White House Briefing for Japanese American Veterans

Uploaded by whitehouse on 03.11.2011

Eddie Lee: Good afternoon.
Audience: Good afternoon.
Eddie Lee: Thank you so much for coming here today.
Welcome to the White House briefing for the Japanese
American veterans, for their families,
to the veteran community at large,
and to the AAPI communities.
This is a very special week for the Japanese American veterans
who served in the 100th infantry battalion,
and the 422nd regimental combat team,
as well as the veterans for the military intelligence service.
They have served in the defense of our country and the ideals we
hold so dear.
And we owe an incredible debt of gratitude that we
can never repay.
And so we are bound by a sacred trust.
So first, let me thank you for your service and for joining us
here today.
Let's give them a round of applause.
This afternoon, we'll hear from folks around the federal
governments about what the Obama administration is doing
to fulfill the sacred trust, to make sure we're giving back
to our veterans who have so bravely served this country.
So our first speaker today is the director of special team
media, Shin Inouye.
He's an esteemed colleague of mine and he's a fervent advocate
for the AAPI community as well as the veteran's community.
It's my privilege and honor to welcome him here today.
Please give him a round of applause.
Senator Shin Inouye: Thank you, Eddie.
Hello and welcome, everyone, to the White House.
Thank you all for being here today.
I think it would be an understatement to say that I'm
honored to stand before you and welcome you to the White House.
You know, people often say, you know,
what's your favorite White House moment?
And I honestly think that being able to talk to you is going to
be that moment.
So while each of you in this audience deserves to be
recognized individually, I think if we were to do that,
we would end up taking up the entire time.
So let me just go through some very specific people who have
been just tireless advocates on behalf of the community.
Of course, Christine from the National Veterans Network.
Terry Shima, from the Japanese American Veterans Association.
And, of course, Floyd, the director of the -- the executive
director of the Japanese American Citizens League.
And on a point of personal privilege,
I'd like to just say that I've known Floyd for his entire time
running JCL, and it's really been a privilege working with
you and knowing that you're going to be stepping down soon,
well, that's just a huge loss for the community.
So I'd like to thank you, Floyd, for all your leadership.
Give Floyd a round of applause.
If anyone can convince Floyd to change his mind, you know,
come talk to me afterwards.
Certainly, the story of courage and patriotism of the Japanese
American community is one that I've been well aware of for most
of my adult life.
And as Eddie mentioned, you know,
I share a last name with a certain senator from the
great state of Hawaii.
But the truth is, we're not related,
and as what Kristine Minami once told me,
I'm a Shin nisei, not just because of my first name.
My parents came to the United States because
of my father's work.
And I was born in New York.
And then, when I was 12, I moved to Tokyo.
And it was there I attended international high school.
And it was at that high school, ironically at a high school,
an international high school in Tokyo, that I first heard,
you know, those phrases that everyone in this room are so
aware of, Manzanar, Tule Lake, Korematsu, the 442nd.
And honestly, the first time I heard about the Japanese
American internment, it didn't register.
I couldn't believe that it was true.
Because after all, growing up here in the states,
we're all taught in school that, you know,
America is a nation founded on the rule of law and that we're
all equal.
But obviously as everyone in this room knows, you know,
in that post Pearl Harbor America,
we were seen as the enemy because we looked
like the enemy.
And so many Japanese, including so many Americans,
were forcibly removed from their homes and placed behind the
barbed wires of American internment camps.
But then, as we celebrated yesterday,
when the opportunity to serve their country arose,
many of you stood up, you know, in the face of bigotry and
prejudice, you showed your patriotism and pride because you
believed that the promise of America was greater than the
actions that our government was taking at that time.
So I think it's telling that the motto of the 442nd was
Go For Broke.
You stormed those hills to save that lost battalion from Texas.
And that you did all of this while your families were
interned here at home and that many of you did not get the
respect that you deserved when you came home.
And I think, as many have said over the past few days,
that we all owe you a debt of gratitude that can never
be repaid.
So again, thank you, because in that dark time during which
prejudice and fear led to the internment,
your service and sacrifice served as a beacon shining
brightly to cast the light on that dark shadow and you
continue to remind us why we must always stand by our
principles, even in times of crisis.
One of my favorite spots here in D.C., and I hope if you haven't
had a chance to visit it, you certainly do,
is the memorial to Japanese American Patriotism in
World War II.
In the days after the horrible attacks of 9/11,
I remember standing there at that memorial underneath those
two cranes that are on that pedestal that are constrained
by that barbed wire.
And it was an event where the Japanese American community was
standing there in solidarity with our Arab, Southeast Asian,
and Muslim American brothers and sisters,
because we knew in the days after that attack that we did
not want to see happen to them what had happened to
our community.
And because we always seem to -- we always need to remember that
America prospers because of our diverse citizenry,
because we are stronger because of E pluribus unum:
Out of many, one.
And it's a lesson that we often need to be reminded of.
But I think for most of the folks in this room,
for everyone who's been working on this issue,
it's your dedication and your determination that reminds us
that at our best, we are a nation that welcomes all people,
all colors, all creeds.
So let me just close by saying that,
let me add my voice to the many over the past few days who have
been saying congratulations to all of you on the successful
event yesterday, successful dinner last night,
and thank you for all the contributions you have made
and will continue to make.
Eddie Lee: Thank you, Shin.
Our next speaker is David Mineta,
and since 1996 he has worked with the Asian American recovery
services throughout San Francisco in the bay area.
And he currently serves as the deputy director
of Demand Reduction.
His focus is on drug prevention and treatment services and he's
been a long-standing advocate again for the AAPI communities,
for the Japanese American community,
as well as veterans in the community, as well.
And so, it's my pleasure to, again, introduce David Mineta.
David Mineta: Thank you very much, Eddie.
It is a special, special honor to be able to welcome you all
here today to the White House as a third generation
Japanese American.
I am especially proud of this after last night and the last
of the activities over the last, I don't know, two years,
however many months, that the effort was underway.
And will continue to go on as the memorials and things move
around the country to publicize this amazing event and
incredible historical landmark for us.
I would like to thank my uncle, Congressman Honda,
who just joined us.
And if I could, though, again, I would like to extend, you know,
again thank you to Floyd, who last night for the first time,
but I think that at least I heard,
but I'm sure this happens fairly often,
again making the distinction between Floyd and my dad.
So thank you.
Sometimes it confuses me, and I hope I don't say something
inappropriate to you one day, Floyd, thinking you're my dad.
Also to Terry Shima, a family friend of our family,
the Masaoka family, forever, thank you, again,
for your leadership.
And I only wish that, you know, of so many wishes from different
family members, that Uncle Mike and Auntie Etsu, and could have,
somehow they were with us last night, I'm sure.
And also, and maybe most importantly, in many ways,
I want to thank Christine Sato-Yamazaki, thank you, again,
for just the leadership and the burden in some ways of making
that happen last night.
And just the logistics of it all, too.
I know that the logistics were quite, quite heavy lift.
So thank you, Christine, and all -- and the many people that
worked on it with you and your team.
And then most, you know, of course most specifically, and,
you know, why we're here, the veterans and your family members
who carry the legacy of all this amazing work and this incredible
story that we all get to tell.
