Addressing the Needs of Asian American and Pacific Islander Youth III


Uploaded by whitehouse on 12.01.2012

Transcript:
Eddie Lee: With that, our next panel is one that you have indicated in your
surveys as being the most important issue that you are
affected by on a day-to-day basis,
and that is the importance of education and access to
higher education.
This is a very important issue for our community and for the
unAmerican community, and the facts are pretty telling.
One in four AAPI students have limited English proficiency.
In pockets of the AAPI community,
about 40 to 41% of certain populations have dropped out of
high school and college.
We have native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders who are older
than 25, only 14% of them have at least a bachelor's degree.
And so when we talk about education in the AAPI community,
it's often believed or there's a perception that we're doing
really well, that we are mastering our educations,
we are making our way into the workforce on a very smooth path,
but the reality is when you look at the numbers and when you look
at different pockets of our community,
there are a lot of folks that are struggling.
And so we made it a priority at this briefing to bring together
some of the key officials at different agencies to come
together to talk about how education reform and how this
administration has been affecting and pushing forward
different initiatives to help support you and all the students
around this country.
And so with that, I want to turn it over to our moderator.
You know, as we said earlier, we weren't able to get the
President for this briefing, but we were able to get the next
best thing, or possibly even better some might argue,
and that is we got his brother-in-law,
and that's Konrad Ng.
And I'm very honored to bring him up and turn it over to him.
He's the Director of the Smithsonian Asian American and
Pacific American Program.
He is a huge advocate for this community.
He's a tireless worker who has been making sure that our voice
is heard here in this administration and across
the agency.
And so with that, please help me welcome Mr. Konrad Ng.
[applause]
Actually, before -- sorry, one more announcement is that folks
that are watching online, again, you can submit your questions.
We've been receiving a myriad of questions throughout this day,
and we'll be able to submit a few of them into this
panel discussion.
So please send them to the hashtag AAPIWH.
Konrad Ng: Well, good morning and aloha.
Eddie, I think, was very kind in his introduction.
He certainly went off his notes, off the notes that were
prepared, but I appreciate the shout out.
Let me begin by sharing that it's especially meaningful for
me to be here today to participate in this what I like
to think is a conversation.
It's meaningful, one, because I like to think of --
when I think of the U.S. government, I think of America.
I think that congress expresses of will of the people,
but the White House and the presidency expresses the power
of the people.
And being at the Smithsonian and being in the business of forever
and thinking about history, I think back to this White House
initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,
and it's less than 15 years old.
What does that mean?
Well, that means that the very conversations that we have
today, how American power, how we can change lives and change
the world, is now including our perspectives,
that we're able to shape that power,
how we're able to express it.
So it's meaningful that I'm here today and I get to share this
opportunity with you.
And it's meaningful because these excellent
colleagues of mine.
You've heard throughout the morning some really terrific and
accomplished individuals who shared some very
personal stories.
And if you sort of track it, all the things they've said,
they kind of come together around a moment or a day that
they had where they interacted with the White House,
with the President, or with the federal government.
And here's my challenge to you.
Like today, this may be your first,
it might be your only time, it might be your second, third,
fourth, or fifth time that you're interacting with
the White House.
Let me challenge you to let today be that day where you look
back and you think, well, this is the day that changed my life,
this is the day that drove me to this path.
Let me challenge you to do that so that when you are sitting in
my seat, you can say and issue that challenge to another
generation of people.
So today's topic is, as Eddie said,
one of the ones that you have rated as being the
most pressing.
And I'm joined by, like I said, incredible colleagues who will
be able to share their voice and address how some of these issues
are being addressed by the administration and, again,
hearing about what other things we all could do better at.
So, without further ado, let me ask the panelists to introduce
themselves and to say a little bit more about what they do.
Ramey Ko: Oh, okay.
All right, well, good morning everyone.
I think you guys remember me from a little bit earlier.
My name is Ramey Ko.
