On August 4, Executive Directors of member organizations of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) met with the new Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, Kalpen Modi. Also known as Kal Penn and famous for his Hollywood roles in film and television, Kalpen Modi put his acting career on hold to serve as a White House liaison to the Asian American community, arts and entertainment, and youth.
The elite group of 22 Asian organizational leaders met in the Indian Treaty Room to discuss pressing issues affecting Asian Americans. The National Association of Asian American Professionals was represented by its President Brad Baldia. Afterwards, there was an informal reception of about 80 attendees including NAAAP senior advisors Bill Imada, Angela Oh and Kevin Bradley.
Mr. Modi and Tina Tchen, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, wanted to reach out to "groups from the shadows like Asian Americans that have not had a seat at the table." They pointed out that the current Administration has appointed more Asian Americans to office than previous administrations. The appointees include attorney Chris Lu as the Cabinet Secretary, former Washington Governor and past senior advisor to NAAAP Seattle Gary Locke as the Secretary of Commerce, physicist Steven Chu as the Secretary of Energy, and General Eric Shinseki as Secretary of Veteran Affairs.
The meeting with the White House is just the beginning of an ongoing dialogue with the Asian community. Asian Americans will have an unprecedented opportunity to have their voices heard and address important concerns
"The meeting with the White House is just the beginning of an ongoing dialogue with the Asian community. Asian Americans will have an unprecedented opportunity to have their voices heard and address important concerns," said Mr. Baldia.
The National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans was established in 1996 and consists of 26 organizations including NAAAP, the Asian American Justice Center, Organization of Chinese Americans, Japanese American Citizens League, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, and others.
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