Thank you for your sacrifices so that all of us can enjoy the
fruits of freedom in our status in this country.
Last year, November 2010, I was sworn into my office on
this very stage.
And if you'll indulge me for a minute,
I'd like to read the opening from my remarks.
We live in a great nation.
Each day provides another opportunity to prove to
ourselves that we can improve our lives and the lives of
those around us.
The Bible on which I just took the oath to protect our nation
was my grandfather's -- my mother's father's Bible.
He was a faithful man to his family, his community,
his new country, and his God.
Yet after December 7, 1941, my grandfather,
along with all his family and all of those around him in his
community, was branded unworthy of the most basic trust and
imprisoned because of where he was from, how he looked,
and the accent he spoke with.
FBI agents took him to an undisclosed imprisonment in
North Dakota for over a year.
Now, two generations later, it is the same executive branch
from which his grandson now serves our nation.
The same FBI that would clear me in a background check which
allows me to wear the White House blue staff badge today.
Yes, we are a great country.
Each day presents another opportunity to prove that you,
that we, cannot only do better, but be better
than the day before.
An opportunity that begins anew the very next day.
The significance of the gold medal,
the congressional gold medal ceremony,
is clear to everyone involved with the proceedings.
Whether by reading a story in the newspaper,
whether by seeing something on a television report,
or being fortunate enough to have been there yesterday for
the ceremony on Capitol Hill, and the banquet last night,
the historical exclamation point that we were all witness to is
now in our nation's history.
The unlikely tale that Senator Inouye and Congressman Schiff
described last night of a government imprisoning so many
of its own citizens, its military going into the camps
and asking for volunteers, and so many volunteers stepping
forward, and then those same volunteers becoming the most
decorated unit in Army history in Europe and playing a pivotal
role to the U.S. winning in the Pacific,
is the historical exclamation point that shows the greatness
of our land and its people.
The veterans and their progeny stand as a legacy to this
historical punctuation.
And again, I only wish that all of us as the nieces and nephews,
the grandchildren, the children of that amazing greatest
generation, I only wish that so many more of them could
have been there in the room to witness this and to feel that
recognition that so many of them never even looked for.
Never talked about, never wanted, never asked for.
That they would have been -- that they would have been in
the room to be able to feel that and to know that they were given
that because they earned it, and that it's an important
lesson for our entire nation.
I want the veterans to know that your progeny,
that legacy lives within your progeny.
And will be continued and carried on through generations
from these stories that we will tell our children and we will
tell their children.
The significance I think also of this event and of welcoming you
all here to the White House, especially, I think,
it's also very interesting, it's the Eisenhower executive office
building named after the 34th President,
but also the commander of the European theater forces.
The commander, overall commander,
of the 442nd and 100th.
So one of the things that's amazing that brings this point
now to present day, and others will speak about
this in a minute.
But the White House director of veterans and wounded warrior
policy, Matt Flavin, and others will be talking about this,
but the key piece for this for our community is that how we
have been treating our veterans and showing the respect and the
love for our own, is something that the administration is
extending out and in ways that I think that our country hasn't
witnessed before, to all veterans and to their families.
One thing that wasn't lost on me last night was that last night
was also about people's families.
It was about the 100th battalion,
442nd regimental combat team, and MIS veterans
and their families.
And what a wonderful celebration it was.
To present day policy, the same thing, the administration,
and we work on this -- we work on this a lot in our office,
is working to help the families of veterans and active duty
folks right now.
So just as we witnessed last night the honoring of World War
II vets, also we're working, you know,
also that many Korean war vets, Vietnam vets,
but also desert storm and those who are serving and just back
from service in Iraq and Afghanistan currently.
I want you to know how important our community is in messaging --
in making sure that we message this in our own local
communities and how important it is for our own veterans and
their families to feel the support of those communities,
but all veterans and all families of veterans on
active duty.
So again, I just want to say thank you very,
very much to all those Akkies [phonetic], Franks,
Kos [phonetic], and to all the nieces and nephews of all of
them, the grandchildren, the sons and daughters.
Again, thank you all very much.
That legacy and what you've done of now allows Grant and Ko and
Akkie's [phonetic] nephew to be serving in the White
House right now.
And I want you to know that this is happening,
and I'm sure this is something that all of us carry,
in whatever pursuit we are pursuing around the country,
that that legacy lives in all of us.
So again, on behalf of a grateful, grateful nephew,
I want to say thank you to all of you for coming here today.
And lastly, I would like to just add this.
This is something that people ask me often.
When they find out that I'm Norm's son,
relative of Floyd maybe somehow --
-- they often ask me, well, it's like you know I'm sure you
aspire to do those things, same things as your dad, you know.
I don't reach for that.
That's not something I can reach for.
Oftentimes I felt like that with the greatest generation --
coming on the heels of the greatest generation.
And yet, in our own special way, we carry that legacy and we're
doing what we can in honor of that.
And so just in that way, in the sort of my own sort of 2011
humble way, I just want you to know, again,
how grateful we all are.
So thank you all very much and I will turn it back over to Eddie.
I want to thank Eddie for all his work on this, as well.
Eddie Lee: Thank you, David.
Before we continue with our program,
let me take a moment to recognize Congressman Honda
who just recently walked into the room.
Thank you for joining us and thank you for your service to
this country.
Our next speaker is someone I'm very pleased to bring up.
He's someone I admire greatly, someone I consider to be a
mentor, and he is the assistant to the President as well as the
cabinet secretary for the President's office.
He also most recently came on board as the co-chair for the
White House initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific islanders.
And so it's an honor today to welcome Mr. Chris Lu.
Thank you very much.
Christopher Lu: Thank you, Eddie, and thank you all for being here.
I would also like to add my thanks and recognition to Floyd
and Congressman Honda, who are two great leaders,
two great friends.
I don't profess any familial connection to either one of
them other than just great admiration for what they do.
I do a lot of speaking and a lot more now in this new capacity
that Eddie mentioned.
But this was an important one.
This is one I really want to do.
Eddie didn't tell you this, but I've been with President Obama
since he was Senator Obama, and I will tell you that as we walk
the halls of the U.S. Congress, there was no member of Congress
that we had more respect for than Senator Inouye.
And it was just wonderful seeing him in the hallways.
We also liked seeing him and Senator Koch especially,
because they always brought these great treats from Hawaii.
As you know, the President grew up in Hawaii, so, you know,
it was a great way to entice him with dried mango and macadamia
nuts and really the best coffee in the world.
So it means a lot to the President,
it means a lot to all of us AAPI staffers,
as you've heard from Shin and David that this amazing group
of Japanese American veterans and their families could be
recognized this week by Congress.
I will say it is long overdue and I'm glad you all could
participate in this.
You know, every day in the White House is a busy day.
Every period of time is a busy time.
For some reason, October seems to be the month where we do --
have this flurry of activity around AAPI activities.
Two years ago, on October 11th, the President signed an
executive order reestablishing the White House initiative on
Asian American and Pacific Islanders.
And he did that because he understood that while segments
of our community have prospered, there are other segments that
have not prospered.
