Tina Shaw - Office of Asian & Pacific Islander Affairs

iowa department of human rights

January 2020


  • Happy New Year & Goodwill to All:  Iowa's API Community Unites to Warmly Welcome Micronesians to Iowa with Winter Wear

  • Healthcare: Maternal Wellness - Count the Kicks App Now Available in Marshallese
  • Census 2020: APIs Fastest-Growing Population in Iowa
  • Healthcare: Improved API Pregnancy Outcomes
  • Data: Poverty & APIs
  • Naturalization: Updated Form  & Fee Increase
  • Data: Debt in America - Interactive Map
  • Gender Identity: New Report on API Men & Boys

  • Education: API Scholarship Opportunity 
  • Voter Engagement: Iowa Caucuses Feb. 3
  • Education: Dual Language Learners - Transition Guide for Educators & Families


Happy New Year and Goodwill to All

MJT Micro warmth drive

API Community Unites Where Help Is Needed

Among the qualities most needed among those who aspire to true leadership in the fostering of peace and goodwill among the nations and in overcoming racial and religious antagonism is the cooperative spirit and objective. - John Mott


Pacific Islanders new to Iowa are warmly welcomed by the API Community throughout Iowa, and what better way to demonstrate "Iowa Nice" than to help a fellow neighbor in need unprepared for Iowa's winter weather.

The Iowa Commission & Office of Asian & Pacific Islander Affairs worked together with Micronesian community representatives in Iowa and Monsoon Asian & Pacific Islanders in Solidarity to respond to immediate needs of those who had recently relocated to Sioux City from the Federated States of Micronesia. Many of the 250 plus Micronesians who had arrived in the fall did not have advance notice of the severe climate of northern Iowa prior to being recruited from their island homes.

With the help of Mary J. Treglia Community House, Hong Kong Supermarket and community advocates, contributions from Siouxland-based businesses, Iowa Asian Golf Association & AJ's in Des Moines, Monsoon, Iowa State University Asian Pacific Islander Faculty and Staff Association and many individual contributors, winter wear such as coats, scarves, boots and sweaters, as well as gift cards and culturally-appropriate food items such as rice, kimchi, noodles and fish were distributed to many in need. 



Black Friday 2019 was an evening to celebrate the magnanimity of both AJ’s on East Court in downtown Des Moines and the Iowa Asian Golf Association for banding together to gather material and financial support for the scores of Pacific Islanders who had arrived for work in Iowa unprepared for the cold in fall, and who needed winter-wear quickly. The bar reached out to Monsoon, emphasizing its commitment as a business to public service, and with support from IAGA, “Karaoke Cares” drew a large crowd, ready and willing to show off their vocal talents – or not – all in the name of daring, sharing and caring!

IAGA aims to unite communities through sportsmanship and camaraderie, and supports events that focus on cultural preservation and community growth. The event on November 29 helped raise $870 and a whole lot of winter-wear. 

Monsoon is eternally grateful to David Moravek and his bar team; and to Meuy Luangdetmalay, Bear Manivong, Toui Phila, Yeth Yin, Bounvilay Toppy Thongsoum-Lovanh, Joe Sithonorath and Cam Sang, as well as the numerous golf and pool enthusiasts who were more karaoke-spectators than singers! 

Guest Contributor: Lata D'Mello, Monsoon


Photo collage: 1) Cold-weather contributions distributed at Mary J. Treglia House in Sioux City; 2) Micronesian community advocate, Mr. Wihden Aise with CAPI Cmsnr. Peggy La of Sioux City and Tina Shaw of DHR's Office of API Affairs; 3) Sioux City Pacific Islanders prepare for Iowa winter; 4) Standing from left are Meuy Luangdetmalay, Toui Phila, Bounvilay Toppy Thongsoum-Lovanh, all of IAGA; Lata D’Mello; AJ's owner David Moravek; Tara Gurung and Joe Sithonorath; in the middle are Lena Sylalom and Delphi Enamorado; and at bottom are Monsoon volunteer Pedro Enamorado and Cam Sang of Sakari Sushi Lounge; and 5) Monsoon Financial Manager Usicha Marchant, Monsoon Advocates Tara Gurung, Delphi Enamorado and Lena Sylalom, Joe Sithonorath of the Iowa Asian Golf Association, Monsoon Assistant Director (Iowa City) Lata D’Mello, Monsoon Executive Director Mira Yusef, Monsoon Program Assistant Rose Annie Gay and Monsoon volunteer Aubrey Uriel. 

