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.