National AAPI Community Google+ Hangout

2/25/2015 3:00 PM

National AAPI Community Google+ Hangout

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) presented on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 from 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. ET their second National AAPI Community Google+ Hangout! After the great engagement from last year’s National Community Google+ Hangout, they were eager to continue the conversation on advancing the AAPI community this year and beyond.

See Below for notes taken during the Hangout 

During this Hangout, White House and Administration officials discussed national priorities for the AAPI community and give an overview of the May 2015 White House Summit on AAPIs. Konrad Ng, Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, shared the 2015 AAPI Heritage Month theme. Speakers also highlighted all the work federal agencies have done to increase access to services for the AAPI community, and will charted out next steps to keep the momentum for impact strong. People all across the U.S. sent in questions on issues that you care about, on Twitter by using #WHIAAPI, by emailing them to, or by submitting them on Google+. We're all working towards a stronger community.

NATIONAL AAPI COMMUNITY GOOGLE+ HANGOUT Hosted by the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

DATE: Wednesday, February 25, 2015
TIME: 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. ET -- and you can now view the video any time here.

Below are notes taken during the Hangout by Suzanne Sen:

Kiran Ahuja is Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Konrad Ng, Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center: mid 1970s legislation started APA Heritage Month to recognize how the nation has been shaped by APA communities. Now APAs are everywhere, so #APA Everywhere is the theme for this May—our participation, sacrifices, TV shows, politicians, heroes, etc.

Billy Dec, one of our commissioners out of Chicago—what that theme means to you: I love the theme. I have had the honor to be on the commission, meet with AAPI across the country, hearing the stories, culture, passion, uniqueness, contributions, magnifies the reach of the AAPI strength. When I first went to D.C. it was for AAPI Heritage Month, after graduating from college. I knew my mom’s side of the family (Filipino) but didn’t understand the reach of the large dynamic group until going to this D.C. event, and it influenced me quite a bit, broke stereotypes for me, barriers, pushed me to take my life seriously and contribute as much as the AAPIs that I met there. It helped me pursue my dreams (restaurant, celebrating our AAPI food throughout the mainstream). So I really think that everyone should come out for Heritage Month—I had felt not much a part of everything, especially government, so this is important. Commission is making sure AAPIs are not invisible but are included. Bullying Prevention Taskforce helping them share their voice and have better tools to prevent bullying + harassment. Sharing stories is the strongest act that everyone can participate in to help everyone understand our place in the American story.

Aditi Hardikar, Assoc Dir of White House Office of Public Engagement, AAPI Liaison , LGBT Liaison.

Kiran Ahuja: 5/12 Summit, there are 19 million As-Am, meaningful to be in D.C. for 5/11-15, lot of activities, networking, opportunity to engage with senior officials, what their agencies are doing on behalf of our community, hope you are then taking it back to your community. It will be on the George Washington University campus, more than 24 agencies, making strategic plans on what to do to help AAPIs, progress reports on accomplishments. One issue: being counted properly, not classified as Other, subgroups need to be disaggregated—need to show differences. Dept of Labor report added 7 additional subgroups. HUD Housing Survey has more disaggregated, 7 addl subgroups. Needs to be done so that government can know the issues that the subgroups are being impacted by.

Q&A: How can we make “#APA Everywhere” visible during Heritage Month?
Konrad: Discover the APA experience in Am history, stories, globally/locally, homelessness, poverty, etc. and share. See
AH: Dept of Interior is working on getting more AAPI sites designated on the Historic Register, having our contributions noticed as well as having our issues recognized.

What is the benefit of attending APA Heritage Month programs?
KA: Have your local issues reach the national stage.
K: Visit the Smithsonian! Free.
AH: Bring and share your stories, we want to share them on a national level.

What is your favorite food, Billy?
BD: Filipino mashups, made a Filipino Thanksgiving turkey for Matt Lauer (on tv).

What accomplishments are you most proud of?
KA: level of engagement all across the country, interagency working group working directly with the community to get problems and share resources. Projects like working for compensation for Filipino veterans. We have inspiring staff and interns.
AH: President Obama sees our community as an integral partner in his top priorities.
K: great cultural work across the country; Smithsonian has worked with some other organizations, Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the mall, exhibition “I want the Wide American Earth” (on tour now), “Beyond Bollywood” (will start to tour during Heritage Month), “Portraiture Now,” popup exhibitions like Asian-Latino project.

What can we do about bullying?
BD: I was bullied because I was different, a mixture of Filipino and white. We must talk about bullying before it happens, with teachers, family, friends, so that people can come together and agree that bullying is wrong. In March I will start going to different schools to talk about the Bullying Prevention Taskforce.

Announcements: KA: 3/8 is the deadline for applying for summer session for interns, it’s an amazing experience: see To have Billy or another commissioner come out, email



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