AAPI Weekly Highlights: A Better Bargain for the Middle Class

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AAPI Highlights, July 29, 2013

Welcome to this edition of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) Highlights. Read about President Obama's plan to offer a better bargain for the middle class, the argument for raising the minimum wage, Tina Tchen's remarks at the OCA National 40th Anniversary National Convention, World Hepatitis Day, the Healthy Engaged Youth (HEY!) Project, and more agency announcements.

President Barack Obama visits with Make-A-Wish child Suhail Zaveri, 14, from Anaheim, Calif., in the Oval Office, July 16, 2013.

President Barack Obama visits with Make-A-Wish child Suhail Zaveri, 14, from Anaheim, Calif., in the Oval Office, July 16, 2013. Accompanying Suhail are his parents Sandeep and Asmi Zaveri, and younger brother Arsh Zaveri. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

A Better Bargain for the Middle Class

In his weekly address, President Obama tells the American people about his speech at Knox College on Wednesday, where he discussed the cornerstones of what it means to be middle class, including having a good job, a home that is your own, quality education, a secure retirement, and affordable health care. Watch President Obama's weekly address. Let the country know that you believe that America works best not when it grows from the top-down, but when it grows from the middle-out and speak out to support the middle class.

Raising the Minimum Wage Is Good for the Economy

Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling and Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Alan Krueger wrote about the benefits of raising the minimum wage. For workers and their families, a minimum wage increase provides a boost to their income that both helps them make ends meet and increases spending in the broader economy. For business, it can help reduce “churn,” increasing retention in ways that avoid the cost of hiring and training new workers. See the case for a minimum wage increase.

President Obama proclaims World Hepatitis Day

On July 25th, President Obama marked World Hepatitis Day to bring attention to a disease that afflicts one in twelve people worldwide. Viral hepatitis is a major cause of liver cancer and cirrhosis in the United States, leading to approximately 18,000 American deaths every year. Outcomes can significantly improve with treatment, but because viral hepatitis can be present without symptoms for decades, most infected Americans do not know they have it. On World Hepatitis Day, the Administration raises awareness about preventing and treating viral hepatitis, and renews its commitment to combat this disease in all its forms. Read the World Hepatitis Day proclamation here.

President Obama Hosts Iftar Dinner at the White House

Last week, President Obama hosted his fifth Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan. The Iftar is the meal that breaks the day of fasting during Ramadan, when Muslim families eat together after sunset. During his remarks, the President thanked the Muslim community for the sacrifices they've made for the United States. Read more about the Iftar Dinner at the White House.

President Obama Pays Tribute to Korean War Veterans: "Your Shining Deeds Will Live"

On Saturday, President Obama paid tribute to the veterans of the Korean War, marking the 60th anniversary of the war's end. "Perhaps the highest tribute we can offer our veterans of Korea is to do what should have been done the day you came home,” the President said during remarks at the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall. “In our hurried lives, let us pause. Let us listen. Let these veterans carry us back to the days of their youth, and let us be awed by their shining deeds." Read more about President Obama's tribute to Korean War Veterans.

WHIAAPI Highlights

Healthy Engaged Youth (HEY!) Kickoff Webinar

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, the White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, and the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universitieswill host a webinar with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday, August 8, from 3:00-4:00 PM EDT about Healthy Engaged Youth! (HEY!), a youth-driven initiative to engage and educate fellow youth and community members about the new options for health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Read more about the webinar.

Blog Post: Celebrating Forty Years of Advancing AAPI Issues

Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama Tina Tchen spoke at the OCA National 40th Anniversary National Convention. In a blog post, she writes “Since 1973, OCA has brought together diverse and far reaching communities for a common cause: to advance the social, political, and economic wellbeing of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the United States. Last week, I had the honor of addressing OCA at its 40th Anniversary Gala in Washington, D.C. and paying tribute to the organization's history and legacy. OCA's many accomplishments over the last forty years are a reminder that, individually, our voices are often swept into the wind, but when we speak together our words have the power to move mountains.” Read Tina Tchen's blog post on her remarks at the OCA Convention.

Agency Spotlight: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Increasing Access For Underserved Communities

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is committed to ensuring that AAPIs and other underserved populations can fully utilize the agency's services and programs. Last year, the EEOC's legal and enforcement staff sponsored or participated in over 70 outreach events involving various AAPI community groups, consortiums, religious organizations, and bar associations, and at least 14 outreach events for small Asian-owned businesses, reaching more than 5,500 people in almost every region of the country. The EEOC also translated 12 educational pieces into seven alternative languages, including Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean. Because data disaggregation is critically important to understanding the needs of the AAPI community, the EEOC now collects race and national origin data of the individual filing a charge of discrimination for the following Asian national origins: Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Pakistani, Thai, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese. Learn more about the work that the EEOC is doing.

Agency Highlights

World Hepatitis Day Statement by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

In recognition of World Hepatitis Day, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh issued a statement: On World Hepatitis Day, we reaffirm our commitment to combating the “silent epidemic” of viral hepatitis. Globally, one in 12 people has chronic hepatitis B or C infection. About 1 million people die each year from chronic viral hepatitis. Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer in the United States and worldwide. And while it is the most common blood-borne infection and a leading infectious cause of death, claiming the lives of some 15,000 Americans each year, viral hepatitis often remains unrecognized as a public health priority. Read HHS' full statement on World Hepatitis Day.

Seven Ways to Save in the Health Insurance Marketplace

There are several ways you can save money in the Health Insurance Marketplace. How you save, and how much you save, depends on several things, including family size and income. Read Healthcare.gov's list of ways to save in the Health Insurance Marketplace here.

A Better Bargain: Education

President Obama named education as one of the cornerstones of middle-class security in a speech on Wednesday at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. President Obama said that our country needs to provide an education “that prepares our children and our workers for the global competition that they're going to face.” The Department of Education is engaging in numerous programs that support the President's plan. Read about those programs here.

Grant Opportunities

NIMHD Basic and Applied Biomedical Research on Minority Health and Health Disparities

The overall goal of this initiative is to enhance our understanding of fundamental biological mechanisms involved in disease conditions that disproportionately affect health disparity populations and develop therapies or interventions that can directly or demonstrably contribute to the reduction or elimination of health disparities. The closing date for applications is 11/26/13. The award ceiling is $250,000. More details on the grant opportunity.

Grants For Transportation Of Veterans In Highly Rural Areas

VA will award grants to eligible recipients to assist veterans in highly rural areas through innovative transportation services to travel to VA medical centers and to other VA and non-VA facilities in connection with the provision of VA medical care. The closing date for applications is 9/9/13. The award ceiling is $50,000. More details on the grant opportunity.

VA Announces $300 Million in New Grants to Help End Veterans' Homelessness

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced today the award of nearly $300 million in grants that will help approximately 120,000 homeless and at-risk Veterans and their families. The grants have been awarded to 319 community agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Read more about the awards here.