September 20, 2014

AAA Fund Congratulates Erika Moritsugu on her Confirmation as Assistant Secretary for HUD

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 7, 2014

AAA-Fund Congratulates Erika Moritsugu on her Confirmation as Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Washington, D.C. — The Asian American Action Fund congratulates Erika Moritsugu on her confirmation as Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations at the Department of Housing an Urban Development.

Ms. Moritsugu has previously served as Executive Director and on the Advisory Board of the AAA-Fund, a Democratic political action committee. Directly prior to her appointment, she was Deputy Assistant Director for Legislative Affairs at the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. Earlier, Ms. Moritsugu was the Deputy Legislative Director for U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka, and Acting Staff Director for the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.

“On behalf of our Board, we heartily congratulate Erika,” said AAA-Fund Executive Director Gautam Dutta. “We salute her leadership and commitment to public service,” he added.

Ms. Moritsugu received a B.A. from the College of William and Mary in Government and Fine Arts and a J.D. with honors from the George Washington University Law School. She was raised in Hawai’i.

AAA-Fund Deputy Executive Director Melissa Hampe stated, “I look forward to Erika continuing to serve with distinction. From her time at the city prosecutor’s office in Honolulu, to her Senate and other high-level federal service, to now, she has been a talented leader in policy development. We are thrilled to see someone with her depth of experience and expertise leading one of our nation’s most vital agencies and working to improve access to housing for all Americans.”

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–Caroline

CAPAC Chair on Resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki

Editor’s Note: The below is a reposting of “CAPAC Chair on Resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki” from our friends at CAPAC (Facebook, Twitter).

May 30, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Today, President Obama accepted the resignation of Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), released the following statement:

“Secretary Eric Shinseki served our country in many capacities – as an officer in the Army, a General, and a distinguished public servant,” said Chairwoman Chu. “A wounded veteran and four-star general, he dedicated his career to safeguarding our nation and ensuring the well-being of our men and women in uniform.”

“Moving forward, we must return our attention to the problem at hand, which is to ensure that our promise as a nation is kept to each and every veteran. The VA faces grave and systemic problems, and we must assess them and provide the solutions our veterans need and deserve.”

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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.

Feb 20: National AAPI Community Google+ Hangout

Editor’s Note: Below is a reposting of “National AAPI Community Google+ Hangout: February 20“. We’ve also Re-tweeted a lot about this event! Re-tweet with us.

Please join the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI), as well as government, civic and business leaders from across the country on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 3 PM ET for our National AAPI Community Google+ Hangout!

Building on key topics highlighted in President Obama’s State of the Union address, we’ll discuss national priorities for AAPI communities and launch a drive to engage the AAPI community. We’ll also announce new efforts we’re working on with our partners around critical issues facing the AAPI community.

White House and Administration officials will talk about what we’ve learned and done nationally, and our next steps. Konrad Ng, Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, will announce this year’s AAPI Heritage Month theme. And, most importantly, we’ll have an opportunity to hear from people like you.

You can submit questions anytime on Twitter using #WHIAAPI, email them to WhiteHouseAAPI@ed.gov, or submit them on Google+ before or during the Hangout, but the inaugural National AAPI Community Google+ Hangout depends on your thoughtful participation, so please sign-up and join the conversation.

NATIONAL AAPI COMMUNITY GOOGLE+ HANGOUT

Hosted by the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

DATE:      Thursday, February 20, 2014
TIME:      3 p.m. ET (12 noon PT)
LINK:      http://bit.ly/AAPIGoogleHangout

Kiran Ahuja is Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.


Editor’s Note: Below is more about this special & important event from our friends at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.” Note that Education Secretary Arne Duncan and WH AAPI Initiative director Kiran Ahuja will deliver remarks and talk with students at the East Coast Asian American Student Union’s (ECAASU) 2014 Conference in Washington on Friday discussing several of the points below while encouraging students to pursue mission-oriented work.

White House Initiative
on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
THURSDAY, FEB. 20, 2014
CONTACT: Rebecca Lee at 202-245-6353 or rebecca.lee@ed.gov

WHITE HOUSE INITIATIVE ON ASIAN AMERICANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS TO EXPAND ON PROGRESS MADE

Federal Officials Announce New Efforts to Expand Opportunities for AAPIs on Community Google+ Hangout

WASHINGTON – Building on themes outlined in President Obama‘s State of the Union address to Congress last month, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Executive Director Kiran Ahuja today announced new plans to expand opportunities at the national level and increase community engagement at the local level.

Joined by federal officials and community members across the country on a Google+ Hangout held today, Ahuja outlined key elements of a regional strategy designed to build upon the Initiative’s success over the past four years improving access to services and protections for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country.

Officials on the Hangout also highlighted activities the Initiative is taking, including a comprehensive report on what federal agencies have accomplished to increase access for AAPIs, the launch of a campaign to raise awareness of Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), a call for proposals to leverage the skills and talents of people across the country with the Initiative, and the official theme of this year’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this May.

Ahuja said the Initiative is providing the building blocks toward accessible education, affordable health care, and secure retirements for all. And that they are building on what they’ve learned and done nationally and offering new ideas to meet the demands of the nation’s fastest growing demographic.

“A better America is possible, one with policies that strengthen us and a government that serves all of us, including the AAPI community” said Ahuja. “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.”

Regional Working Groups

On the Hangout, Ahuja said regional interagency working groups of officials representing more than 20 federal agencies and sub-agencies have been formed and trained to work with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

Regional working groups in New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles have already hit the ground running. In the last few months, they heard directly from community members about their challenges and have started to demystify the work of the federal government and its programs and services and create new partnerships with community leaders.

Federal Agency Feedback

On the Hangout, officials released a comprehensive plan and report of what each federal agency will do and has done to improve and expand access of AAPIs to resources this year. The policies represent the federal government’s commitment to increasing access to services for the AAPI community, with an emphasis on four priority areas: data disaggregation, language access, workforce diversity and capacity building.

To solicit feedback on the plans, the Initiative launched an interactive module where the public can “like” specific aspects of each plan and make comments about particular activities.. The feedback module will be open until March 31, 2014 and can be found on aapi.ideascale.com.

Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions

To meet President Obama’s goal of having America produce the highest proportion of college graduates in the world once again by the year 2020, actor Maulik Pancholy said on the Hangout that there should be a focus on underserved students in the nation’s fastest growing demographic, many of whom also have the lowest rates of college attainment.

Pancholy announced the Initiative’s #AANAPISIstory campaign on the Hangout, which seeks to raise awareness about Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), the educational institutions that provide culturally relevant services and have high AAPI populations, to help meet President’s Obama’s 2020 goal.

Using #AANAPISIstory on social media platforms, the Initiative will collect stories in the form of photos, videos and writing about what AANAPISIs mean to members of the AAPI community. To share a story and learn more about AANAPISIs, please visit bit.ly/AANAPISI.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

During the Hangout, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center director Konrad Ng announced its theme for this year’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May: “I Am Beyond.”

“This year’s theme captures how AAPIs have met challenges and excelled beyond them in shaping the nation,” said Ng. ” ‘I am Beyond’ recognizes the depth, breadth and richness of America’s Asian Pacific heritage.”

Ng said the Center is inviting organizations, individuals and communities across the country to join the commemoration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and share their interpretation of the theme over social media using #IAMBEYOND. Visit www.apa.si.edu soon for more information. Expressions can include, but are not limited to, visual art, literary work, or multimedia. The theme aims to enrich the appreciation of the Asian American and Pacific Islander contributions to the American story.

About the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

On October 14, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Executive Order reestablishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (Initiative). The Initiative, chaired by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and led by Executive Director Kiran Ahuja, is housed within the U.S. Department of Education. The Initiative works 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 Initiative seeks to highlight both the tremendous unmet needs in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities as well as the dynamic community assets that can be leveraged to meet many of those needs. The Initiative focuses on crosscutting priority areas that may reach across all issue areas and agencies, including, for example, advancing research, data collection, analysis and dissemination for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and ensuring access, especially linguistic access and cultural competence, for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and encouraging Asian American and Pacific Islander involvement in public service and civic engagement opportunities.

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**NOTE: To learn more about the Initiative, visit www.whitehouse.gov/aapi. A recording of the Google+ Hangout can be accessed at bit.ly/AAPIGoogleHangout.**

Obama Nominates Christopher P. Lu for Department of Labor Deputy Secretary

Editor’s Note: The below is a highlight of “President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts“. Chris is a former White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders co-chair, an organization we often publicize and support.

WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Christopher P. Lu, Nominee for Deputy Secretary, Department of Labor

Christopher P. Lu is a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, and in 2013, he was also a fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy. From 2009 to 2013, Mr. Lu served in the White House as Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary. Previously, in 2008, he served as Executive Director of the Obama-Biden Transition Project. From 2005 to 2008, Mr. Lu served as Legislative Director and then as Acting Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Barack Obama. From 1997 to 2005, Mr. Lu was Deputy Chief Counsel of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (Minority Staff). He began his career as a law clerk to Judge Robert E. Cowen on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and as an attorney at Sidley Austin. Mr. Lu was Co-Chair of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from 2011 to 2013. He received an A.B. from Princeton University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Dictionary: Shutdown

After watching this video of a Republican belitting a Parks official for turning people away …

… what could I possibly say that hasn’t already been written about this past week? Too many angles, all covered, lies included, so as inspired by this biting comment on that video, I bring back another dictionary (last time, it was about healthcare):

what extremist conservatives do what extremist Christians do
ignores any reason, debate, reconciliation to advance the goal ignores any reason, debate, reconciliation to advance the goal
take everything personally add personal attacks
burn the earth to get what you need burn the earth because God’s all that counts
use hate, meanness, anger to get what you need never denounce haters who wave the flag of Jesus
ignore criticism, stick to your guns ignore criticism, stick to your Bible
rest of the world doesn’t matter, only one’s own agenda rest of the world doesn’t matter, only those one can convert
absolutely non-negotiable and proud of it
greed & selfishness self-justified by one’s chosen party greed & selfishness self-justified by one’s chosen Christian sect

Get it?

Anyone wonder what’s so wrong about the system? An uninvolved electorate that’s so fragmented that it can only parrot one’s self-selected media intake? You elect idiots, you get parody of it could suffice anymore and even that will be still closer to the truth.

Political Appointments 101: Opportunities in the Obama Administration

AAAF logo

Asian American Action Fund
Presents:

Political Appointments 101: Opportunities in the Obama Administration

Asian Pacific Americans voted overwhelmingly for President Obama with a decisive 73% for his re-election in 2012. In order to have a successful second term, we need a government that represents the full diversity of America. The Asian American Action Fund invites you to a professional development panel to learn about opportunities for serving as a Presidential political appointee or on Presidential-appointed Boards and Commissions. Come and hear first-hand from the White House Office of Presidential Personnel and a panel of distinguished public servants of varying professional levels of experience about their service in the current Administration.

NOTE: This event is off the record and should not be recorded.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Kamala Vasagam, Special Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel
  • Paul Igasaki, Chair and Chief Judge of the Administrative Review Board, Department of Lab
  • Rajan Trivedi, Special Assistant to the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Millennium Challenge Corporation
  • Francey Youngberg, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Engagement, HUD
    Others TBD

Moderator: Irene Lin, AAA-Fund Board Member and current appointee

DATE/TIME: Monday, September 16 6:00 PM Check In

6:30 – 8:30 PM Panel Starts

LOCATION: O’Melveny & Myers, 1625 I St NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20005 (Farragut West and Farragut North Metro); Google Maps

RSVP REQUIRED: Seating is limited, RSVP required at EventBrite.

Question of the Day: Supreme Asian Am Candidates

If a US Supreme Court retires in President Obama’s second term, which Asian American leaders could be among the leading contenders for the seat? (Hint: two of them live in California.)

— Gautam Dutta

The Meaning of Patriotism: Edward Snowden

Is Edward Snowden a patriot or a traitor?  It’s only fitting to bring this up over the July 4 weekend.

As for myself, I’m not sold that he’s in either category.  On the one hand, it takes guts to reveal that our government (specifically, the NSA) has been illegally spying on us.  On the other hand, why did Snowden reveal some embarrassing information that had nothing to do with our civil liberties?  What good did it accomplish to reveal that our country has spied on both our competitors and allies?

Personally, I wish Snowden would return to the US to stand trial.  Given that a lot of people have already volunteered to fund his defense, he would receive a fair hearing.

What do you think about Edward Snowden?

— Gautam Dutta

Question of the Week: Return of the Tea Party?

Will the IRS’s “Tea Party” scandal help the Tea Party regain some of its lost influence?  Here’s what Fox News has to say.

— Gautam Dutta

Presidential Proclamation — Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 2013

The below is a re-posting of Presidential Proclamation — Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 2013. Note also the 2012 proclamation.

ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH, 2013
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Each May, our Nation comes together to recount the ways Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) helped forge our country. We remember a time 170 years ago, when Japanese immigrants first set foot on American shores and opened a path for millions more. We remember 1869, when Chinese workers laid the final ties of the transcontinental railroad after years of backbreaking labor. And we remember Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have made our country bigger and brighter again and again, from Native Hawaiians to the generations of striving immigrants who shaped our history — reaching and sweating and scraping to give their children something more. Their story is the American story, and this month, we honor them all.

For many in the AAPI community, that story is one also marked by lasting inequality and bitter wrongs. Immigrants seeking a better life were often excluded, subject to quotas, or denied citizenship because of their race. Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders endured decades of persecution and broken promises. Japanese Americans suffered profoundly under internment during World War II, even as their loved ones fought bravely abroad. And in the last decade, South Asian Americans — particularly those who are Muslim, Hindu, or Sikh — have too often faced senseless violence and suspicion due only to the color of their skin or the tenets of their faith.

This year, we recognize the 25th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act’s repeal — milestones that helped mend deep wounds of systemic discrimination. And with irrepressible determination and optimism, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have prevailed over adversity and risen to the top of their fields — from medicine to business to the bench. But even now, too many hardworking AAPI families face disparities in health care, education, and employment that keep them from getting ahead.

My Administration remains committed to addressing those disparities. Through the White House Initiative on AAPIs, we are working to ensure equal access to Federal programs that meet the diverse needs of AAPI communities. We are standing up for civil rights, economic opportunity, and better outcomes in health and education. We are fighting for commonsense immigration reform so America can continue to be a magnet for the best and brightest from all around the world, including Asia and the Pacific.

Meeting those challenges will not be easy. But the history of the AAPI community shows us how with hope and resolve, we can overcome the problems we face. We can reaffirm our legacy as a Nation where all things are possible for all people. So this month, as we recognize Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who are fulfilling that promise in every corner of our country, let us recommit to giving our children and grandchildren the same opportunity in the years ahead.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2013 as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to visit http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/aapi and www.AsianPacificHeritage.gov to learn more about the history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA

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