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Live Blog: White House Summit on Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders

AAPI White House Summit 2015

This ends our live blog. But you can watch live at: http://livestream.com/usinterior/events/4005699
Summit resumes at 3pm Eastern, Noon Pacific and is scheduled to go for three hours.

Here is some of what’s planned:

Fireside Chat

Cabinet Secretaries will discuss how major accomplishments over the past six years have paved the way to a promising opportunity agenda for the AAPI community.

Arne Duncan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Education

Sally Jewell, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior

Jeh Johnson, Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Tom Perez, Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor

Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

Moderator: Juju Chang, Co-Anchor & News Correspondent, ABC

Artistic Presentation


This one-of-a-kind dance style incorporates expressionless white masks and gloves, guiding the audience’s attention away from individual identities such as race, gender, or ethnicity and toward a unified group to create a shared canvas for visualizing the music.

Plenary – #APAEverywhere: A Look Forward

Renowned personalities and individuals who have earned extraordinary distinction on screen and on stage join thisengaging discussion about reinventing perceptions of AAPIs and the infusion of fresh thinking and innovation in the arts and entertainment.

Sakina Jaffrey, Actor, House of Cards

Maulik Pancholy, Actor, 30 Rock / Member, President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs

Harry Shum Jr., Actor, Glee / Judge, Fake Off

B.D. Wong, Actor, Writer & Director

Hudson Yang, Actor, Fresh Off the Boat

Moderator: Richard Lui, Journalist & News Anchor, MSNBC & NBC

Closing Remarks


Fireside chat with Cabinet Secretaries

Sylvia Burwell, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Julián Castro, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Gina McCarthy, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Jenny Yang, Chair, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Moderator: Gautam Raghavan, Vice President of Policy, Gill Foundation

Sylvia Burwell:

“People with coverage to care must now move to access to care,” in reference to the newly insured under the Affordable Care Act. “When we get to open enrollment, make sure your voice is heard because they trust you.”

Julian Castro:

“In our country, the American dream has always included home ownership.” He blamed the home foreclosure crisis on the fact that it was too easy for people to get home loans. “Today the challenge we see out there is that the pendulum has swung in a different direction. There are so many hardworking members of the community with good credit scores that find it difficult to get a home loan. We want to reach that strong middle. The AAPI community now as the fastest growing community of the U.S. will be a great benefactor of our work.”

Jenny Yang

Talked about providing bilingual materials to ensure everyone knows there rights. Those materials include materials in 17 Asian languages.

Sylvia Burwell:

“Many members of the community don’t have health insurance. I keep emphasizing your voice. That’s how we reach community. The community is great about telling us where our forms don’t work. Where its not clear. Where we can do a better job of translation.”

Julian Castro:
“I grew up on west side of San Antonio, Texas. I grew up in community my high school was 85-90 percent Mexican American.” Says he went to Stanford where student body was 25 percent Asian Americans. “I’ve been reminded of that great diversity as Secretary of HUD. Our fair housing office brought a claim against a property manager in Minnesota who was refusing to rent to member of Hmong community. We saw a study that Asian Americans were shown 19 percent fewer units when they went to a real estate office.”

Gina McCarthy

“One of the great things about being in environmental field, we get out of Washington every moment we can. We actually work with real people. We make contacts with the community. Rules are great. But if you can’t access people’s homes and explain to them why this is so important, then we are not doing the jobs we have and are supposed to have. Be able to speak the same language. Get diversity. This is what EPA is all about. We are delivering health reductions. Not just passing laws.”

Gina McCarthy
“One of the biggest things we’re working on is climate change. Its an opportunity for us to take leadership so folks can be protected. This is a moral responsibility.”

Sylvia Burwell:

About a career in public service:

“It is exciting, it is fun, it is a great place. You can make a difference,”

Julian Castro:

“Always believe in yourself. Surround yourself with people who love you and believe in you. The nation has become great because our nation has had a very strong private sector and public sector. We need both of those things to work very well. We need your talent, ability and vision for public service.”

Jenny Yang

Discrimination affects your self worth.

“I saw the importance of resilience. Everyday I go to work, I feel like I’m making a difference in people’s life. The same week I became chair, both kids had experience when kids came up to them and did some variation of ching chong. That’s why I go to work everyday. We’re working to fix it. To be part of that solution that affects us all, that to me is the most uplifting and inspiring thing I can do everyday.”

Gina McCarthy
“If you want to have a rich life, there is no better way to go.” about public service.


“We need to exercise our voice,” said Rep Judy Chu, chairwoman of the Asian Pacific American Congressional Caucus. “APIs have gone from being marginalized to being the margin of victory,” referring to the growing political clout of Asian Americas Pacific Americans.  Chu also pointed out that there are no Asian American Pacific Islanders currently in the Presidential cabinet and urged President Obama to appear in person at an AAPI Heritage Month event.

She is now introducing Joie Chen , an anchorwoman at Al Jazeera America. Chen will moderate a panel of talented AAPI women:

Michelle Kauhane, President & CEO, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement

Karen Narasaki, Civil and Human Rights Consultant

Ai-jen Poo, Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance

Mini Timmaraju, National Director, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans


Michelle Kauhane:

“Where do Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders fit into the AAPI? It has been tough sometimes not to be seen in the broader community. Asian American woman have made that different. Asian American Pacific Islander women working together. There is no reason PIs should be the little cousin of the AA community.”

Mini Timmaraju:

“To a large extent, the AAPI alliance is a political concept. But we’ve been able to find clear cross cutting issues. We need to see better numbers to do a better job for advocating for our communities,” referring to disaggregated data. She says immigration is another issue AAPIs can agree on and work together.

Karen Narasaki:

“Immigration is about Hispanics and civil rights is about African Americans. We stand at a crossroads and we get ignored,” talking about the lack of media coverage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

“We have been very much a part of Supreme Court cases that lay the groundwork for what our rights are.” She mentioned bilingual education, citizenship rights. “We are very much there. Its not that we’re not speaking out. We are speaking out. We’re just not being heard.”

 Mini Timmaraju:

“We have to know our issues. We have to build on it. We have to talk about what we do today in an amplified way, like our work with Black Lives Matters.”

Ai-jen Poo:

“The future really is about Asians not only stepping into our roles as leaders in our community, but about equity for everyone. The nail salon workers and work our community is doing in that front is a good example.  Not just as Asian leaders, but in ways that think about the future of all of us.”

Karen Narasaki:

She expressed excitement about a new generation of leadership in the Asian American Pacific Islander communities. She says there are voices of Asian Americans speaking out in states and on issues where Asian Americans have not been heard in past years.

Ai-jen Poo:

She says Asian Americans are working across generations.


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