And he knew that the federal government should and could do
more to help those people.
And I was pleased to be at the signing ceremony and I
was especially pleased that during his remarks,
the President recognized a legendary Japanese American,
Wat Misaka, who was the first non-Caucasian to play
in the NBA.
So that was two Octobers ago.
Last October, the President, as you all know,
signed the bill awarding the congressional gold medal to the
brave Americans that served in the 100th infantry battalion,
the 442nd, and the MIS.
And as I've learned about the great exploits of the Japanese
Americans who served during World War II, you know,
I have to echo what David said.
There's nothing that we, this generation of 2011,
can do that can really match what you all have done.
But we hope that in some small way,
we honor the legacy of those who have served,
their family members who supported them,
by trying to continue to give back to our country,
by continuing to give back to our community.
And so I'm pleased, as Eddie said,
to be joining you today in my capacity as the new co-chair of
the White House initiative on Asian Americans.
It is a two-year-old effort.
I've only been on board for one month and so it's the great
honor that I have to take credit for everything that's happened
over the last two years, even though I've only been here for
one month.
So you know, as we are -- mark this two-year anniversary for
us, I thought it makes sense to tell you a little bit about some
of the accomplishments of the initiative.
First, we have held over 200 events in 23 states reaching
22,000 people.
As I tell people that, I keep saying, look,
if we have not come to your community, just give us a year,
give us two years, because I guarantee we'll be there.
We've provided valuable assistance to Southeast Asian
fishermen who suffered in the gulf coast last year because of
the oil spill.
We've helped increase financial support to colleges that serve
the AAPI community.
We've made federal resources more accessible to non-English
speaking citizens.
We've helped ensure that the federal government conducts
research into diseases that disproportionally affect our
community; things like diabetes, things like hepatitis B.
We've helped integrate recent immigrants into the fabric of
our community and we've helped develop the next generation of
AAPI leaders in the federal government. There are two recent
initiatives that I will take some small credit for them since
they happened under my watch, that I'm especially proud of.
Last weekend in New York City, we convened the first summit
looking at bullying of Asian-American students.
And I -- when this idea was proposed to me,
I just thought I didn't realize we had a need for this.
And then you start hearing about the stories,
the riots that have occurred in Philadelphia and New York
and other places.
And then the incredible study, data that we put out recently
from the education and the justice departments.
It found that Asian-American teenagers are three times as
likely as students of other races to be bullied on the
internet and are 20% more likely to be bullied in the classroom
than other students.
And of all of the statistics, 54% of Asian Americans reported
being bullied in the classroom.
That's an incredible statistic.
So I'm proud that our efforts to highlight this problem
perhaps have increased awareness among students about the need
to speak, out among teachers, among parents,
that we need to do more to help students,
so that they can achieve their true potential.
The second recent project that we've been involved in,
it's one that I know is important to Congressman
Honda is our efforts to collect more data about health,
education and economic disparities within
our community.
As I said earlier, our community as a whole is
doing incredibly well.
But what happens is when you scratch the service and you look
beneath the data, there are huge segments that aren't
doing very well.
And of course when you aggregate everybody together,
you can't actually tell who is doing well and who is not
doing well.
So that's a priority of KPAC, that is a priority of the
Obama Administration.
Just last week, the Department of Health and Human Services
issued new standards under the recently passed health reform
law that would collect new data on race and sex and ethnicity
and language disability status.
For our community, instead of simply just collecting data for
Asian-Americans, and native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders,
we are now collecting for Asian-Indians, Chinese,
Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese,
and that's just for the Asian-American subgroup.
For the native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders,
we are now collecting for four more types of subgroups.
And for the first time the Department of Labor is now
producing estimates about the labor force participation that
looks at unemployment for seven specific subgroups of
Asian-Americans, Asian-Indians, Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese,
Korean and Vietnamese.
And this is important, because at the end of the day unless we
know who in our community is suffering,
we can't actually target more federal resources
towards those people.
And to this long list of accomplishments,
I would add a simple one, which is just the incredible diversity
of this administration.
You have already heard from Shin you've already heard from David,
but simply put, and I don't think this is an understatement,
this president has appointed more AAPI's to more significant
positions than any other president in history.
Now, you already know about the three cabinet members we have,
and some of you may also know about the first ever
Asian-American Chief of Staff to the President,
that's Pete Rouse, who's served as our interim Chief of Staff
last year and whose grandparents were interned at a camp in
Arizona during World War II. And then there's the record number
of Asian-American judges that this president has appointed.
Of the 14 AAPI federal judges sitting right now,
seven of them have been appointed by this president.
And when this president took office,
there was not a single Asian-American judge on the
federal courts of appeals.
That's the level right before the Supreme Court.
This president has now nominated three different
judges to that court.
So, the diversity is remarkable.
The accomplishments are remarkable,
but what matters to me in the end is not only what we've done,
but what we haven't done.
And we still know that there's a lot more work that has to
be done.
Two years ago, when the president signed that piece of
paper re-establishing the White House initiative on AAPI's he
said this: When any of our citizens are unable to fulfill
their potential due to factors that have nothing to do with
their talent, character or work ethic, then I believe there's a
role for our government to play.
There are a whole host of problems that are still facing
our community, whether it's housing, whether it's health,
whether it's education.
But the problem that I think clearly affects us most of all
and the one that affects Americans as a whole are
jobs and the economy.
So I would like to just spend the last couple of minutes
talking to you a little bit about that and what it means
for the AAPI community.
Now since day one of this administration President Obama
has been committed to growing this economy and taking us out
of the greatest recession that we've had since the
Great Depression.
And during that recovery, we've created about two-and-a-half
million jobs, but that's clearly enough,
we clearly need to do much, much, more.
And the President knows that and many great members of Congress,
like Congressman Honda, know that.
And so that why he's put forward a comprehensive plan called the
American Jobs Act.
It's a plan that creates tax cuts for small businesses.
It helps rebuild bridges and roads and airports.
It extends unemployment insurance benefits.
And this is a fact I didn't know until I started looking at this.
There are currently a quarter of a million AAPIs who have been
out of work for more than six months in this country.
We have one of the highest rates of long-term unemployed of any
racial group in this country.
The bill also provides assistance that state
and local governments don't lay off teachers and firefighters
and police officers.
And most importantly to me and to this group is that this
legislation provides valuable assistance to those brave men
and women who have given so much for our country.
That's our veterans.
The American Jobs Act would provide a credit of
$5600 for a company that hired a returning veteran.
And for a veteran with a service-connected disability
you'd get $9600.
That is the largest tax credit in history for hiring
a service-connected veteran.
That is significant.
Now unfortunately, as Mike Honda knows,
there are in members of Congress who don't believe that this is
the right thing to do, who would rather play politics right now,
who would rather wait until after the next election to
take action.
The President doesn't think that's the right thing to do.
He has been stumping the country talking about this,
and as I say, you will see us, if you haven't seen us,
and pretty much you're going to see the President in your
hometown talking about jobs in the economy.
He's talking about infrastructure,
he's talking about schools and he's talking about veterans.
But he's also said this: I'm not going to wait for
Congress to act.
