As I posted shortly yesterday, I had the honor of participating in the first ever blogger conference call for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (hold the applause till later folks). The White House Initiative on AAPI was a signed executive order by President Barack Obama on October 14, 2009.
From the site:
The Initiative, co-chaired by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, is housed within the U.S. Department of Education, and led by Executive Director Kiran Ahuja. The Initiative works to improve the quality of life and opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by facilitating increased access to and participation in federal programs where they remain underserved.
This call was the first of its kind and meant to engage the blogging AAPI community, inform us about the ways the White House was working to better its AAPI outreach and some upcoming programs, webinars and contests. The administration also wanted to provide an open dialogue with the fastest growing population in America (over the last decade) and tap into the various hard-working activists who make up the AAPI blogging community. We were given contacts, insight to White House thinking and the administration's priorities.
The first to speak on the call was Social Media Director who wanted to tell us about an upcoming video challenge. The White House will be releasing more information about this, however we were told it will be a YouTube contest of sorts (babies, kitties and puppies oh my!). The idea is to have the AAPI community tell their stories. How we are unique, perhaps how we came to America, or how we grew up in America; the contest itself seems like an interesting way to open up a larger conversation.
Side note: The Director was excited to have us on the call because apparently the White House reads our various blogs. Daily. And sometimes he puts our posts in a nice little secret file that goes to the president and says "Dude Frank is pissed...again!" I kid.
The Director was followed by three speakers who spoke about what the administration already had done and has in motion, an concerted effort to stop bullying and the Affordable Care Act. All three mentioned upcoming webinars and that we will be notified when those are occurring, so that we can let all of you know (I had an obligation this morning and wasn't able to post about this one, apologies). Their hope seems to be that the more we hear about these events or webinars the more the AAPI community will be knowledgeable about federal programs. Also too, translations available.
Finally they opened up the call to questions. Here's where I wish I told you that I was able to ask about the economy, costs of education and war....but alas I couldn't get through. I did, however send a long email to our contact about those three subjects, FRANK RAGE!! FRANK THROWS DESK!! FRANK EATS A DUMPLING!! *Not really I voiced my genuine concerns as a citizen. The three questions that were asked were about reverse discrimination, mental health, and the video contest.
The main take away from the call was the White House recognizes the growing activism in the AAPI community and it wants to better tap into it. We have our own priorities, focuses, concerns and problems like any other community in the United States, yet we're all still part of something much bigger. It's comforting to know the White House acknowledges that. I hope to continue to be a part of the relationship the White House intends on strengthening over the year and hopefully years to come.
For more information and to get involved:
Visit the White House AAPI site at, http://www.whitehouse.gov/aapi
Like or whatever the cool kids call it, on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/WhiteHouseAAPI
And follow the White House Initiative on AAPI on Twitter, http://twitter.com/WhiteHouseAAPI
If you have any questions or comments, sound off below!
I am Frank Chow and I approved this message