On Monday, July 26, President Obama appointed Daphne Kwok of San Francisco, Calif. as Chair of his Advisory Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islanders. The Commission was re-established last year by the President as part of a White House Initiative to improve the lives of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities underserved by federal resources.
White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders Executive Director Kiran Ahuja said Kwok's more than two decades of experience as a community leader at both the national and state levels make her an invaluable asset to the Commission.
"Daphne knows what services and protections Asian American and Pacific Islanders need and what resources they can bring to the table to build a strong collaboration with the Obama Administration," said Ahuja. "Together, we're going to work hard to let all Asian American and Pacific Islanders know the resources the Administration has available to help improve their everyday lives."
Kwok is currently the Executive Director of Asians and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California. She previously served as the executive director of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, as well as the Organization of Chinese Americans, a national civil rights organization with more than 10,000 members. She was also the first-elected Chair of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans.
In addition, Kwok has served on the Secretary of Energy's Advisory Council and on the boards of a wide range of Asian American and Pacific Islander groups, including APIA Vote, National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, National Coalition of Asian Pacific American Community Development and the Asian Pacific American Caucus of the American Political Science Association. She is also a Founding Board Member of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund.
As chair of the Commission, Kwok will work with the White House Initiative to increase public- and private-sector collaboration and community involvement in the effort. Kwok will work closely with Ahuja and the Initiative co-chairs, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, in addressing issues that are critical to the AAPI community.
Thus far, the White House Initiative has held dozens of meetings with top agency officials and community leaders from across the country on issues including education opportunities, housing, jobs, employment issues and health disparities. The work of the Commission is more important than ever as AAPIs have experienced the largest decline in homeownership of any racial group over the last year and their poverty rates, work-related injuries and job losses have also increased.
Note: For more information about Executive Order 13515 which re-established the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, please visit http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/list/asian-americans-initiative/executive-order.html