FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 14, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On January 13th, the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (“the Commission”) convened virtually for its Fourth Quarterly Meeting. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Chair of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (“the Initiative”), presided over the meeting and provided welcome remarks, thanking the Commission and the Initiative for their service. The Commissioners also welcomed former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and former Co-Chair of WHIAAPI, Elaine L. Chao, and discussed recommendations to the Executive Branch on how the federal government can better assist AAPI-owned businesses through current and future challenges.
“Both the Commission and the Initiative have reached many in the AAPI community with its Future of Business Webinars, Virtual AAPI Town Halls, Roundtable Discussions and White House Conference Calls,” said Secretary Wilbur Ross regarding the resources and opportunities the federal government has made available to the American public throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. “I commend the work of the Initiative and encourage the Interagency Working Group to continue to find ways that the federal government can elevate the concerns and meet the needs of the AAPI community.”
Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao provided special remarks. “America is such a special place because it is indeed a land of immigrants, where all of us come from different parts of the world. We bring with us, our understanding of our native culture, our understanding of the history and philosophy. We share our understanding about our native culture and country with mainstream America. And mainstream America benefits from our insights, experiences, and backgrounds.” Secretary Chao also thanked each of the Commissioners for their contributions.
Much of the meeting centered on the Commission’s 2020 Report: Advancing Economic Empowerment for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders – A Call to Action. The Report proposes actionable recommendations for the executive branch to enhance economic resources and to implement transformational solutions that ensure full AAPI participation in the U.S. economy. Specifically, and in accordance with the President’s Executive Order 13872 on Economic Empowerment of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the Commission recommends the following: 1) Report better data on the AAPI experience; 2) Expand AAPI workforce development opportunities; 3) Enhance access to economic resources and opportunities for AAPI-owned enterprises; and, 4) Improve the economic condition of U.S. Pacific Islanders.
“I realize this may be a time of challenges and changes,” said Chairman of the Commission Dr. Paul Hsu, “But regardless of what came before or of what has yet to come, what matters most right now is how we choose to respond to the challenges and to accomplish our honorable tasks.”
The current Commission was sworn in on January 27, 2020, by Vice President Mike Pence and serve a two-year term. The Commission remains committed to pursuing economic empowerment of the AAPI community and will soon be conducting their AAPI Small Business Survey to shed light on the concerns that have faced the community through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the conclusion of the meeting were special remarks from the Governor Lou Leon Guerrero of Guam, who shed light to the concerns of the U.S. Territories and provided recommendations for the federal government. Commissioner and Congresswoman Amata Radewagen of American Samoa provided an introduction for the AAPI Town Hall, which was then followed by four presentations by the Minority Business Development Agency, Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Small Business Administration and the Office of Insular Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Federal officials provided updates on resources and opportunities from the federal government, particularly as it relates to disaster relief funds and ongoing pandemic concerns.
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.