AAPI Weekly Highlights: Kicking Off 2013 AAPI Heritage Month

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AAPI Highlights, May 6, 2013


Welcome to this edition of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) Highlights. Read about the President’s Proclamation of 2013 AAPI Heritage Month 2013, his recent cabinet nominations, the First Lady’s new hiring commitments for veterans and military spouses, how to join the White House Forum on AAPI Heritage live on May 9th, and more agency announcements.


Kicking Off 2013 AAPI Heritage Month


 President Obama AAPI Heritage


 President Barack Obama delivers the keynote address at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) 18th Annual Gala Dinner at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C., May 8, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


May 1, 2013, marked the first day of this year’s Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.  President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation highlighting the importance of using this month to reflect upon the history and contributions of AAPIs to this country:


“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.”


Read more here.


President Obama Nominates Anthony Foxx as Secretary of Transportation


President Obama announced Anthony Foxx as his nominee for the next Secretary of Transportation. Foxx is currently the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, which he helped turn around since taking office in 2009. President Obama thanked current Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood for his hard work and dedication to public service. Read more here.


President Obama Announces His Nominees for FCC Chair and FHFA Director


President Obama announced his intent to nominate Rep. Melvin Watt as the new director of the Federal Housing Finance Authority, and Tom Wheeler as the new Federal Communications Commission Chair, “two outstanding individuals who are going to help us grow our economy, but are also going to be looking out for the middle class.” Read more here.


First Lady Michelle Obama Announces New Hiring Commitments for Veterans and Military Spouses

First Lady and Dr. Biden

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during a Joining Forces initiative employment announcement for veterans and military spouses, in the East Room of the White House, April 30, 2013. Stage participants included, from left, Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)


The First Lady announced that America’s businesses nearly tripled the goal set by President Obama and did so eight months early. The private sector has already hired or trained 290,000 veterans and military spouses. The First Lady also announced that American companies have committed to hire or train another 435,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years. Read more here.


Watch Live: White House Forum on AAPI Heritage


On Thursday, May 9th, 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. The event will feature remarks by senior Obama Administration officials and panel discussions featuring nationally recognized AAPI scholars and historians.  


To watch this event live, visit www.doi.gov/live at 1:00 p.m. EDT. For more information, please click here.


WHIAAPI Announcements


Commissioner Unmi Song Blogs: Our Family’s Journey


Commissioner Unmi Song arrived in Chicago in the early 1960s as a two year old. Her father was in a graduate program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in nuclear engineering on a scholarship from the Korean government. Read her entire immigration story here and learn how you can share your own immigration story.


Google+ Hangout for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Video


Did you miss the Google+ Hangout with Konrad Ng, Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center; Lisa Ling, journalist and writer; Phil Yu, Angry Asian Man Blogger; Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of WHIAAPI; and Gautam Raghavan, Associate Director of Public Engagement at the White House? Watch the video archive 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. If you are interested in applying, please send a statement that describes (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


HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month


In May, we observe Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. To further our work with AAPI communities, we have issued enhanced National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards. This updated framework helps guide health professionals and organizations in their delivery of culturally respectful and linguistically responsive care.  CLAS broadens the definition of culture to, including race, ethnicity, language, spirituality, sexual orientation, and gender identify. Read more here.


Webinar: Understanding the Health Insurance Marketplace Presentations for the AAPI Community


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of Communication will host a high-level overview by webinar of the Health Insurance Marketplace for the AAPI community. The webinar is scheduled for May 16, 2013 from 1:30 – 3:30 ET to review how the Marketplace works, what it means for consumers and individuals, who is eligible to enroll, and how programs for people with limited incomes work.


Date: Thursday May 16, 2013

Time: 1:30 – 3:30 PM EDT

Webinar Conference Number: 877-267-1577; Meeting ID: 2681

Webinar webpage Join the webinar ten minutes prior to start of the event.



