On February 25, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders held its second National Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Community Google+ Hangout. I was joined by Aditi Hardikar, Associate Director at the White House Office of Public Engagement; Konrad Ng, Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center; and Billy Dec, member of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs.
AAPI Heritage Month Theme: #APAEverywhere
During the Hangout, Konrad expanded upon the #APAEverywhere theme for AAPI Heritage Month:
Signed into law in 1978, the commemorative legislation of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is a living recognition of America’s Asian Pacific heritage. In essence, it recognizes that the diverse, multiracial, and multiethnic Asian Pacific American experience is a long, expansive, and quintessentially American story full of inspiration, often discovered rather than generally known.
Asian Pacific Americans are everywhere.
Asian Pacific Americans are the faces of American history—the Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander laborers who built America’s farms and laid its railroads, contributed to advances in American life and fought to preserve our most cherished American values, affirming what it means to be an American citizen in the courtrooms and on the streets, on the battlefield and in public office.
Asian Pacific America is discovered in cities and small towns across the country, and part of the nation’s highest recognitions and accolades across the arts and sciences, in athletics, cuisine, commerce, and service, and are the faces of those in search of advocacy, care and dignity. Asian Pacific America is discovered around the world, in sports and culture, and as diplomats, soldiers and aid workers, or as family members, entrepreneurs, scientists, and more.
Asian Pacific America is everywhere.
White House Summit on AAPIs: May 12
To both recognize and amplify the growing influence of the AAPI community, we are hosting the first-ever White House Summit on AAPIs on May 12 during AAPI Heritage Month to celebrate President Obama’s leadership, showcase Administration policies and programs that have supported the AAPI community over the past six years, and outline priorities for the next two years and decades to come.
The Summit will be an unprecedented and historic convening of senior federal officials and AAPI leaders. Participants will have the opportunity to connect with these leaders from across the country, share their own stories, and gain tools to mobilize their communities. Stay tuned for registration starting March 12, and please subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive updates.
Federal Agency Accomplishments Report
Since the beginning of the Administration, the Initiative has been working with 24 federal agencies and offices outlining plans on how each agency will address the needs of the AAPI community. During the Hangout, we were proud to release our fifth accomplishments report. From collecting unemployment data by ethnic subpopulation to forming an AAPI employee resource group to supporting Pacific Islander students to travel to Washington, D.C. for a summer program, agencies have made significant progress in improving the quality of life and opportunities for AAPIs across the country.
During the Hangout, Billy also contributed his thoughts on the theme and shared what he looks forward to with the White House Summit in regards to the artists, celebrities, and senior government officials who will lead and engage in dialogues around entrepreneurship, immigration, education, civil rights, and health equity. Billy also shared his excitement on our bullying prevention efforts in which we have begun hosting listening sessions across the country.
Kiran Ahuja is Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.