Fundraiser Photos: Courtesy of Monsoon staff

Mary J. Treglia Community House Photos: Courtesy of Peggy La


Fastest-Growing Population in Iowa: APIs

According the State Data Center in the State Library of Iowa, Iowa is in the midst of its longest period of population growth. “The biggest jump was in the Asian population. The number of Iowa residents of Asian descent grew 58 percent from 2010 to 2018.”

"The U.S. Census Bureau is likely to release a 2019 estimate soon, but the agency estimated more than 3.1 million people were living in the state by July of 2018. That’s 3.6% population growth since the beginning of the decade."

The 2020 US Census begins on April 1, 2020. 

Source: Radio Iowa

DATA: Poverty & APIs

Providing insightful data based on a worker survey of nearly 2,700 Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) residents of California, the report, The Working Lives and Struggles of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in California  PDF), found that while 60 percent of respondents were either employed full- or part-time or were unemployed at the moment but seeking employment; 23 percent were working but reported household income of no more than 250 percent of the U.S. Census Bureau's Supplemental Poverty Measure.

Hmong (44%) and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (36%) had the highest share of working poor among their respective populations, followed by Cambodians (26%), Vietnamese (26%), and Chinese (23%).

Source: Public Religion Research Institute & AAPI Data

Related Article: Philanthropy News Digest

DATA: Debt in America

Interactive Map

This map from the Urban Institute shows the geography of debt in America and the debt differences that can reinforce the wealth gap between white communities and communities of color. Urban Institute defines people of color as those who are African American, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska Native, another race other than white, or multiracial.

Debt in collections includes past-due credit lines that have been closed and charged-off on the creditor’s books as well as unpaid bills reported to the credit bureaus that the creditor is attempting to collect. The map breaks are determined using the Jenks Natural Breaks method.

Source: Urban Institute

Data Map

EDUCATION: API Scholarship Opportunity

Deadline: 1/22/2020

Scholarship awards range from one-time $2,500 awards to multi-year $20,000 awards. APIA Scholars provides scholarships to under-served APIA students with a special focus on those who:

  • Live at or below the poverty level, or are otherwise of low socioeconomic status;
    Are the first in their families to attend college;
  • Are representative of the APIA community’s diversity, (geographically and ethnically}, especially those ethnicities that have been underrepresented on college campuses due to limited access and opportunity; and
  • Have placed a strong emphasis on community service and leadership, as well as solid academic achievement.

Source: APIA Scholarship: APIA Scholars


Transition to Kindergarten: Supporting Children Who Are Dual Language Learners

Transitioning from an early-childhood program to kindergarten means many changes for all children and their families. Additional considerations come into play for children who are dual-language learners (DLLs). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released a guide to assist families of DLL students entering kindergarten.

Definition of Dual Language Learner

Dual language learner (DLL) describes a child who is acquiring two or more languages at the same time or a child who is learning a second language while continuing to develop their first language. The term “dual language learner” may encompass or overlap
substantially with other terms frequently used, such as bilingual, English language learner (ELL), Limited English Proficient (LEP), English learner, and children who speak a Language Other Than English (LOTE).

Source: US Dept. of Health & Human Services, National Center on Early Childhood Development 

CTK_API mom baby



Maternal Wellness - Count the Kicks in Different Languages

Guest Writer: Megan Aucutt, Associate Director of Programs with Healthy Birth Day, Inc. 


Based on 5-year averages, the stillbirth rate for Asian Pacific Islanders is 4.27 in Iowa and for white women it’s 4.0.* We are striving toward equity, when race is no longer a predictor of stillbirth. Therefore, we are excited to announce that in early 2020 we will be launching the Count the Kicks app in Marshallese!

Through a variety of conversations and outreach with agencies such as the Office of Asian Pacific Islanders, Crescent Community Health Center in Dubuque, and other community advocates serving APIs, it became clear that we needed to have our life-saving app in Marshallese.