If Congress is not going to take the steps they need,
I'm going to take action immediately.
And that's why the President, one of the things the President
has done is he's challenged the private sector to hire 100,000
veterans or their spouses.
And just recently the First Lady made good the first down payment
on that commitment by announcing that a group of private sector
companies were going to be hiring 25,000 more veterans.
So, we clearly need to do more for our veterans.
We clearly need to do more for the AAPI community,
and we clearly need to do more for our country.
On all of these things, we look forward to your support.
We want to hear from you.
And as I said we've hit 23 states.
We've hit 50 cities.
We have an active outreach program through the White
House initiative.
And as we travel around the country we want to
hear from you.
We hope you come out and talk to us and give us your ideas.
In conclusion, let me say this, and I can't say it any better
than Shin and Dave said it, it is an incredible honor to be in
the presence of these veterans.
It's an incredible honor to be in the presence of
their families.
There's little that we can do to match what you have done.
But we hope in some small way the work we do here on behalf
of this president, on behalf of this country
continues that legacy.
So we look forward to talking to you and we thank you for being
here today.
Eddie Lee: Thank you, Chris.
Before we continue, let me also let you know that in order to
access any resources that we have you know you can check
out our website at www.WhiteHouse.gov/AAPI
and you can find more information there.
The next speaker is someone that knows the American Jobs Act in
and out and we are actually very lucky to have her today because
she's such a busy person, but she's been able to make it out
here to speak to you about how this bill will be able to affect
veterans and how this administration serves
all of you.
And so it's my honor to introduce today Danielle Gray,
who is the associate counsel to the President and the deputy
assistant to the President for economic policy.
Please welcome her up.
Thank you.
Danielle Gray: Thank you so much.
It's such an honor to speak to all of you, Congressmen.
I really appreciate being with you here.
My name is Danielle Gray.
I'm a deputy director at the National Economic Council and
thrilled to talk about some of the policies that are focused on
the veteran community that are in the American Jobs Act,
and more broadly what we are attempting to do as
an administration to help connect veterans with jobs,
something that you heard Chris speak about briefly.
I think one of the things that we tried to do with the American
Jobs Act is we currently have an unemployment problem,
the likes of which we really haven't seen since The Great
Depression in terms of the numbers of people who have
been out of work for six months or more.
And one of the things that we unfortunately are seeing in this
period is particularly from the men and women who are of the
post 9/11 generation, alarmingly high unemployment levels among
our veterans population.
One of the things we hear, and the President tells these
stories all of the time, are that, you know,
I served as a medic in the Army and it's an outrage that I can't
come home and find a job working in a hospital or working in a
nursing facility or something of that nature.
So, we've tried to think about this problem and how to address
it holistically and broadly and also in a targeted way.
So, with the Jobs Act specifically,
the President has proposed pretty significant tax credits
to give incentives to firms to hire veterans.
So you're essentially saying to a firm,
if you hire a veteran who's been out of work for a few weeks or a
few months we'll give you a $2400 tax credit.
If you hire a veteran who's been out of work for over six months,
we'll give you a $5600 tax credit.
If you hire a veteran with a service-connected disability
who's been out of work, we'll give you a $9,600 tax credit.
And to our knowledge that might be one of the most significant
incentives that's ever been created for veterans or anyone,
frankly, with a disability.
So, this is something that the President is particularly
proud of.
I think the Congress will probably take this
up pretty soon.
You know, there's been expressions of
bipartisan interest.
So we are really hoping to see that piece carry forward.
Additionally, as I mentioned, and the president talked a lot
about this, this August, he went to the Navy Yard and he gave a
speech about other things we can do,
how can we help that medic who's trying to find a job
in a hospital when he or she comes home.
What else can we do?
One of the things that we are trying to do is to boost up our
tools that essentially connect veterans to jobs that resemble
the kinds of experiences and skills that they developed
during their time in the military.
So last week you heard the President announce a series of
efforts around connecting EMT's and paramedical professionals
with jobs and providing skills translations.
So one of things that we know that we can do as a government,
and the Department of Labor is taking a leadership role in
doing this, is helping companies understand,
actually this is exactly who you should be looking to hire,
somebody that has these kinds of experiences and has these
kinds of skills.
Additionally, the President has asked Secretary Shinseki and
Secretary Panetta to lead a joint Department of Defense
and Veterans Affairs effort to develop proposals that will try
to get at this problem a little bit earlier in the life cycle,
so that as members of military are departing the military and
looking to enter the civilian workforce,
or as they are looking to actually grow in the military
and move up through the ranks of promotion,
what can we do to sort of better ensure that they are taking
advantage of all the education and credentialing opportunities
afforded by the tuition assistance program and the
GI bill, how can we make sure that they are ready,
should they decide to separate from the military to enter the
civilian workforce.
And one of the things that Secretary Shinseki is fond
of saying is that we spend six weeks in boot camp preparing
you to enter the military, but there's nothing comparable to
that as you're exiting.
And so one of the things the President has tasked this task
force, directed this task force to try to do,
is to create some kind of transition or reverse boot
camp program.
And so, at the end of the year I think we are expecting to see
even more recommendations coming out of this task force.
And I think that will be one of many.
And finally, I heard Chris touch on this when I was coming in.
The President and the First Lady and the team of the First Lady's
staff, particularly Joining Forces, has really,
really launched a tremendous effort to challenge the private
sector to kind of step up and commit to hiring veterans.
And it is -- we've already seen great results and the numbers
are huge, but I thought I would actually ask someone to sort of
print it out just so that I could read you all off a few of
the kinds of companies that are kind of stepping up.
Because it's just really encouraging just to see such
a wide cross section from the health field to the IT field,
to the financial services field that are doing this.
Microsoft is going to start giving out IT certificates and
training vouchers, so that if you're a veteran and you're
interested in the IT field, you can go to your local Department
of Labor one-stop and Microsoft will have personnel there that's
trying to help you get Microsoft certified to enhance your
ability to get an IT job.
The Chamber of Commerce has been hosting job fairs all
around the country.
Honeywell and Humana, a major health company,
JP Morgan is going to start trying to train more and more
veterans for careers in the financial services.
AT&T is launching a number of new initiatives.
Wal-Mart has committed to sort of stepping up,
particularly on the side of investing in veterans who
are attempting to start their own businesses.
Lockheed Martin, Hewlett Packard.
The list goes on and on.
And I think you'll probably even hear more announcements in the
weeks to come.
So, we are excited about this effort.
We are committed to it as the President sort of said at Navy
Yard, there's really few higher priorities for us than in making
sure, particularly as men and women are coming home from Iraq
and Afghanistan, that we are doing all we can to
support them here.
So I really, really, appreciate the time.
I probably have time for like one or two questions,
unfortunately, because I have to run to a 2 o'clock meeting.
Yes, ma'am.
Audience Member: Yes. First of all, thank you so much for what you do.
Will you be hosting these community/veteran business
partners on WhiteHouse.gov as you get more
companies participating?
Danielle Gray: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Not only do we have an ongoing sort of updating list on our
website that Joining Forces operates,
but I think in the weeks to come we will be rolling out even more
new tools to better enable folks to not only
track these commitments,
but to actually help veterans actually find where they are
when they are looking to apply.
