The White House has announced the list of civic leaders to make up the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI), which will offer him counsel on ways to advance equity and opportunity for the target communities.
Who made the list: Biden named 23 members to the commission. Most of them are in the private sector, a likely response to the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on Asian American businesses.
- The members, as listed in the announcement, include the following: Amy Agbayani, Teresita Batayola, Ajay Bhutoria, Luisa Blue, Kimberly Chang, Emily Chen, Kerry Doi, Grace Huang, Victoria Huynh, Mia Ives-Rublee, Kamal Kalsi, Michelle Kauhane, Daniel Dae Kim, Kevin Kim, Sarah Min, Simon Pang, Ai-jen Poo, Naheed Qureshi, Raynald Samoa, Sonal Shah, Smita Shah, Robert Underwood and KaYing Yang.
Why this matters: Aside from advising the U.S. president on how the public, private and non-profit sectors can work together to improve opportunities for AANHPI communities, the commission will also offer counsel on combating anti-Asian hate and capacity-building to those facing intersectional barriers.
- The surge of anti-Asian hate crimes amid the COVID-19 pandemic has been a priority of the Biden administration. Days after he took office in January, the president signed a memorandum that condemns “racism, xenophobia and intolerance” against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In May, he swiftly signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act after being passed in Congress.
- Last week, Biden launched the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, which will focus on coordinating a comprehensive federal response to the spike in anti-Asian hate, addressing the lack of disaggregated data on AA and NHPI communities, and expanding language access for AA and NHPI individuals across federal programs, among other tasks. First launched under the Clinton administration in 1999, the initiative will be led by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai, who will also be co-chairs of the President’s Advisory Commission.
- The commission will advise ways on federal grantmaking and policies to address barriers faced by those at cross sections. Priority will be given to AANHPI women, LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities.