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Thursday, December 9, 2021
Biden: WHIAANHPI Will Save Hawaiians
By News Release @ 5:21 PM :: 3563 Views :: DHHL, National News, OHA

Secretary Becerra Launches the Biden-Harris Administration’s White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders

Announces USTR Ambassador Katherine Tai as Co-Chair

News Release from HHS, Dec 9, 2021

Washington D.C. – Today, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra launched the Biden-Harris Administration’s White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI) and announced U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai as his co-chair of both the White House Initiative and the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. The Initiative, which was created in response to the President’s Executive Order (EO) 14031, Advancing Equity, Justice, and Opportunity for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, is charged with driving an ambitious, whole-of-government agenda to advancing equity, justice, and opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities in the United States.

Like other communities of color, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to exacerbating long-standing health inequities facing AA and NHPI communities, the language of some political leaders during this public health crisis has also fueled a spike in anti-Asian bias, xenophobia, and violence. To address these inequities, the new WHIAANHPI is housed within HHS, returning this initiative to the Department where it was first launched under the Clinton Administration in 1999.

“Returning the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders to HHS, where it originated, represents an important step in reinvigorating this historic initiative,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to tackling a wide scope of challenges impacting communities that have been historically overlooked and underserved. I look forward to working with Ambassador Katherine Tai in leading our federal efforts to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for AA and NHPI communities across the nation.”

“I am honored to Co-Chair the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI),” said Ambassador Katherine Tai, U.S. Trade Representative. “President Biden, Vice President Harris and the entire Administration are committed to creating a more equal, just, and inclusive America. Leading this initiative with Secretary Becerra will be a critical part of our work across government to expand opportunity, confront systemic barriers to success, and address the rising violence targeted at the AA and NHPI community.”

“The White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders is the embodiment of the longstanding commitment and vision that President Biden and Vice President Harris have for our diverse and growing community,” said Deputy Assistant to the President and Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Senior Liaison Erika Moritsugu. “This Administration has delivered results for AA and NHPI communities with the President's whole-of-government approach to equity, along with the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, and now again with the reinvigoration and expansion of this historic Initiative.”

“With today’s launch of WHIAANHPI’s Interagency Working Group and Regional Network within HHS, we now have the tools to secure resources, promote opportunities, and increase the visibility of AA and NHPI communities,” said WHIAANHPI Executive Director Krystal Ka‘ai. “I am honored to serve under the leadership of Secretary Becerra and Ambassador Tai during this pivotal time for our community as we work to build a brighter future for generations to come.”

Under the leadership of Secretary Becerra and Ambassador Tai, the newly-expanded Initiative includes an Interagency Working Group tasked with coordinating the federal government’s efforts to support AA and NHPI communities. It also includes a Regional Network comprised of federal officials in ten federal regions across the country who help to connect AA and NHPI communities with federal grants, programs, and resources.

The WHIAANHPI under the Biden-Harris Administration will focus on helping to coordinate a comprehensive federal response to the rise in acts of anti-Asian bias and violence; address the systemic lack of disaggregated data on AA and NHPI communities; expand language access and language assistance programs for AA and NHPI individuals across federal programs; address educational, health, economic, and housing disparities impacting AA and NHPI communities, and more. For more information on the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, see

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Schatz Congratulates Newly Named Commissioners On President’s Advisory Commission On Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, And Pacific Islanders

News Release from Office of Sen Brian Schatz, Dec 20, 2021

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) released the following statement congratulating newly named commissioners to President Biden’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI). Commissioners with Hawai‘i ties include Amy Agbayani, Kimberly Chang, Kerry Doi, Michelle Kauhane, and Daniel Dae Kim.  

“Amy, Kimberly, Michelle, Daniel, and Kerry are all well respected community leaders and will make excellent commissioners. They will bring strong, diverse voices to the commission and continue the important work of advocating for the AANHPI communities in Hawai‘i and across the country. I congratulate them and look forward to working with commission to support Hawai‘i’s AANHPI communities,” said Senator Schatz.

According to the White House, the commission will advise the president on ways to advance equity and opportunity for AANHPI communities. The commission will also advise the president on policies to address anti-Asian xenophobia, ways to build capacity in AANHPI communities through federal funding and policies to address the intersectional barriers that AANHPI women, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities face.

The full list of commissioners follows:

Amy Agbayani

Dr. Amefil (Amy) Agbayani is an Emeritus Assistant Vice Chancellor for student diversity and equity, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. Agbayani was born in the Philippines and received her education from the University of the Philippines, East West Center and the University of Hawai‘i.  She is a former chair of the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission, conducts research on AANHPI in higher education, member of the Patsy T. Mink PAC and The Legal Clinic for immigrant justice Hawai‘i.

Teresita Batayola

Teresita Batayola is the President and Chief Executive Officer of International Community Health Services, Washington state’s largest Asian and Pacific Islander non-profit health center providing comprehensive health care to all those who need affordable care, especially immigrants and refugees. Batayola is an advocate for health care access, equity, and addressing social determinants of health. ICHS has received awards for its high quality of care and Batayola has been recognized in the Puget Sound Business Journal’s Award for Outstanding Business & Philanthropic Contributions, Woman of Courage Undaunted from the University of Washington Women’s Center, and the Filipino Women’s Network’s Most Influential Filipino Woman in the World.

Ajay Bhutoria

Ajay Bhutoria is a Silicon Valley technology executive, community leader, speaker, and author that has been recognized for his work. He is a passionate advocate for the South Asian and AAPI communities in the areas of small businesses, educational opportunities, immigration issues, and technological advancement. His expertise in the areas of organizational transformations and change management has supported critical advancements within the AAPI community, and he is committed to the creation of a compassionate and empowering environment for all.

Luisa Blue

Luisa Blue retired from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in August 2020 after serving as an Executive Vice President for four years, one of the highest ranking AAPI officials in the labor movement. During her term was responsible for the SEIU Asian Pacific Islanders Civic Engagement and Leadership program, a member of the Racial Justice Task Force, chair of the Environmental and Climate Justice Committee, and chair of the Ethical Culture Committee. She served on the SEIU Executive Board prior to her election as Executive Vice President. Luisa continues to be active in the community and serves on the Asian Health Services Community Board, a Trustee on Alameda County Health Systems Board of Trustees, and Vice President of the AAPI Victory Alliance Board. Luisa is the proud grandmother of seven grandchildren.

Kimberly Chang

Kimberly Seu Gin Chang, MD, MPH, born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai‘i in a six generation kama‘āina family, is a board-certified family physician in Oakland, California, at Asian Health Services, a federally qualified community health center. Dr. Chang has dedicated her 20+ year career to focusing on the health of the underserved AANHPI community, including people vulnerable to and affected by human trafficking and exploitation, developing national clinical and health policy recommendations for this issue. Dr. Chang has received numerous awards, most recently the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health 2020 Emerging Public Health Professional Award and the 2021 UCSF Alumni Humanitarian Service Award. She received her undergraduate degree from Columbia College of Columbia University, her medical degree from the University of Hawai‘i, her MPH from Harvard with the Commonwealth Fund Minority Health Policy Fellowship, and her residency training at UCSF. Dr. Chang currently serves as the Vice Speaker of the House for the National Association of Community Health Centers, and as expert faculty for Health Partners on Intimate Partner Violence + Exploitation at Futures Without Violence.

Emily Chen

Emily Chen is Chief of Research at Olshan Realty and manages the Private Wealth Real Estate Services, providing brokerage expertise along with research and consulting capabilities. She co-founded the Olshan Luxury Market Report, a weekly real-time snapshot of the Manhattan residential real estate market, which became the industry standard and revolutionized how the market is analyzed and evaluated. A former National Big Sister of the Year, Chen serves on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and is on the Executive Committee. Chen is a graduate of Georgetown University and Co-Founder and Executive Producer of Stand Up for Georgetown.

Kerry Doi

A 4th generation Japanese-American born on a Hawaiian plantation, Mr. Kerry Doi has spent his life combatting hate and solidifying his commitment to social and economic justice. For over 46 years, Mr. Doi has dedicated his work to the cause and the community development space through his leadership at Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE) – one of the nation’s largest Asian-led community development organizations serving 40,000 minority, low income individuals annually through workforce, small business, environmental justice, affordable housing, and early childhood education. He has served on numerous local, state, and national boards including his current appointments as Chair of the CA Community Economic Development Association, Vice Chair and Treasurer of the LA Housing Partnership, and member of the LA County Small Business Commission.

Grace Huang

Grace Huang, J.D., is a Taiwanese-American attorney who has advocated on behalf of the rights of survivors of domestic and sexual violence for almost 30 years as a legal services lawyer, attorney in private practice, and policy advocate. She currently is the Director of Policy at the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, where she focuses on federal policy to address the needs of survivors in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Ms. Huang serves on the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence, on the Washington State Women’s Commission. Ms. Huang also co-chairs the Alliance for Immigrant Survivors, working to address the needs of survivors of gender-based violence in the immigration system.