Yes, sir.
Audience Member: Is it also true that the HHS is where the President is providing
grants to different educational institutions in order to put
them into physician's assistant programs?
Danielle Gray: Yeah, absolutely. So exactly.
That's the program the President announced as part of this
We Can't Wait initiative.
Last week and part of what's going to happen there is
you're going to have specific funding directed towards
community colleges and others that are looking to very quickly
help veterans who already have these experiences very quickly
get whatever credentials and licensing help they need
so that they can move into those kinds of jobs.
So I really appreciate your time.
We are going to keep working at this.
It's really important to us to get it right.
And thank you.
Eddie Lee: Thank you, Danielle.
Our final two speakers are Ron Sagudan and Earl Newsome.
And Ron joined the Center for Minority Veterans as a program
analyst in April 2007.
He's currently the Director for the Center for Minority Veterans
and serves as the center's veteran liaison for the AAPI,
American Veteran's Community.
And Earl joins him as the Deputy Director for the Center for
Minority Veterans and he served at the health system specialist
in the Office for the Deputy Undersecretary for Health
for Operations and Management for two years.
So we'll have some time for their presentation,
a couple minutes for question and answer afterwards.
And so with that I want to invite them up to the stage.
Ronald Sagudan: Thank you, Mr. Lee.
I didn't know I got promoted.
I apologize, but it must have been in the translation.
I'm actually just the Asian/Pacific Islander
veteran liaison.
My director, I know she would get a good kick out of that --
is actually Lucretia McClenney and this is
my deputy director.
He's my boss.
So -- but I'm very humbled to be here today.
This is a great occasion for the 442nd and 100th battalion
as well as the MIS.
I know Terry Shima and Mr. Floyd Mori have done a lot of work in
trying to reach out to the community and work at advancing
the Japanese American veterans.
And Congressman Honda has always been in the forefront of helping
the Asian Pacific Islanders veterans.
And I guess -- right here.
To start, I'd like to say that I stand in front of you as not
just the Asian Pacific Islander veteran liaison,
I'm here for my grandfather whose former United States Far
East, I believe he was a captain at the time,
as well as my uncles that were Filipino scouts,
and my father, who was a navy veteran as well.
So I'd like to recognize the veterans for your services and
Mr. Floyd Mori as well.
I know nobody really -- I don't know if they know he's also
served our country as well.
So thank you for all your services.
The outreach Asian Pacific islander veteran -- we've
worked at different areas.
(low audio)
Yes, we are going out of order.
It's probably better if he went first.
Earl Newsome: Not to worry.
We won't kill you by PowerPoint.
We really want to have more of a conversation and use the slides
as a backdrop to emphasize some of the points.
First of all, I see we do have veterans here
by the hats there.
My DAV hat is a little different color,
so I recognize that.
I'd like the veterans in the room to raise your hands.
Thank you for your service.
And those of you who are here this week for the ceremony,
my only regret is that a lot of your comrades are no longer here
to participate in it with you.
You see the motto up there that was up there,
when you help a veteran, you help not only the veteran,
but his or her family.
The reason I said I wanted this to be a conversation,
I'm going to use my family as an example.
The gentleman at the top left is my grandfather,
served in World War I.
If you look in the history books you'll see a little minor
footnote about Camp Logan.
It was a training camp outside Houston, Texas.
There was a quote, quote race riot while the troops -- I see
heads nodding -- it was a quote, quote,
race riot there when word came back to the camp that some
African-American soldiers were beat up by Houston cops.
One thing led to another.
A shooting was done.
A couple of soldiers were killed.
A couple of police officers were killed.
There was a court martial held at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
At the end of that court martial, roughly about 13,
I forget the exact number, individuals
were hung for mutiny.
And if you know anything about the military,
normally we didn't hang people.
You were shot by firing squad.
When these gentleman were hung, they were basically buried not
far from the scaffolds there near Coleto Creek,
around 1918, 1919.
Later on in the 30's they moved them to Fort Sam
Houston cemetery.
If you go to Fort Sam Houston cemetery,
they had them all buried and lying right there.
Now why that's a little important to me?
That gentleman up in the left-hand corner,
I know as a kid my grandfather never really talked about his
service during World War I.
I knew he was at Fort Sam.
I was later stationed there.
I'll tell you about that, but he never really talked about it.
He had his American Legion magazine there and all of that.
Well, he died about 15 years ago.
It's only been in the last three or four years that we found out
why he didn't talk about his service.
He was at Fort Sam Houston and witnessed the hangings.
So when people talk about why when veterans come back from
services they don't talk about things,
if you have bad things that happen to you,
you know it could have an impact on you.
We found out later on after he died,
when my Dad was going through his papers,
he was getting the VA pension, you know,
it's a little slight pension, but he was getting a non-service
veteran pension because of his service during World War I.
The -- stay on that one.
The gentleman in the top right-hand corner is my Dad.
He served in World War II.
His first assignment on his way to Fort Lewis was, guess where?
Fort Sam Houston.
Now why I'm telling you that story is while he was at Fort
Sam, he basically -- he and the other troops,
he was there about six months and he worked as a runner.
You guys know what that is.
Went from place to place.
But they were also told there were certain parts of Fort Sam
not to go into unless they were on detail.
The other thing that made an impression on me was my Dad told
me how the German POW's who were at Fort Sam could go into places
that he couldn't.
You saw the movie "Tuskegee Airmen"?
You remember the thing about the train?
Well, he witnessed that at Fort Sam.
African American soldiers had to go on the balcony of the
theater, German POW's, you know, first floor, same thing,
the mess halls and things like that.
That gentleman in the lower left-hand corner is my uncle,
my Dad's brother.
He served with the 24th infantry in Korea.
He served in the segregated unit in Korea.
Three months after he came home from being in Korea,
he was stationed in Indiantown Gap.
He drowned in an accident and he left his son, who's my first
cousin, of course, and his spouse used the DIC benefit.
His son used the benefits to go to school later on.
Now, that handsome gentleman there with the afro is me.
When Ron first saw that he said no.
That's me.
I'm Earl, III.
What you saw was three Earl Newsomes served at Fort Sam
during different times.
I had a totally different experience serving at Fort
Sam as an officer down in the training brigades than
my Dad did.
I brought him there.
He and my Mom came to visit me when I was there.
And he just walked around reminiscing at places he
wasn't able to walk.
And I actually had him stand in the Officer's Club.
And he remembered he would have gotten run away from there.
Now why am I telling you that?
We are the Center for Minority Veterans,
not to exclude anybody but minorities from
getting their benefits.
But what we find and that's what the slide is going to show you,
that when minority veterans go back to their communities they
suffer some of the same problems that caused them to join the
military in the first place.
Now it was a little different when we had the draft.
But now we talk about joining service to better yourself,
those same challenges that the Obama administration is trying
to help us get away from: the homelessness,
people not having jobs.
When minority veterans go back to those communities,
if they have not had a chance to avail themselves of those
benefits and services, they fall in the same
thing as everybody else.