Secretary Napolitano Testifies Before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013


"The bill would continue to strengthen security at our borders and hold employers more accountable if they knowingly hire undocumented workers. It would provide a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million individuals who are already in this country illegally. It would also modernize our legal immigration system, allowing families to be reunited in a humane and timely manner and grow our economy by attracting the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and workers who will help create good paying jobs." Read the entire statement here


Updated Data on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has posted updated data on requests for consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The data include: the cumulative number of requests received and accepted for processing, biometrics appointments scheduled, requests under review and requests approved and denied. The data also shows the number of accepted and approved requests from the top 20 countries of origin and location of residence. Read more here.


Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights Launches Compliance Review to Strengthen Language Access Programs at Critical Access Hospitals


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights announced its national compliance review initiative, “Advancing Effective Communication in Critical Access Hospitals,” to support language access programs in these hospitals. In concert with the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, this initiative will ensure that language access is provided so that individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) can effectively participate in, and benefit from, quality health care services. Read more here.

USCIS Reaches Fiscal Year 2014 H-1B Visa Cap


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the statutory H-1B cap of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2014 within the first week of the filing period. USCIS has also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption. Read more here.



Department of Education Announces Changes to FAFSA Form to More Accurately and Fairly Assess Students' Need for Aid


The U.S. Department of Education announced that the 2014-2015 federal student aid form will collect income and other information from a dependent student's legal parents regardless of the parents' marital status or gender, if those parents live together. Collecting parental information from both of a dependent student's legal parents will eliminate inequities based on parents' relationship with each other rather than on their relationship with their child. Read more here.


Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Outlines USDA Efforts to Raise a Healthier Generation of Americans; Highlights Improvements to the National School Lunch Program


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today highlighted improvements to school meals, a cornerstone of U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) efforts to create a generational change to improve childhood nutrition. Vilsack noted that USDA has made significant progress in improving the foods served to 32 million children each day through the National School Lunch Program. Read more here.



USDA Announces New Rules to Fund Broadband Service in Unserved Rural Communities


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced new rules to better target Community Connect broadband grants to areas where they are needed the most. U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development's Community Connect Grant program serves rural communities where broadband service is least likely to be available, but where it can make a tremendous difference in the quality of life for citizens. Read more here.


Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security Announce Safeguards for Unrepresented Immigration Detainees with Serious Mental Disorders or Conditions

The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will issue a new nationwide policy for unrepresented immigration detainees with serious mental disorders or conditions that may render them mentally incompetent to represent themselves in immigration proceedings. Read more here.


Finding the Right College for You – Tools & Resources from ED


May 1st marks the National College Decision Day where the vast majority of U.S. colleges and universities require students to notify them of their decision to attend. As you navigate the college decision process, the U.S. Department of Education provides tools for you and your family to make it easy to compare important information such as college costsaverage student loan debt, and graduation rates across different institutions. Read more here.


Unemployment Down for all Veterans in April


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released veteran unemployment data for the month of April. The unemployment rate for all Veterans was 6.2 percent last month—a drop from 7.1 percent in March and still below the national average of 7.5 percent. For post-9/11 Veterans, the rate dropped to 7.5 percent in April, compared to 9.2 percent in March. Read more here.


Grant Opportunities


USCIS Announces Citizenship and Integration Grant Opportunity

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today the availability of the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program, a competitive grant opportunity which promotes immigrant civic integration and prepares permanent residents for citizenship. The program will provide nearly $10 million in funding for citizenship preparation programs in communities across the country. Applications are due by May 22, 2013.  For more information, click here.


 Webinar: EPA Grants Award Process


This webinar hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will provide an overview of the grants award process with a question and answer session to actively engage Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) stakeholders. We invite you to join us for this important event and for future events that are of significant impact to the AAPI community.


Date: Wednesday May 29, 2013

Time: 2-3PM EDT

Webinar Conference Number: 866-299-3188; Code 202 564 6771

Webinar webpage


For more information, click here.



DOT Grant: PHMSA Launches First Pipeline Research Program for Colleges and Universities


The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has announced an academic research program that will offer a total of $500,000 to non-profit institutions of higher learning as part of the agency’s pipeline research and development program. Through PHMSA’s Competitive Academic Agreement Program (CAAP), it will provide up to $100,000 to five colleges or universities to research innovations and technologies that will improve pipeline safety. For more information on how to apply, click here.