AAPI Weekly Highlights: President Obama Encourages Americans to Support Relief Efforts in the Philippines

AAPI Highlights, November 20, 2013 

Welcome to this edition of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) Highlights. Read about the Administration’s work to support relief efforts in the Philippines, new steps for Americans receiving insurance cancellation policies, and agency announcements.

As a reminder, you can read about our work at www.whitehouse.gov/aapi and you can follow us on Twitter: @WhiteHouseAAPI for the Initiative, @KiranAhujaAAPI for Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of the Initiative, and @Inouye44 for Shin Inouye, White House Director of Specialty Media.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet visitors in the Blue Room during a White House tour. (Official White House Photo by Pete So 
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet visitors in the Blue Room during a White House tour. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama Encourages Americans to Support Relief Efforts in the Philippines

President Obama said, “I encourage Americans who want to help our Filipino friends to visit whitehouse.gov/typhoon, which offers links to organizations working in the Philippines and ways to support their efforts. With so many families and communities in the Philippines in urgent need of food, water, shelter and medicine, even small contributions can make a big difference and help save lives.” Read more here.

USAID Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg Travels to the Philippines

On November 15, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Nancy Lindborg traveled to the Philippines to assess the devastation of the typhoon that has recently hit the region. Learn more about USAID’s efforts and how you can help here.

Statement by the President on the Anniversary of the Birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji

“I want to extend my best wishes to all our Sikh friends, across the United States and around the world, who this weekend are observing the anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first Sikh Guru.  This sacred time is an occasion to reflect on Guru Nanak’s timeless teachings and the principles that are at the heart of Sikhism, including the equality of all human beings, the pluralism we cherish in diverse societies and the compassion we owe one another.  Here in the United States, we’re grateful to the many Sikh Americans who give life to these values and enrich our country every day, reminding us that these shared principles are not only at the heart of the Sikh faith, they are central to who we are as Americans.” Read the statement here.

 President Obama Announces New Steps to Help Americans Receiving Insurance Cancellation Notices

Last week, President Obama announced that insurers can offer these customers the option to renew their 2013 health plans in 2014, without change, allowing them to keep their plans. "The bottom line,” President Obama said, is that "insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be canceled into 2014, and Americans whose plans have been canceled can choose to re-enroll in the same kind of plan." Read more.

WHIAAPI Announcements

 Minority Serving Institutions: Educating All Students

WHIAAPI Executive Director Kiran Ahuja reflects on the importance of Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). By the end of this decade, our nation will need an additional 1.5 million college graduates to meet the demands of our economy, and yet, the reality is we will have 6 million workers without a high school degree who will be unable to find jobs. MSIs play an important role in achieving President Obama’s goal to lead the world with the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020. Read more here.

Learning about the Health Insurance Marketplace in Vietnamese

On November 6, 2013, WHIAAPI held a Google+ Hangout in Vietnamese to discuss the Health Insurance Marketplace, a whole new way to shop for affordable, quality health coverage. Vietnamese American communities from around the country tuned in. In addition, Vietnamese American community groups gathered at local community centers in California, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas to participate in the discussion. Read more here and watch the full video.

Building a Stronger AAPI Community in Kansas and Missouri

Hosted at the Filipino Cultural Center in Overland, Kansas, the Initiative convened a roundtable earlier this month that gathered over 40 individuals representing immigrant communities from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam.  Participants discussed critical community issues with federal representatives from six agencies. “I have worked at SSA for over 25 years, and I have not been this inspired by a community roundtable for a long time,” says Jewell Colbert, Regional Communications Director of the Kansas City Region for the Social Security Administration. Read more here.

Agency Spotlight: Expanding Outreach to the AAPI Small Business Community: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is committed to expanding business opportunities for the AAPI community.  Last year, NASA participated in a number of national conferences, such as the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers and the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Procurement Conference, and created a web link on its Office of Small Business Programs website highlighting business opportunities for the AAPI small business community.  As a result of its improved outreach efforts, NASA’s percentage of dollars obligated to small businesses, including AAPI small businesses, increased from 17.9% in FY 2011 to 19.6% in FY 2012.  NASA also increased its percentage of dollars obligated to small disadvantaged businesses, including AAPI businesses, over the past several years.  Learn more about NASA’s efforts.

Agency Announcements

USCIS Reminds Filipino Nationals Impacted by Typhoon Haiyan of Available Immigration Relief Measures

In light of Typhoon Haiyan, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would like to remind Filipino nationals that they may be eligible for certain immigration relief measures if requested. Learn more.

EEOC Meeting Highlights Challenges to Title VII National Origin Enforcement

The U.S. labor force is dynamic, diverse and multi-cultural," said Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chair Jacqueline Berrien. "In prohibiting discrimination based on national origin, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 seeks to ensure that all individuals have equal employment opportunities, and that employers - and the national economy as a whole - can take advantage of the full range of the skills and talents they have to offer. This meeting provides the Commission with the opportunity to consider how we can best advance our mission to stop and remedy unlawful discrimination based on national origin." Read more.

 106,185 Americans Selected Health Plans in First Reporting Period of Open Enrollment

Detailing results of the first reporting period (Oct. 1-Nov. 2, 2013) of the Health Insurance Marketplace’s Open Enrollment, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that 106,185 individuals have selected plans from the Marketplace, and another 975,407 have made it through the process by applying and receiving an eligibility determination, but have not yet selected a plan. Read more.

SBA Signs Strategic Alliance with Operation HOPE to Foster Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Operation HOPE, Inc., signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM) to encourage entrepreneurship and economic empowerment through increased collaboration on entrepreneurial and financial education for small business owners. The SAM is designed to spur economic development through small business growth, and to improve entrepreneurial education that advances greater access to capital, expanded technical assistance and access to procurement programs. Read more.

Link Detroit: A Small Business Matchmaking Summit on December 10

As a part of the American Supplier Initiative, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is holding a series of supply chain events, in collaboration with federal agencies and private companies, throughout the country to provide the tools and resources needed for small businesses to become effective suppliers. SBA is proud to continue this national initiative in Detroit, Michigan; a regional Hub for large corporations, federal agencies and small business suppliers. Learn more and RSVP.

 Funding Opportunities

Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS): AmeriCorps State and National Grants

To be eligible for this competition, submission of a Notice of Intent to Apply is required from applicants applying directly to CNCS for an AmeriCorps grant by Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 5pm ET. State Commissions and multi-state applicants are required to send a Notice of Intent to Apply. Learn more.

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town Announcement and Webinar

NEA will present a webinar on Monday, November 4, 2013 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET about applying to Our Town, the NEA's primary creative placemaking grant program. Our Town will invest in creative and innovative projects in which communities, together with arts and/or design organizations and artists, seek to improve their quality of life, encourage greater creative activity, foster stronger community identity and a sense of place, and revitalize economic development. Learn more.

 National Science Foundation: Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST)

The ITEST program through research and model-building activities seeks to build understandings of best practice factors, contexts and processes contributing to K-12 students' motivation and participation in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) core domains along with other STEM cognate domains (e.g., information and communications technology (ICT), computing, computer sciences, data analytics, among others) that inform education programs and workforce domains. Learn more.