White House Initiative Outlines Asian American Objectives


Kiran Ahuja, executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, said more than 20 federal agencies are developing plans to better serve Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. (India-West file photo)

United States:  Asian American and Pacific Islander officials in the Obama administration and leaders from AAPI groups from around the country held a Google+ Hangout Feb. 20 to outline federal outreach efforts aimed at addressing issues of concern to AAPIs.

If not loaded with specifics, at least the teleconference detailed Web sites where Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders can find out more about what the federal government and other institutions are doing on the AAPI front.

Kiran Ahuja, executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, said that more than 20 government agencies are currently developing plans to improve access to government services and resources for AAPIs. There are four priority areas: disaggregating data, language access, workforce diversity and capacity building, she said.


The public can “like” specific aspects of each agency’s plan and make comments about them through March 31 by registering at aapi.ideascale.com.

Indian American actor Maulik Pancholy, who had a regular role on the TV show “30 Rock,” spoke during the video conference on the value of education and emphasized the need for a focus on educating underserved students in AAPI communities.

Pancholy announced the White House Initiative’s #AANAPISIstory, which seeks to raise awareness about Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions, which provide culturally relevant services and have high AAPI populations.

The initiative will collect photos, videos and writings about what AANAPISIs mean to the AAPI community. To share a story or learn more, visit bit.ly/AANAPISI.

Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center director Konrad Ng announced the theme for this year’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May: “I Am Beyond,” which “recognizes the depth, breadth and richness of America’s Asian Pacific heritage.”

The center is inviting organizations, individuals and communities to share their interpretation of the theme over social media using #IAMBEYOND and to visit www.apa.si.edu soon for more information.

Ahuja also said that regional town hall-like meetings would continue to be held across the U.S. to receive feedback from AAPI communities, including a roundtable and workshops in Oakland, Calif., March 25.

“We’re reinforcing relationships, forging coalitions, bolstering institutions and the capacity of community based organizations in order to ensure the federal government better serves us all,” she said.

To learn more about the Initiative, visit www.whitehouse.gov/aapi. A recording of the AAPI Google+ Hangout can be accessed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffIHSjlKyto.

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