The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) population in the greater Denver area is remarkably diverse – not only in terms of ethnic backgrounds, but also in the range of needs and interests that this AAPI community is dealing with.
In June 2014, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and its Region 8 Interagency Working Group (RIWG) convened a roundtable with Denver’s AAPI community to engage the community and better understand the challenges that it is striving to overcome. Based on feedback from the event, we have been developing a strategic plan to meet those needs, and on November 6, 2014, the RIWG and WHIAAPI came together again to host a “Know Your Rights” event for the Denver AAPI community.
The event was comprised of three sessions:
Throughout the day the RIWG also staffed a general information table where individuals and community representatives could discuss issues that were not addressed by the three planned sessions and could set up appointments with relevant federal agencies or community partners to take tangible next steps in addressing those issues.
Response to this event was tremendous, with approximately 80 people in attendance over the course of the day, and the program addressed several important questions from the community and yielded substantive conversations on these issues. One of the important themes of the sessions was that many of the rights and protections that federal agencies enforce are available to all individuals – regardless of immigration status. The day’s events proved to be a tremendous opportunity to delve deeper into the nuts and bolts of our rights, responsibilities, and relationships with one another. Through this event, the RIWG deepened its commitment to the community and is in the process of planning for future events in partnership with community leaders.
Stephen Chen is a Supervisory Attorney for the U.S. Department of Education and leads the White House Initiative on AAPIs’ Region 8 Interagency Working Group.