Administration launches Summit series to advance economic equity of Asian American, other communities

Announcement of the launch of the first Summit in a series of economic equity conferences the White House has launched for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Photo: courtesy White House

On January 26, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI) launched a series of regional economic summits to connect these community members directly with federal leaders and resources.

A press release from the White House said the events are set to kick off with an in-person summit at Philadelphia City Hall Jan. 26, 2023. They are being held in collaboration with the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, the National Asian / Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship, and local officials.

The series of summits are spurred by a May 2022 recommendation from the President’s Advisory Commission on AA and NHPIs, and also comes on the heels of the release of the Administration’s first-ever national strategy to advance equity and opportunity for AA and NHPI communities, which outlines agency commitments to strengthen capacity building over the next two years.

U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai, who also serves as WHIAANHPI Co-Chair, is quoted saying in the press release, “Our strength and resilience will not give way to fear and fright.  We will continue to push and pull for one another, to fight for justice and economic equity, and to build a society that is freer and fairer – for all Americans.”

Language barriers and limited outreach have historically held AA and NHPIs back from applying for federal procurement, jobs, grants, and programs, the White House said.

Although approximately 10 percent of small businesses in the U.S. are AA and NHPI-owned, only 2.8 percent of federal contracting dollars went to AA and NHPI small businesses in Fiscal Year 2020, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

In May 2021, President Joe Biden re-established WHIAANHPI through Executive Order 14031. The Initiative’s whole-of-government approach engages federal agencies to improve interagency policymaking, program development, and outreach, and address barriers impacting AA and NHPIs across the country, the White House said.



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