CAPAC Members Celebrate Two Year Anniversary of Reauthorization of the White House Initiative on AAPIs

Oct 14, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements celebrating the two year anniversary of the reauthorization of the White House Initiative and President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA- 32), CAPAC Chair: “Today, we celebrate the two-year anniversary of President Obama’s reauthorization of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) and the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs. Both the Initiative and Commission have done an incredible job of engaging the Asian American and Pacific Islander community nationwide, promoting diversity in our federal workforce, raising awareness about key issues, and improving access to critical government resources and services. They are invaluable partners to the Members of our caucus and a clear example of the Administration’s commitment to meeting the needs of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

“As we mark this important anniversary, I would like to thank President Obama for appointing Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu as the new Co-Chair of the Initiative, and I would also like to thank Daphne Kwok and Kiran Ahuja for their tremendous leadership over the past two years. CAPAC looks forward to continuing our work with the Commission and Initiative to ensure that our government serves the interests of all Americans.”

Senator Daniel Akaka (HI): “Over the past two years the Obama White House has demonstrated strong leadership in elevating issues important to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. I was especially pleased by the visit members of the White House Initiative made to Hawaii last year, seeing first-hand the challenges facing the Native Hawaiian community and successful efforts to keep our culture thriving. I am confident that the Initiative will continue improving health, education, and economic opportunities for AAPIs across the country.”

Senator Daniel Inouye (HI): “I am very pleased that this initiative continues to thrive and receive significant support. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders represent the fasting growing ethnic group in America and we must continue to work to improve access to federal programs that meet the unique needs of these communities.”

Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo (GU), CAPAC Vice Chair: “For two years, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has worked to improve opportunities for and the quality of life of AAPIs within the Federal government and throughout our nation.  Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are often an overlooked minority population when confronting national issues, but WHIAAPI continues to advocate to resolve many of these disparities. I commend President Obama for his commitment and leadership in addressing the concerns of the AAPI community, and I look forward to working with Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu, the newly appointed WHIAAPI Co-Chair, as we promote the AAPI agenda.”

Congressman Mike Honda (CA-15), CAPAC Chair Emeritus: “Today marks not only the two-year anniversary of the reauthorization of the White House Initiative on AAPIs, but also reaffirms the President’s dedication in addressing the concerns of the AAPI community, whether it’s comprehensive immigration reform, access to quality health care, or greater educational opportunities.  Through our hard work, AAPI leaders were able to come together to ensure that the Initiative was reauthorized, and to this day it continues to serve as a powerful vehicle in moving our community forward. The President’s appointment of Chris Lu as Co-Chair of the Initiative, as well as Apolo Ohno, May Chen, and Dr. Tung Thanh Nguyen to the President’s AAPI Advisory Commission, adds four diverse and effective leaders to strengthen our efforts to improve the lives of all AAPIs.”

Congresswoman Mazie Hirono (HI-02): “Over the past two years, we have seen President Obama’s Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) address issues important to AAPI communities. Through this program, 35 organizations in Hawaii, including Ma`o Organic Farms and Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, showcased the success of community-run programs to increase AAPI involvement in public service and civic engagement opportunities. This starts with collecting information on the unique needs within the AAPI community, especially important in a state as culturally diverse as Hawaii. As the Initiative celebrates its second anniversary, I look forward to helping build on its successes. I also want to congratulate Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu on becoming the new co-chair of the Initiative. Secretary Lu has served tirelessly in a variety of roles in the House, Senate, and the White House, and I know he will be successful in his new role.”

Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-05): “As we celebrate the two year anniversary of the executive order reestablishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, I am encouraged by the President’s commitment to issues of importance to the AAPI community and I look forward to continuing to work with him to ensure our needs are met.  I had the privilege to work for President Clinton at the White House when this initiative was first created, and I can tell you first-hand of the important role that it plays in facilitating a dialogue between the Administration, Congress, and the AAPI Community as a whole.”

Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (CNMI): “One of the things the people of the Northern Mariana Islands can be most proud of now that we are represented in Congress is President Obama’s decision to appoint one of our own to his Advisory Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islanders. Dr. Debra Cabrera has brought to the Commission the viewpoint not only of her home islands, the Northern Marianas, but of Pacific Islanders everywhere in our country, both in the islands and on the mainland. As we mark the second anniversary of the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders, I thank Dr. Cabrera and her fellow commissioners for their work making sure that Asian and Pacific Islander Americans receive equal treatment under all federal programs.”

Background

On October 14, 2009 President Obama signed an executive order restoring the White House Initiative and President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to address issues concerning the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.  The Initiative is co-chaired by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu and is led by Executive Director Kiran Ahuja. The Commission is comprised of 20 commissioners and is currently chaired by Daphne Kwok. The Initiative and the Commission work to improve the quality of life and opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by facilitating increased access to and participation in federal programs where they remain underserved.

 

###

The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently Chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.