Victoria Huynh

Victoria Huynh is currently the Senior Vice President of the Center for Pan Asian Community Services, Inc. (CPACS), the largest nonprofit in the Southeast to focus on issues and concerns of AANHPI communities, especially women, children, and families. For more than a decade, Huynh has advocated for equitable language access, promoted local civic engagement, protected immigrant rights, championed cultural competency, and developed vital social service programs within the immigrant and refugee communities in Atlanta, Georgia. Mrs. Huynh’s experiences in her limited English proficient (LEP) Vietnamese Refugee household, fuels her passion for community building, strategic planning, and policy work within immigrant and refugee spaces. She is an MBA candidate and currently serves as consultant, board member, and panelist on various boards influencing state and local funding, nominations, and programs that impact communities of color.

Mia Ives-Rublee

Mia Ives-Rublee, MSW, is currently the Director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress. She obtained her Master’s in Social Work at University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill. She was also recognized as one of Glamour Women of the Year in 2017, She the People’s 20 Women of Color in Politics to Watch in 2020, and received the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award from the UNC School of Social Work. Ives-Rublee works at the intersection of disability, race, and gender, helping promote equity and opportunity for marginalized communities through policy and organizing.

Kamal Kalsi

Dr. Kamal Singh Kalsi, LTC, USAR is an emergency medicine physician from New Jersey that has served in the Army for 20 years and was awarded a Bronze Star medal for his work taking care of hundreds of combat casualties on the front lines in Afghanistan. He has transitioned into the Army reserves, and now serves as a senior advisor for Policy Vets and a Fellow of the Truman National Security Project’s Defense Council. He founded the Sikh American Veterans Alliance (SAVA) in order to promote diversity, religious freedom, and service.

Michelle Kauhane

Michelle Kauhane is the Senior Vice President of Community Grants & Initiatives at Hawai‘i Community Foundation. Previously, she served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement where she engaged in lending and investment services deploying capital in underserved native Hawaiian communities statewide. Michelle has a background in non-profit management, organizational leadership, community based economic development and public policy advocacy. She has served on numerous local and national boards and currently sits on the Community Advisory Council at the Federal Reserve of San Francisco to offer perspectives on the economic and financial service needs of low- and moderate- income populations in Hawai‘i. She is a graduate of Gonzaga University.

Daniel Dae Kim

Daniel Dae Kim is an award-winning actor, director and producer. In addition to his series regular roles on TV’s LOST and THE HOT ZONE: ANTHRAX, Kim starred as the King of Siam in Lincoln Center’s Broadway production of the KING AND I. In addition to his numerous credits as an actor, he is developing both film and television projects as a producer with his company, 3AD. His current projects include THE GOOD DOCTOR currently airing on ABC. Recently, he also turned to advocacy, joining the Asian American Foundation, where he serves a Co-Chair of the Advisory Council. Mr. Kim can next be seen as an actor in the live action adaptation of AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER. He currently lives in Hawai‘i with his family.

Kevin Kim

Kevin D. Kim is a seasoned attorney, entrepreneur, and public servant. He is a co-founder of Abakidz, a mental math program. In public service, Mr. Kim was the first Korean American to win a NYC primary election as a 2009 Democratic nominee for a NYC Council seat, then served as the first Asian American commissioner of the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA), and now serves as the first Korean American Member of the Board of Trustees of the City University of New York (CUNY) where he chairs the Audit Committee. He has served on the boards of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY), Korean American Association of Greater New York (KAAGNY), American Red Cross – Queens Chapter, Friends of THIRTEEN, International Student Conferences, Inc. (ISC), Korean American Community Foundation (KACF), and the Fordham Law School Voting Rights and Democracy Project (Advisory Board).  Mr. Kim received his B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University and his J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a member of the Columbia Law Review.

Sarah Min

Sarah Min is an advocate and former media executive. Min promotes the advancement of mission-driven organizations who are transforming how to use technology, media and person-to-person outreach to mobilize people and change perceptions about women and people of color. From 2013-2019, Min was an independent consultant, working with clients such as HBO, Penguin Random House and other nonprofits, Previously, she served as Executive Vice President for, Marketing & Corporate Development for ScrollMotion, an enterprise software company. Min also was the Managing Editor of Vibe and Domino magazines, a director at media company Bertelsmann, as well as President of literary publishing company McSweeney’s. She serves as a director on nonprofit boards, including Color of Change and EMILY’s List, and has been engaged in grassroots organizations, including the Korean American Community Foundation and the Asian American Power Network. Sarah holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BS in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Simon Pang

Emigrated from Singapore in late 1989, Pang has been in banking industry since 1981. Pang is currently an Executive Vice President and Co-Founder of Royal Business Bank. He is active in community service and was appointed to positions in statewide nonprofit organizations, including California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs, California Highway Patrol Citizens Advisory Board member, Los Angeles County Sheriff Youth Foundation Board member, US-Sino Friendship Association President, US-Sino Aviation Heritage Foundation Honorable Chairman. He has also served as a National Governing Board Member and National Diversity Coalition Advisor with the national nonprofit Asian Pacific Islander American Affairs.

