AAPI Weekly Highlights: 2013 AAPI Heritage Month Theme

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 AAPI Highlights, April 8, 2013

Welcome to this edition of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) Highlights. Read about the President’s call for common sense proposals to reduce gun violence, the National Day of Civic Hacking, the BRAIN Initiative, the 2013 Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month theme, and more agency announcements.


President Obama: Requiring Background Checks for Anyone Who Wants to Buy a Gun is Common Sense


President Obama in Denver

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Denver Police Academy in Denver, Colo., April 3, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

On April 3, 2013, in Colorado, President Obama asked the American people to continue calling on Congress to vote on a set of common sense proposals to help reduce gun violence, including closing loopholes in the background check system to keep guns out of the hands criminals and others who should not have access to them. Since the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut prompted a national call for action just over 100 days ago, gun violence has killed more than 2,000 Americans. In the 20 years since it was first established, the national background check system has already kept more than 2 million dangerous people from buying a gun. But loopholes currently in the law let too many criminals avoid background checks entirely, President Obama said. Read more here.


National Day of Civic Hacking at the White House

On the first weekend in June, civic activists, technology experts, and entrepreneurs around the country will gather together for the National Day of Civic Hacking. By combining their expertise with new technologies and publicly released data, participants hope to build tools that help others in their own neighborhoods and across the United States. Read more here.

BRAIN Initiative Challenges Researchers to Unlock Mysteries of Human Mind

On April 2, 2013, President Obama unveiled the “BRAIN” Initiative—a bold new research effort to revolutionize our understanding of the human mind and uncover new ways to treat, prevent, and cure brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury. The BRAIN Initiative — short for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies — builds on the President’s State of the Union call for historic investments in research and development to fuel the innovation, job creation, and economic growth that together create a thriving middle class. The Initiative promises to accelerate the invention of new technologies that will help researchers produce real-time pictures of complex neural circuits and visualize the rapid-fire interactions of cells that occur at the speed of thought. Read more here.


WHIAAPI Announcements


2013 Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month


For the 2013 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center cordially invite you or your organization to participate in a national observance of this event. The theme of this year’s Heritage Month is “I Want the Wide American Earth,” chosen by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center to highlight the poem by acclaimed Filipino American writer Carlos Bulosan. This year’s AAPI Heritage Month celebrates the contributions of millions of AAPIs to the American story and reminds us of the unique and emerging challenges facing AAPIs as they continue to embrace the American dream. Read more here.


Webinar on the Affordable Care Act 101: What the Health Care Law Means for Small Businesses


WHIAAPI invites you to join a webinar on Monday, April 15, from 3:00-4:00 PM ET on the Affordable Care Act 101: What the Health Care Law Means for Small Businesses with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF). Learn more here


If you would like to participate, please find the log-in information below:


Conference Call-in number: 888-989-4620

Participant Passcode: 99665  


Optional Web Chat / Webinar Information:

1. Click Here 

2. If requested, enter your name and email address.
3. If a password is required, enter the meeting password: whitehouseaapi
4. Click "Join".

5. Follow the instructions that appear on your screen.


Note: This call is off the record and not for press purposes.


Internship Opportunities 

WHIAAPI is accepting Fall 2013 Internship applications. The deadline to apply is May 15, 2013. WHIAAPI is seeking highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in AAPI issues and have outstanding research, writing, and computer skills. To apply, submit a statement to WhiteHouseAAPI@ed.gov describing (1) one issue that affects the AAPI community, (2) a strategy that you would implement at the Initiative to address that issue, and (3) the organizations and/or federal agencies with whom you would collaborate.                                  


Agency Announcements


CMS Proposes Help for Consumers Navigating the Health Insurance Marketplace "Navigators" to Provide Assistance for Reviewing Insurance Options

On April 3, 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule outlining standards that Navigators in Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces must meet, and clarifying earlier guidance about the Navigator program. Navigators are organizations that will provide unbiased information to consumers about health insurance, the new Health Insurance Marketplace, qualified health plans, and public programs including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Navigators will provide accurate and impartial assistance to consumers shopping for coverage plans in the new Marketplace. Read more here.

CMS releases Upcoming State-by-State Calls and Registration Information for Health Insurance Marketplace

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) wants to highlight some recent updates made to help keep you informed on the Health Insurance Marketplace.  These include a new online destination for resources – Marketplace.cms.govHere are some of the new items on this site:

  • Information about upcoming Stakeholder Consultation opportunities. 
  • Brand Guidelines that provide standards related to the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  •  An overview Training Presentation that will help you understand and explain:
    •  The Marketplace and who is eligible
    •  The enrollment process
    •  Options for those with limited income

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Statement on National Minority Health Month

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in her statement on National Minority Month, stated “April is National Minority Health Month, a time when we reflect on the incredible opportunity we face as a nation to improve minority health, advance health equity, and eliminate health disparities.” Read the full statement here and learn more about National Minority Health Month here.

Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month


On April 3, 2013, U.S. Department of Justice - Office on Violence Against Women joins the nation in recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAM) and stands with survivors everywhere in calling for justice. Read more here.


SBA and AARP Host Entrepreneur Mentor Month


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and AARP are teaming up to host National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Month targeted at entrepreneurs over the age of 50. To find a local event near you go to www.sba.gov/mentormonth. Throughout April, SBA District Offices, state AARP Offices and SBA Resource Partners will host more than 100 events around the country. Events include speed mentoring, which allows mentors and entrepreneurs to share information for five-minute sessions, and mentor lunches for entrepreneurs to learn best practices from successful small business owners. Read more here.


Treasury Announces $8.9 Billion Increase in Small Business Lending By Participants in the Small Business Lending Fund

On April 3, 2013, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released a new report showing that participants receiving capital through the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF) boosted lending for the seventh straight quarter.  In total, SBLF participants have increased small business lending by about $8.9 billion since the depths of the recession in 2009.  This increased lending represents an estimated 38,000 additional small business loans over baseline levels. To view this information graphically, as well as detail on the increased lending across all regions, click here. The report also shows that SBLF participants increased their lending by $1.5 billion more than the prior quarter, representing the second highest increase since the start of the program. Read more here.

Statement by Secretary Chuck Hagel on Vietnam Veterans Day

On March 29, 2013, U.S. Department of Defense released a statement from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on Vietnam Veterans Day. He stated, in part, “When Vietnam veterans reached their hometowns, many were not greeted with the appreciation and respect they very much deserved. In our time we must take every opportunity to thank all veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice.” Read the full statement here.


HUD Announces Steps to Help End Avoidable Radon-Induced Lung Cancer Deaths in Housing


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has taken significant steps towards eliminating radon exposure in renter-occupied homes by issuing two new policies that will incorporate radon testing and mitigation into HUD programs to help prevent some of the estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths radon causes in the United States every year. HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing new policy requires radon testing and, if applicable, mitigation for most new Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured construction, conversion and substantial rehabilitation projects, as well as most FHA-insured refinance transactions. Read more here. 


EPA Proposes Achievable Cleaner Fuels and Cars Standard, Slashing Air Pollution and Providing Extensive Health Benefits


On March 29, 2013, based on extensive input from auto manufacturers, refiners, and states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed sensible standards for cars and gasoline that will significantly reduce harmful pollution, prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses, while also enabling efficiency improvements in the cars and trucks we drive. Once fully in place, the standards will help avoid up to 2,400 premature deaths per year and 23,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children. Read more here.


A Journey to a Better Life: USCIS Officer Bao Dinh’s Story


Immigration Services Officer Bao Dinh is always ready to offer help and advice to anyone who has a question about their case. Like many U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) employees, Dinh is an immigrant and a naturalized U.S. citizen. However, few people who meet and work with this soft-spoken man can imagine the hardship and danger that was a part of much of his early life. In March 1991, Dinh was finally able to leave Vietnam as a refugee to the United States through a program to assist political prisoners. Dinh arrived in California, he worked several jobs and earned an associate degree. After working as a clerk, he applied for a job opening in 2002 with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (the predecessor of USCIS). Dinh was hired, and has since been promoted several times. Read more here.


Grant Opportunities


SSA Grant: Request for Applications (RFA) - Retirement Research Consortium


U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) announces the solicitation of applications for a cooperative agreement to re-compete the Retirement Research Consortium (RRC). SSA seeks applications in support of the RRC that will continue to serve as a national resource fostering high quality research, communication, and education on matters related to retirement policy. The Consortium may consist of one or more research centers. The Consortium's program purpose is to benefit the public through research, evaluation, and data development; dissemination; and training and education. Read more here.


2013 Pre-Doctoral Fellowships in Disability Policy


The Disability Research Consortium has announced an award opportunity for Pre-Doctoral students interested in conducting disability policy related research. The National Bureau for Economic Research will administer this program under a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). The Center is currently soliciting applications for the Pre-Doctoral Fellowships in Disability Policy. For additional information, please see here. All applications are due April 30, 2013.


Grants Available from US Labor Department to Provide Job Training, Employment Services for 2,600 Homeless Veterans


On April 3, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the availability of Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program grants. Approximately 2,600 veterans will receive job training and related services to help them succeed in civilian careers. Funds for the grants will be awarded on a competitive basis to state and local workforce investment boards, public agencies, nonprofit organizations, tribal governments, and faith-based and community organizations.. Read more here.


US Department of Labor Announces Availability of Grants to Help Juvenile Offenders Gain the Skills Necessary to Enter the Workforce


On April 1, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the availability grants to improve the long-term labor market prospects of youth involved in the juvenile justice system. The "Face Forward" grants are designed to give youth a chance at success by offering support services, training and skills development that can help them obtain employment and overcome the stigma of a juvenile record. Eligible participants in grantee programs must be between ages 16 and 24, currently reside in the geographic area to be served, and must have been involved in or currently involved in the juvenile justice system or be candidates for state juvenile diversion programs. Read more here.