So what we want to do and that is really what the purpose of
this slide presentation is to tell you when you get back home,
encourage any veteran to use his or her benefits because
they have earned it.
You've seen that motto: All gave some, Some gave all.
Well, the nation owes veterans not to be homeless,
not to be without a job.
Because now what do they say about one percent of the
population is actually serving.
You know, I see people out here talking about 99 percent.
I think about the one percent that is serving right now and
I tell people all the time, that the Department of Veterans
Affairs cashes the check that the Department of
Defense issues.
Does that make sense?
You veterans in here, how many of you used your home loan?
How many use VA for health care, ever been enrolled with VA for
health care?
One, two, three, four, five.
Now, you see, everybody doesn't use everything.
People say why not?
If you come out at a certain time and you use some of those
benefits, you may not have a need for them.
All of us in here look pretty well fed especially me compared
to that old picture there.
But the ones I worry about are the people who don't avail
themselves of the benefits that can use them.
We are going to talk about some of the things that we have.
I usually go into this first because people see the sign
that says Center for Minority Veterans and say, no, we are
not trying to exclude anybody.
But it's kind of like you know in biology the one-cell
critter suffers more than the multi-cell critter when the
environment changes.
Well, when minorities go back to their communities,
you will see and I will show you some stats,
we usually suffer a little bit more.
And the other thing I want to tell you before we go further,
I am a student of history, and what you'll see is when
people who have been disenfranchised by the
government that they serve, a lot of times they don't ask for
benefits when they come back.
You know, it is the humbleness in some of us when we come back.
So if you get nothing out of this,
tell veterans you run into, tell their family members to use the
benefits that the VA has to -- to help those interventions
and to do that.
I challenge you to do that, because my dad used his GI bill,
was able to get his college degree.
Well, first before he got his college degree after World
War II, he used the GI bill; he got paid a little bit of money
while he was doing that.
He got his degree.
Before he got his degree, he used his vet preference to get
a job with the post office.
You know, so he was working at the post office during the day
and going to school at night.
And because he had his degree, my mom had something do with him
when she met him in college, because she probably wouldn't
have done anything if he didn't have a job.
He married her.
They basically had a pretty good living and when we could walk in
our den, my brother and I could see their degrees on the wall.
It was kind of a common thing you would think you
should have that.
And I think because my parents set the example for me and my
brother, that I set the example for my daughter who is at Penn
State working on her PhD.
Partially because you know I knew my grandpa had
it, I knew what a veteran was, I knew what the benefits were,
I knew how to use them.
And that is what we want people to do when they get back home.
And especially spouses who are out here.
Don't let veterans sit at home and just tell you about the VA
and I am going to the hospital and I am going and doing that.
Talk to them.
I have five family members buried in the Houston cemetery,
one of them being my mother.
So I tell my dad, he has a reserved spot a couple of
years from now.
And people don't think about the spouse being buried there.
You always see the pictures of the honor guard carrying the
veteran there.
That doesn't happen all of the time.
That doesn't happen all of the time.
So a lot of times the spouses don't even think about the
cemetery benefit for themselves.
They think about something you know to go take and
send the veteran there.
So we need people to do that because when you are on fixed
incomes and you are having problems and all,
any little bit of help you can get,
especially when you are in those types of situations you can use.
That is what we want you to do.
Go ahead.
Our office, the Center for Minority Veterans was
established in 1994. Why?
Not to exclude anybody but because a need was seen out
there that minority veterans in many cases were not aware of
their benefits and services.
So the law created the Center for Minority Veterans and the
Advisory Committee for Minority Veterans.
Some of you may recognize a couple of names,
previous chairmen of our advisory, James --
Jim Mukoyama and General Tony Taguba, past chairmen
of our advisory committees.
So the advisory committee works with us to help get the word out
to minority veterans and veterans in general about their
benefits and also advise the Secretary of what needs to be
done to encourage veterans to use those benefits.
Next. Go ahead.
These are recognized groups by the law that we do -- we focus
our outreach on.
I will tell you 300 coordinators we have out in the field that do
this on a part-time basis, there are six -- there are six folks
in our office, who we have about 300 people in the field assigned
to VBA, Veterans Benefit Administration,
Veterans Health Administration Cemetery,
they go out and do outreach.
And last year about 40 percent of the people that did outreach
too were minority veterans, which means 60 percent are.
So we don't exclude anybody.
Whoever comes in we throw the net out,
we give them information.
Go ahead.
That is how our office is organized,
Special Advisory Office under the Secretary.
Chief of Staff, when I showed him this picture when the
Obama administration came in and the appointees came in,
he said Earl, you are giving me too many numbers.
I said, no, sir, you need to see these numbers.
This is a paradigm shift.
Then he looked at me and the staff was on the two sides,
wonder why my head was still there.
I realized he was an old Army colonel like I was,
so he was first going to give me thirty seconds to explain why I
told him no.
But anyway, look at the demographics.
What you see is between 2010 and 2050;
the population -- the veteran population is
going to be more diverse.
When I got into office four years ago it was about
15 percent of the veteran population was minority veteran.
Now it is about 20 to 21.
And what we -- the point we bring out,
you know how we are playing catch-up with services for women
veterans, the point we are bringing,
unless you start making a gradual change in how you do
business, if you don't do some of the changes like identify
what you need to do for health disparities and where you do
outreach and stuff like that, you are going to find yourself
playing catch-up later on as the veteran population
gets more diverse.
So we are kind of like the parakeet in a cave that says
don't forget about them.
Don't forget about them. Don't forget about them.
Does that make sense?
This is the salami slice.
API veterans, roughly 1.5 percent of the
veteran population.
One of the things I will tell you need to help us do is very
little medical research on anybody besides African
Americans and Hispanics.
So any time somebody asks you for a -- to be in a research
protocol, please do.
And the other thing, history, why are you still here with us?
Anywhere you see an opportunity to sign up for the Veterans
History Project, tell your story now.
Please tell your story now.
Drag your fathers; drag your mothers, your aunts and uncle.
Drag them in there and let them get to the tape and let
them do that.
So it can be on file.
So later on we don't have to wait another 60 or 70 years for
somebody's story to be told.
This is what I was talking about earlier when minority veterans
return to their communities, they find out some of those same
things that was going on there that caused them to leave.
Well, guess what?
They are there when they come back.
So if they haven't used those benefits and services,
what happens?
That's the people you find who are homeless,
that's the people you find who have the drug addiction,
that's the people you find who are living below poverty level.
So we want veterans to use their VA benefits to get that step up.
Overall, these are the bullets when you are talking about what
things are bad in our communities.
And America in general.
Homelessness, unemployment, disparities in loans.
None of this is new to you, is it?
But what we find is minority veterans especially and veterans
below income who aren't minorities,
they are going through basically the same problems.
Basically it's like a poor, poor folks minority -- minority
veteran population that's out there.
Folks in West Virginia, other rural areas,
Kentucky -- don't pick on somebody's state.
I know I'll probably get in trouble.
But you -- I'm from Texas.
South Texas.
Central Texas.
Hill country.
You know, people who are basically poor,
you go back to those communities, you the
oddball when you come home when everybody else stayed
home all of these years.
So they don't want to hear your war stories and all of that.