Ai-jen Poo

Ai-jen Poo is an award-winning organizer, author, and a leading voice in the women’s movement. She is the Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Director of Caring Across Generations, Co-Founder of SuperMajority, Co-Host of Sunstorm podcast and a Trustee of the Ford Foundation. Ai-jen is a nationally recognized expert on elder and family care, the future of work, and what’s at stake for women of color. She is the author of the celebrated book, The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America.

Naheed Qureshi

Naheed Qureshi is Head of Policy Partnerships at Instacart. Ms. Qureshi has had an extensive 20-year career in civil rights, including serving as a founding board member and later deputy director of Muslim Advocates and as co-chair of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Hate Crimes and Bigotry Task Force. Ms. Qureshi started her career in the U.S. Department of Justice Attorney General’s Honors Program and has also worked at the Civil Rights Division in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the City of Los Angeles, and the national legislative office of the ACLU. Ms. Qureshi received a B.A. in political science from the University of Wisconsin and J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. The daughter of immigrants from Pakistan, she was raised in Wisconsin and is an avid Packers fan.

Raynald Samoa

Dr. Raynald Samoa is an endocrinologist at the City of Hope and his current research projects include a faith-based community-centered diabetes prevention program in the San Gabriel Valley investigating a social-connectedness modified approach. Dr. Samoa served as the Lead for the National Pacific Islander COVID-19 Response Team and has authored several manuscripts describing the impact of COVID-19 on Pacific Islander communities. He has testified to the House of Representative Ways and Means Committee during a session entitled The Disproportionate Impact Of Covid-19 On Communities Of Color. He currently is the technical assistance lead for the Healing Association of Pacific Islander Physicians, a professional organization associated with the National Association of Organization of Pacific Islander Organizations.

Sonal Shah

Sonal Shah is a social impact and innovation leader that has launched and led social impact efforts in academia, government, and the private and philanthropic sectors for over 25 years. She is the Founding President of The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), starting the largest philanthropic effort to serve the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. Prior to TAAF, Shah founded and led Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation, providing students a first-hand opportunity to work on social impact projects in the public, private, and social sectors. She served as Deputy Assistant to President Obama and created the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, worked on international development at the Department of Treasury, and led social impact efforts at Google and Goldman Sachs. She serves on the boards of TAAF, Oxfam America, the Century Foundation, and the National Democratic Institute.

Smita Shah

Smita N. Shah is an engineer, entrepreneur, and civic leader serving as President and CEO of Chicago-based SPAAN Tech, Inc, a multi-disciplinary firm with expertise in public and private infrastructure projects including transportation, aviation, and facilities. Shah serves in various roles with the Chicago Plan Commission, M.I.T., the Museum of Science and Industry, After School Matters, Delhi Chicago Sister Cities Program, YPO, the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. She is a member of the board of MacLean Fogg Company and a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago and the Economic Club of Chicago. Shah earned her Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University, her Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from M.I.T., and a Post Graduate Certificate in Management Studies from Oxford University.

Robert Underwood

Robert A. Underwood is a former Member of Congress representing Guam for 10 years. He is also President Emeritus of the University of Guam and has the distinction of being the longest serving President of the university. He has served the nation as Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and the founding Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Scholarship Fund. As a scholar and activist, he has served his region and his people as a passionate advocate for the respect and maintenance of the Chamoru language and the empowerment of the peoples of Micronesia.

KaYing Yang

For more than three decades, KaYing has been a social justice advocate who has built and led community organizing, public policy engagement, and development efforts locally, nationally, and globally. She began her career as a community organizer and executive manager providing social services and advocacy for the protection of refugees and immigrants in Minnesota at the Women’s Association of Hmong and Lao. She then went on to defend and promote immigrant and human rights by serving in a number of organizations including the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, the International Organization for Migration, the International Finance Corporation, and the Coalition of Asian American Leaders in Minnesota. All of her work comes from a deep experience having come to the United States as a Hmong refugee at the age of seven in 1976 where she experienced firsthand the struggles faced by communities experiencing generational trauma and poverty.

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MN: Native Hawaiian Krystal Ka’ai To Serve as Executive Director of White House Initiative  

TGI: Officials tout inclusivity for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians  

SA: Hawaii leaders applaud launch of White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders  

SA: President Joe Biden names 5 with Hawaii ties to advisory panel  

Dec 22, 2021: OHA Board Chair salutes appointees to the President’s Advisory Commission on AANHPI 

SA Editorial: Hawaii ties to president’s commission


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