discussed the challenges that still remain.
On May 7, we were invited to a meeting of the Interagency Working Group (IWG).. The IWG is comprised of senior-level Administration officials from across the federal government tasked with creating and implementing agency plans to increase AAPI participation in and access to federal programs.
At the meeting, we learned about four new sub-committees within the IWG focused on language access, research and data, capacity building, and workforce diversity. The chair of each sub-committee explained specific issues they would target and set forth concrete goals. Also, the launch of the Regional IWG was announced at the meeting.& The Regional IWG, currently comprised of forty federal representatives representing 11 agencies and sub-agencies from across the country, will help link federal programs and resources directly to the community.
We appreciated the time to meet with IWG members to learn about issues facing our communities, and to discuss possible solutions. Collectively, the Commission left rejuvenated understanding the great work that the Administration is doing and committed to carrying out in the future, and understanding our role to make the goal of AAPI inclusion a reality.
Daphne Kwok is Chair of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.