White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) hosted the AAPI Young Leaders Summit 2020 & the President’s Advisory Commission led an AAPI Young Leaders Roundtable Discussion
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On July 20th, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders hosted their first virtual AAPI Young Leaders Summit. The Summit took place over four days, July 20th – July 23rd, and brought together influential speakers from the AAPI community to address mentorship, community outreach, public service, and entrepreneurship. The Honorable Elaine L. Chao, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, provided special remarks to commence the four-day Summit in which she encouraged young AAPIs to “learn, observe, and listen.”
“We Asian Americans have a wonderful cultural heritage and values. Most of us have wonderful families behind us, supporting us. We have so much to share with mainstream America. Our country is increasingly diverse, so people with diverse backgrounds increasingly have an advantage,” Secretary Chao said as she encouraged college students and interns to “keep learning and remember to always help others along the way.”
“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are vital not only to American culture, but to our economic prosperity and growth as a Nation” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, CoChair of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. “It is essential that young leaders within the AAPI community work to integrate their cultural perspectives and values into their current work and future careers. America is a nation that celebrates diversity of thought and experience, therefore we must continue to encourage young AAPI leaders to succeed.”
Secretary Chao was joined by Commissioner Chiling Tong (Maryland) of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (PAC-AAPI), who moderated a lively panel discussion with AAPI leaders in business, civics, and law to provide advice on mentorship and how to grow one’s network, even during a time of social distancing. This was followed by a professional development segment on how to maximize working from home and utilizing social media platforms to find a job.
The following day was co-hosted by both the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service (DOJ-CRS) and PAC-AAPI, with the Chair of the Commission, Dr. Paul Hsu of Florida, joining and presiding over a Roundtable Discussion with young AAPIs. Commissioners Herman Martir of Texas, Grace Lee of Michigan, and Doris Flores Brooks of Guam were also in attendance and expressed their support for the presentation by DOJ-CRS on the topic of growing anti-AAPI sentiment due to the current health pandemic. This was followed by a panel discussion amongst federal partners, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California and the U.S. Department of Education to address concerns of anti-AAPI bias and hate in the workplace, classroom, and community. Immediately following the panel, the Commissioners provided an opportunity for young AAPIs to voice their concerns to the PACAAPI as their input is critical for Commissioners to advise the President and the Secretaries of Commerce and Transportation on issues that affect the AAPI community.
WHIAAPI also provided an opportunity for participants to hear directly from AAPI appointees from the Trump Administration. Each provided encouragement and advice as young AAPIs consider going into public service. Included in the “Speaker Spotlight Series” was Derek Kan, Acting Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget as well as Victorino G. Mercado, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities, US Department of Defense, and Keiko Matsudo Orrall, who is also a Commissioner on PAC-AAPI. Attendees also had the privilege of hearing from Joseph Lai, former Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs in the White House; Maya M. Noronha, Principal Policy Advisor to the Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and Joyce Yoon, Deputy White House Liaison, U.S. Department of Transportation. The event ended with a presentation by Ali Ahmad, Associate Director of Communications at the U.S. Census Bureau, on how Census 2020 has been strategically reaching out to AAPIs across the country.
The Summit concluded with a day on Entrepreneurship hosted by the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) and WHIAAPI featuring two panels, one on “Starting Your Own Business” and another on “Doing Business with the Government.”. Director of the Los Angeles District SBA office, Ben Raju, who is also WHIAAPI’s Regional Network (RN) Co-lead, was joined by Van Tran, Deputy Associate Administrator for the SBA’s Office of Business Development and Tony Yang of Asian, Inc., which is the operator of Minority Business Centers on behalf of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).
The AAPI Young Leaders Summit focused on the next generation and addressed the importance of building the pipeline of future public servants, entrepreneurs, and community leaders. It was a tremendous opportunity to engage young AAPIs with federal government leaders as well as successful AAPIs in both the private and public sectors. Along with federal partners, WHIAAPI will continue to work across the federal government and with the AAPI community to advance the economic empowerment and workforce development of AAPIs.
Advancing the economic empowerment of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders About WHIAAPI & PAC-AAPI: Established by President Trump, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) and the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs (PAC-AAPI) work to broaden access by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) employers and communities to economic resources and opportunities, thus empowering AAPIs to improve the quality of their lives, raise the standard of living for their families and communities, and more fully participate in our economy. The President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (PAC-AAPI) is established pursuant to Executive Order 13872 (May 13, 2019) to advise the President, through the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Transportation. The PAC-AAPI and the WHIAAPI Office is located in the US. Department of Commerce and the Minority Business Development Agency provides financial and administrative support for the performance of the Commission’s functions.