And they figure you had some good income while you were in
the military, you know, pull your bootstraps up
and do something.
But we want people when they get back to use the benefits
and services that VA has to give them that step up.
Next, please.
I highlight some of these because I send -- these are a
lot of the benefits that a lot of people don't use and don't
know about.
You know when I had these people raise their hands up;
very few used the home loan.
You know, you got good credit.
You were able to get a very -- a commercial loan.
That is good for you.
Everybody doesn't have that.
And then you find out things like I have used home loan
benefit three times.
No, it is not illegal.
I got my certificate of eligibility each time the
guys refinanced the loans they got from me.
But the third time I used it I was a service disabled veteran.
Which means I didn't have to pay the funding fee, which saved
me about eight grand.
My wife spent that the week later.
But you know those are the kind of things,
that can be the money you need for tuition,
that can be if you are part of the sandwich generation where
you are taking care of your kids and your parents.
That can be eight grand that you can use for that.
That is what I am saying, use those benefits.
The other one I really want you to encourage spouses to look at
is the DIC.
We've got some information out there for survivors and spouses.
That is Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.
Basically if a veteran dies because of his or her service
condition, the spouse can apply for that DIC payment.
If they die of that condition, last time I looked,
it was going for about 1700/1785 a month.
That's a check tax-free that goes to that spouse.
Now, I don't know about you, but in my old neighborhood in
Houston, there is a lot of folks on Social Security making
less than 1700 bucks.
And that can make the difference between, you know, eating spam
and having a piece of good meat every now and then.
And so the last time I saw a review,
they did a survey a few years ago and the average person who
was getting DIC -- DIC payments was a white female over 65.
What caught my attention was, they had qualified for the
benefit for six years before they applied for it.
That's where the education part comes in.
Think about it, 1700 and some odd bucks a month,
somebody over 65 who is probably living on Social Security,
who is probably not getting $1700
a month, what that would have done to change their life.
That is why -- I mean, this is a vocation to me folks.
It ain't a job.
I want people to get out there so -- so what happened with my
family is the American dream for all families.
The other thing, Agent Orange.
I know you World War II, but some of your sons and daughters
served in Vietnam.
There are veterans out there who qualify for disability payment,
for Agent Orange benefit, and not doing it.
You veterans out there, do you know anybody by name that
hasn't applied?
I had a guy that was working for me, a handy man, self employed.
It took me four years to get him enrolled for VA health care.
He started getting arthritis in his knees and all of that,
but he was a diabetic, which is one of the presumptive illnesses
and he had a heart condition, which is one
of the presumptive illnesses.
And it took me four years to get him to first enroll in VA health
care, which is free for him to enroll, and then get on the
Agent Orange registry and apply for disability.
He called me six months ago on his way to Florida.
He said Mr. Newsome, I got my check.
I said what are you now?
He said 50% service connected.
He said, now I am getting 780 some bucks a month.
I said that's good, but you could have gotten that four
years ago when I first told you about it.
The other part that was good about the story was,
he was on his way to Florida because he was going to go to
school under voc rehab.
And now he was service connected,
and the VA was going to put him to school where he could
get an associate's degree in computer graphics.
This is what I am talking about when you help a veteran,
you help the community.
But I am mad at him because he waited four years.
And that is really why I am here to tell you,
if you see people who are out there and this is a guy I am
telling you, I told him where the place was.
He actually had to pass the clinic at Charlotte Hall,
coming into DC to work and didn't stop.
He was using Medicaid instead of using his veterans benefit.
Encourage them to use the benefits.
The burial allowance, I know you want to avoid that.
That is something to think about in your plans.
I tell veterans when you have got your life insurance policy,
your insurance policy and all of that, have your DD-214 in there.
That's another experience that your spouse doesn't have to go
through trying to figure out what he or she is going to
do with you.
Just make that easy.
Make that part of your final plans;
get with your insurance papers.
So we find if people use this -- in health care,
you know you better enroll for health care before somebody cuts
off a priority group.
Remember a few years ago when priority (inaudible) was cut
off, you know as things going on on the Hill,
the decision has to be made each year what
the Secretary can support.
You don't want to be the one that is caught after they cut
it off, when you could have just signed up now,
and didn't have to pay.
So if you've got somebody that is out there,
even if they don't need it and qualify for enrollment,
all they have to do is go online and enroll.
Please encourage people to use these.
Next, please.
Give you an example, the more diverse you get,
the more chance you have of not having health care.
That's for the general population.
Where do veterans live in most cases when they go home?
In those neighborhoods.
That's why I say, when you look at the previous slide, you
want people who are eligible and while the window is open
to sign up.
Does that make sense?
Next slide, please.
Now when -- people always say a vet is a vet is a vet.
Everything is equal.
I don't think so.
When you look at approximately 21 percent of -- of the veteran
population of minority veterans, but roughly 56 percent of the
homeless veterans are minority veterans.
There's something different about that.
So that's why, you know, when you go in the communities,
you need to find those interventions.
We're starting to look at not just what's going on with them
now, but why didn't they use them?
I would bet you -- I ain't a rocket scientist -- but I would
bet you most of those folks didn't use the home loan,
didn't use the education loan, when they got sick and started
using drugs and all, they didn't go to the VA for some counseling
and stuff like that.
Or they had a mental disease that nobody treated and they
just gave them a weapon, and told them go there and shoot.
If you made it back home, fine.
If not -- and they didn't use some of those benefits that they
could have gotten what somebody to give them an intervention
where they wouldn't be homeless.
So again, we want you to use and the veterans you come in contact
with to use the benefits.
Next, please.
This is one of the things you've got going.
If you have -- we have got copies of the presentation,
but any time you go to VA website, the
Secretary wants to end homeless, has the goal to end homelessness
about 2015.
That is not too far away.
You run into any veteran that is out there that is homeless,
have him or her call that number or you call it for them.
We have these little dog tags outside the door.
This is the number you put it on your key chain.
Get them in touch with somebody at the VA to help them to try to
get them out of homelessness and get them in care.
Most of the time when they are out there,
they need to get enrolled.
They need to get in some type of intervention program at the
hospital or medical center or CBOC vet center and start them
on a program to get straight.
The other side of this dog tag is the veteran crisis center.
You know we have had a lot of press about
people committing suicide.
It used to be the suicide hot line.
Now, they have expanded it, we have expanded it so it is not
just for suicide.
Any person that's out there in trouble and don't know where to
go, we want them to get triaged by calling this number.
So if you didn't grab one of those dog tags out there,
please do.
Next slide, please.
That's the fancy shmancy name for the crisis line.
That was the thing I wanted again, I put it up there again.
Because Vietnam -- this is what happened.
Vietnam era veterans who served boots on the ground in the
country, there's a couple of other places, Korea
for a certain time, guess what?
I am the tail end of Vietnam.
I came on active duty '74 to '95.
We are getting to that window of baby boomers that we are getting
ready to retire and get on a fixed income.
They used to tell, the same briefing was when -- when the
things get down, you probably seem claims go down after the
(inaudible) veterans get settled.
I don't think so.
I think when you get a -- get a lot of Earl Newsomes out there
on a fixed income, 65, 70, you know, like me,
I'm 20 percent for my back.
I hurt my back when I was on active duty.
I just charge through it and take aspirin now.
But I bet you when I am sitting at home, I am going to think,
you know I need to go in and tell them something
else is wrong.
And again when you are talking about changing a community,
you have got veterans out there who deserve their disability,
encourage them to use Agent Orange,
if they got those diseases and apply for their benefit.
Not only just for them but for their spouses.
Think about their connection there.
If they never got the connection for -- for the service-connected
disability because of the presumption and they die
of one of those diseases but they never applied -- got on
the registry and applied for the plan, then their spouse
is not eligible.
You have got to go back and try to get -- try to
get that DIC payment.
Where you know, once it is on the record,
that they are -- they are on the Agent Orange registry getting
the benefit; it makes it a lot easier for the spouse.
Next one, sir.
Next slide.
That's what's happening with our homes.
Next one, just to show you it is very interesting thing
that happens.
When you look at who uses the home loan benefit,
White Americans, basically using the less proportion,
their proportion of population, African Americans,
and -- African Americans use the VA benefit for home loans
in a greater proportion, their portions of the population than
a couple of us do.
So that is a good sign that you know -- that is one of
the places that we have got real strong numbers,
because you have to put down your rates when you do your home
loan, loan officer has to put down what they think you are.
That is one of the few places that we have got good data by
race and ethnicity on what people are doing
for their benefits.
So I think that is important because look at the next slide.
When they had what I call the voodoo loans out there,
guess what?
The voodoo loans were targeted in minority communities.
And look what it says.
You know, 35 percent of the subprime loans were issued
to borrowers that could have qualified for a fixed rate loan.
What kind of loans does VA have?
Fixed rate.
We needed people to use those loans.
Next one, sir.
Basically, same thing.
If you are a minority, you stand more of a chance of being
unemployed than somebody else.
Next slide, sir.
This website is getting kicked in on Veterans Day, November 11.
VA for vets.
VA initiative to hire veterans.
Next slide.
What we are going to do with that there is going to be a
website where a veteran can go in,
put in his or her military MOS -- it does cross over to say if
you are exiting this, you can do this on a civilian job.
It can take the USA jobs and also you see the VA jobs now.
Because what we have got to do for VA to continue to be an
employer of choice is give veterans to stay with us so they
can provide benefit services to other veterans that don't go to
other departments but also use them to help recruit people who
come in.
We are also training our managers again to identify
the value of veterans who are in there.
We are getting to a point now; you know I was in the first
draft lottery.
We got a lot of people out there who do not have a
veteran in their family.
And don't know it.
It wasn't like after Vietnam, if you didn't go,
you knew somebody down the street and stuff like that.
A lot of times it is not like that.
So this program is being kicked off with other things that is
going on with employment to encourage veterans to do that.
So November 11th, tell your friends if they are looking
for a job, and they are veteran, to key in their VA for Vets.
Next, please.
If you use a computer like my dad does,
when he calls and says, how do you turn this durn thing off?
You probably think that ain't for you.
He's got my number written on the back of the case of
his cell phone.
He's 85, he doesn't want to play with the computer,
but he's got it in the house because my brother
comes by there.
Encourage veterans, our veterans to get their family members to
get them enrolled in eBenefits.
You can check on the status of your claim.
You can apply for benefits and all of that.
And it is all there in one record.
Say something happens to you where your family is trying to
find out what things you qualify for,
what things you have already used.
It makes it a heck a lot easier.
It gives you one repository there where you can track what
-- what has been done and helps gives you an idea of how to
utilize the system a little bit further.
We are with Ron.
Ronald Sagudan: My name is Ron Sagudan and I think it is kind of interesting
because I come full circle, because my father actually
served here in the White House.
He was one of the cooks that worked serving the President
and it is kind of an honor and humbling to me to be speaking to
you guys today.
And he was a 28 year senior chief in the Navy.
Thank you for allowing me to speak.
Again, the overview for the Asian Pacific Islanders.
Next slide.
The outreach that we have done at the center,
we have gone up to the Japanese American Citizens
League convention.
While we were out there, we outreached to the Filipino
town community.
Actually, from what I heard, after we went out there,
we actually had about 19 Filipino veterans enroll
into the VA program.
So that was a good program that we -- that we actually kind of
got a two-for outreach.
So and also we also attended the Chinese American convention in
New York in August.
Other things we did was we met with the Embassy of the
Philippines as well as Embassy of the Federated
States of Micronesia.
Next slide.
Currently, at the White House Initiative on Asian Pacific
Islanders, are Deputy Secretary Scott Gould is
currently the representative.
VA has plans to hold an AAPI round table.
Right now it is in the works.
Right now, everybody is concentrating on 11-11-11,
Veterans Day.
So as soon as more news comes out,
we'll try to feed it to the public.
I guess we did initially I think we put out the plan that the VA
is working on for White House initiative.
So it was submitted and currently right now they are
trying to update the information to give you an update at the
round table.
I guess you guys are all familiar with this.
Congressional Gold Medal.
Several people are here.
Also, President Obama signed in 2009 the American Recovery
Investment Act, which allowed Filipino veterans 198 million
in appropriations for their service to our country.
In response to that, I believe there was a total of over 40,000
that applied.
And then there was a supplemental Appropriations
Act that was signed which added -- it was 64.
Sorry about that.
Typo on that.
But it was 60, 67 million that was added to fund that.
Next slide.
This is the current numbers for that -- that one-year process.
Currently, there's pending claims that
have been reopened, 193.
Claims that have been granted in the Philippines was 9,300.
Claims that have been granted to US citizens, 9100.
Claims denied, 24,000.
And claims completed, were 42,000.
Challenges, we have an advisory committee member that is
actually from Guam.
And some of the challenges that he identified and some of the
things that VA has done, Secretary participated
in the new opening of a CBOC in Guam.
Office of Rural Health has made assessments in the Pacific.
And also, we have dialogue with the Governor and official office
with the Governor of Guam about the new build-up that
is happening in Guam as well.
And I guess to give you an idea, a lot of times when we talk
about rural health, a lot of them don't realize how rural
the Pacific Islands are
and the difference between that.
And a lot of times they look at rural, I guess
(inaudible) where you are just driving two or three hours.
And just the islands itself, I believe I spoke with a
gentleman, a lady that was out in American Samoa,
they only average two flights a week.
That's in and out of -- so rural is very rural for them.
So I just wanted to point that out there.
Challenges for Asian Pacific Islanders: diverse populations,
cultural competency, immigration, language,
segmented population, mental health,
access to care, and rural and remote locations.
Speaker: Any questions? Thank you.
Eddie Lee: Thank you very much.
And I'm going to ask them to stick around afterwards to
answer any questions you may have.
I very much encourage you to, you know, let them know if
there's any concerns or questions you might have.
That brings us to the end of this program.
I want to thank you all for coming out here.
I also want you to let you know that I'll be here as well.
I work for the Office of Public Engagements and my job is to
reach out to the API community.
So if there is anything I can do to better serve you,
please let me know.
I will be around as well.
So thank you so much for coming out today.