AAPI Highlights: “Who We Are, What America Is”

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AAPI Highlights, April 15, 2013


Welcome to this edition of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) Highlights. Read about the President’s statement regarding the explosions at the Boston Marathon, President’s promise to fight for the votes the Newtown families deserve, the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget and how it strengthens the economy for AAPI families, the White House Forum on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage, and more agency announcements.

President Obama: "Who We Are, What America Is"

Today, following a briefing from FBI Director Mueller, Attorney General Holder, Secretary Napolitano, and homeland security advisor Lisa Monaco, President Obama went to the Brady Press Briefing Room to update Americans on developments following two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon. As he said:

"This was a heinous and cowardly act. And given what we now know about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism. Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians it is an act of terror. What we don’t yet know, however, is who carried out this attack, or why; whether it was planned and executed by a terrorist organization, foreign or domestic, or was the act of a malevolent individual."

In addition to highlighting the tremendous acts of heroism by the men and women of the FBI, the Boston Police Department, and other agencies and first responders yesterday, the President praised the kindness, generosity, and love that was on display throughout the city of Boston in the aftermath of the bombings. "If you want to know who we are, what America is, how we respond to evil -- that’s it. Selflessly. Compassionately. Unafraid."

Read the President’s remarks here and view it here

President Obama Tells Newtown Families He Will Keep Fighting for the Votes They Deserve
President Obama in Oval Office

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Nicole Hockley and families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn., in the Oval Office, April 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)



On April 11, 2013, the Senate voted to move a step closer toward considering legislation that will help reduce gun violence. Shortly after the vote, President Obama made a call to family members of the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The President is calling on everyone who wants to prevent future tragedies to stand up and make their voices heard. Read more here. See the weekly address by Francine Wheeler, a Sandy Hook victim’s mother, who calls for commonsense gun responsibility reforms here.


Every day we wait to do something about gun violence, more lives are lost.  Just last August, we witnessed a horrific tragedy at the Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.  And since then, we’ve been reminded time and again that gun violence persists everywhere in our country – from Newtown, Connecticut to the streets of Chicago. Now is the time to do something about gun violence.  Because our voices are louder when we speak together, the White House is organizing a Thunderclap in support of these common sense steps to reduce gun violence. You can also get the word out by

 President Obama Sends Congress his Fiscal Year 2014 Budget

On April 10, 2013, the President sent Congress his Budget for Fiscal Year 2014. The 2014 Budget represents a fiscally responsible blueprint for middle-class jobs and growth. President Obama's budget replaces the across-the-board spending cuts with smarter ones, making long-term reforms, eliminating actual waste and programs that are no longer needed. Read more here.


To strengthen the economy for Asian American and Pacific Islander families, the 2014 Budget will reform our immigration system; increase access to high-quality early childhood education; improve college affordability and value; and create pathways to work for every American. Read more here.  


WHIAAPI Announcements


White House Forum on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage


On Thursday, May 9, national leaders and scholars will gather at the U.S. Department of the Interior to discuss how the legacy of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders should be recognized, preserved, and interpreted for future generations. Organized by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and the White House Office of Public Engagement, the event will feature remarks by senior Obama Administration officials and panel discussions featuring nationally recognized AAPI scholars and historians.


Date:   Thursday, May 9, 2013, 1:00 – 5:00 PM EST

Venue: U.S. Department of the Interior, Yates Auditorium, 1849 C Street, NW, Washington, DC 20240


RSVP here by no later than midnight on Friday, May 3, 2013. For more information, click here.


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.


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 Spotlight: The SES Development Program


The U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in partnership with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Asian American Government Executives Network (AAGEN), launched the AAGEN SES Development Program. The program is open to all professionals, inside and outside the government, at the GS-15 equivalent level or higher with at least one year of supervisory experience. The first cohort began in March 2012, and the second will begin at the end of April 2013. Read more about the program and what other agencies are doing to increase diversity within the federal government here.

AAPI Businesses Drive Economic Growth

On Tuesday, April 9th, the Export-Import Bank, the White House Office of Public Engagement, and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders hosted a Roundtable on Expanding Trade Finance to the AAPI community. The roundtable was an opportunity for executives of AAPI-serving community banks from across the U.S. to engage with senior Administration officials about increased understanding and awareness of federal programs. Read more here.

Agency Announcements


Request for Nominations of Members to Serve on the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations


The U.S. Census Bureau is requesting nominations of individuals, both experts and organizational representatives, to the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations. The Committee will include a minimum three members with expertise on or with experience representing each of the following populations: African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian; Hispanic; and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders. Submit your nominations by May 13, 2013. For more information, click here.


Signing Ceremony for Kilauea Point Lighthouse in Hawai'i to be renamed in Honor of Senator Daniel Inouye


On April 9, 2013, U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the renaming of the Kilauea Point Lighthouse on the island of Kaua’i in Hawai'i in honor of the late Senator Daniel Inouye. The action is in recognition of his distinguished career and longtime support of conservation in Hawai'i and, in particular, the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. A formal ceremony to dedicate the Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse will be held at the lighthouse on May 4, 2013. Read more here.


U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Issues Statement on Equal Pay Day 2013


April 9, 2013 was Equal Pay Day, the day that marks the end of the extra period of time that the average woman in the U.S. must work in order to earn what the average man earned during the previous year. In 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act to end wage disparities among employees who performed work requiring substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions. Read more here.


HUD Secretary Donovan Announces Expanded Efforts to Help Homeowners Impacted by Hurricane Sandy


In an effort to expand relief to homeowners impacted by Hurricane Sandy, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, who also chairs the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, announced on April 12, 2013, a series of additional measures to allow families to get back on their feet without having to face the prospect of foreclosure. Read more here.


U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Additional $76 Million in Emergency Relief Funds for Hurricane Sandy Damage in New Jersey


On April 10, 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced he is making $76 million in emergency relief funds available to New Jersey to continue to repair highway, road, and bridge damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. Read more here.


$19 Million in Grants to be made to SBA Resource Partners to Support Hurricane Sandy Small Business Recovery


Small businesses can take advantage of free expanded counseling, training and technical assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s resource partners—the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), SCORE, and Women’s Business Centers (WBCs). In the first phase of counseling and technical assistance funding, $5.8 million is being distributed to SBA resource partners in 11 states--Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia--and Puerto Rico. Read more here.


Grant Opportunities


CMS Announces Opportunity to Apply for Marketplace Navigator Grants


On April 9, 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the availability of new funding to support Navigators in Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces. Navigators are individuals and entities 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. The funding opportunity announcement is open to eligible self-employed individuals and private and public entities applying to serve as Navigators in states with a Federally-facilitated or State Partnership Marketplace. The new funding opportunity provides up to $54 million in total funding and applications are due by June 7, 2013. Read more here.


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 interesting 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). For additional information, please see here. All applications are due April 30, 2013.