So coming in early 2020, we will be launching our free Count the Kicks app in Marshallese. Currently, our app is available for free in 10 languages: Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, and Vietnamese. Thanks to generous support from Microsoft, we will soon be launching our free app in Marshallese -making it our 11th language!

Healthy Birth Day, Inc. is an Iowa non-profit organization dedicated to preventing stillbirths. We do so through Count the Kicks, an evidence-based public health campaign that encourages expectant parents to track their baby’s movements daily during the third trimester of pregnancy and to contact their healthcare provider right away, if there is a change in what’s normal for their baby.

Expectant moms can track their baby’s movements using our FREE Count the Kicks app

In the first decade of our campaign, Count the Kicks has helped lower Iowa's stillbirth rate by nearly 32 percent! Thirty-two percent is an amazing accomplishment, but our work is not done.

Lastly, all Count the Kicks educational material is available for free to Iowans, you can visit www.CountTheKicks.org and click on Order Materials and the state of Iowa to view all the free material available to you.

If you have any questions please reach out to Megan Aucutt, Associate Director of Programs with Healthy Birth Day, Inc. at aucutt.megan@healthybirthday.org.

*Iowa Vital Statistics Reports: http://idph.iowa.gov/health-statistics/data

HEALTHCARE: Improved API Pregnancy Outcomes


According to findings by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions, and appearing in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, among Asian/Pacific Islander women living in the United States, those who reside in ethnic enclaves — areas with a high concentration of residents of a similar ancestry — are less likely to have pregnancy or birth complications than those living in other areas.

Women in enclaves were less likely to have gestational diabetes, to deliver preterm, or to have an infant who was small for gestational age (a possible indicator of failure to grow adequately in the uterus). The researchers theorize that living in ethnic enclaves may improve health by offering easier access to health professionals of similar ancestry, access to traditional diets that are healthier than typical U.S. diets, and less incentive to engage in unhealthy habits like smoking and alcohol abuse.

Source: National Institutes of Health

Related Article: Springer Link

NATURALIZATION: Updated Form & Fees

All applicants for naturalized U.S. citizenship will need to ensure they are using the latest version of Form N-400. A new form was announced by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in September 2019. Beginning December 16, 2019, the USCIS returned applications if the outdated form was used - this results in delays in processing. The new form may be found here: https://www.uscis.gov/n-400.

The processing fee for naturalization applications will soon increase from $725 to $1,200 (including biometrics).

Source: Federal Register, Proposed Rule

Request for Reduced Fee, if eligible - Form I-942, USCIS

Request for Fee Waiver, if eligible - Form I-912, USCIS

Gender Identity: API Males

SEARAC Releases Field Analysis of State of AAPI Boys and Men of Color Landscape in America


Revealing the Asian American Pacific Islander Boys and Men of Color Field: Living in the Intersections and Invisibility of Race and Gender


This "report identifies organizations that intentionally serve AAPI boys and men of color, even some that are not specifically funded to do this work, and many that are run by individuals from within the communities they serve. The analysis also points to the necessity of using an intersectional lens so that efforts to support AAPI boys and men are included as part of broader efforts to address numerous issues across race, gender, and other social disparities."

"One key finding from the report relates to double exclusion–not being seen as people of color, nor seen as men. As a result, the report suggests, AAPI boys and men are both implicitly and explicitly invisible in the larger boys and men of color field. The report also points out that harmful, sometimes contradicting, stereotypes are often applied to AAPI boys and men of color."

Source: Southeast Asia Resource Action Center

API VOTER ENGAGEMENT: Iowa Caucuses 2/3/2020

The Iowa Caucuses will take place on Monday, February 3, 2020. US Citizens that are registered to vote in Iowa or who will be 18 by the General Election on 11/3/2020 can participate. The two major political parties operate the Caucuses, not the Iowa Secretary of State which oversees elections and voter registration.

Depending on your political affiliation, contact either the Iowa Democratic Party or the Republican Party of Iowa to find out how and where to participate.

What are the Iowa Caucuses? - Des Moines Register

Register to Vote (National Voter Registration Form available in different languages): Vote 411