I am a member of the President's Advisory Commission on Asian
Americans and Pacific Islanders, and we are a part of or you
might say the companion to the White House Initiative on Asian
Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Kiran and Tuyet and Christina and Eddie and all these
different folks -- oh, Eddie actually not technically
anymore, but a lot of different folks that you've met today or
seen today, they are part of the staff that work here in D.C.
that are here full-time really interfacing with the government
every day on a daily basis.
We are 20 different people appointed from all walks of life
from around the country.
I myself am currently an Associate Municipal Judge in
Austin, Texas and an adjunct lecturer in Asian American
Studies at the University of Texas in Austin.
And, you know, you may have heard Hines Ward is on
our commission.
Apolo Ohno just got added to our commission,
very excited about that.
We have Hector Vargas here with us today, different people.
But we are the bridge, right.
We are the people who are out there in the community everyday
getting the information, listening to people,
getting that back to the folks here in D.C. doing the great
work, as well as providing that feedback and
disseminating information.
Earlier somebody asked about how do we educate the public.
Well, the commissioners in particular have the particular
responsibility of being out there and being that voice to
let people know about what great programs are going on,
to let people know.
So find me on Facebook, Ramey Ko.
Find me on Twitter.
I'm just Ramey Ko on Twitter.
I just use my first and last name for everything.
So just Google Ramey Ko, you'll find all the information on me,
including probably my phone number and address.
[laughter]
Ramey Ko: But, and so, yeah, I'm very excited to be here.
I think I really love Konrad's point about that moments.
I'll just tell this really quick story.
When I came here for the very first meeting of the commission
last year -- I'm sorry, in 2010 --
I remember we were walking up the steps into this building
like you guys did today, the big gray steps into the big gray
building, and I remembered a flashback to 11 years before in
1999 when I was an intern for OCA.
Anybody here an intern for OCA
Audience Member: Woo!
Ramey Ko: Woo!
[laughter]
And I remember just 11 years previously walking up those
exact same steps into the exact same building to meet with the
then members of the White House commission and the White House
Initiative as an intern, and it's amazing to think that 11
years later I'm walking and I'm in the same building as a member
of that commission.
Tuyet Duong: Thanks for sharing your story, Ramey.
Hi, my name is Tuyet Duong, or Tuyet Duong,
and I'm an Advisor on Civil Rights and Immigration at the
White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
I'm detailed from Department of Homeland Security's Office for
Civil Rights and Civil Liberties,
which means they pay for my salary while I have fun with
folks like Ramey and the people at the Initiative.
And formerly I was an immigration attorney in a
nonprofit in Texas.
There's a lot of us from Texas.
Anybody from Texas, actually?
Oh, yes!
Hook'em!
[laughter]
And mainly I'm really excited to be here for this discussion.
I'm actually more interested in hearing your stories.
I just bumped into a couple of guys from Hawaii,
and I just sat in rapture listening to what they
had to say.
And so I am really interested in meeting all of you and hearing
your stories and seeing what you think about our work and how we
can make it better for you.
Don Yu: Hey folks, my name is Don Yu, I'm a Special Advisor to
Secretary Duncan at the Education Department.
So I'm just like my other colleagues up here,
I'm also very excited to be here.
It's a privilege to speak to you all really,
and I mean that sincerely.
You know, I'm a political appointee at the department,
and working for the administration has been the
greatest privilege I've ever had in my life, but it is a grind,
it is really challenging.
These are some of the -- probably I've never been
stretched so far in my life for --
as you've heard from earlier speakers about going into public
service, it is a really challenging,
can be a very challenging job.
You know, meeting folks like you,
it's really important for me, this is just as important for me
as it is for you probably.
You know, staying in D.C., it's an echo chamber in here.
You hear all these discussions happening at the 60,000-foot
level, but, you know, engaging the public like
this is really important.
You know, I don't consider myself a particular expert in
any particular education issue.
I handle a variety of special assignments for the secretary,
but I see my job really to come to sessions like this,
hear your concerns, what are your issues that you're facing,
and it's the job of this administration to implement,
see what we can do to address them.
I see mostly my job as implementation or execution of
policy ideas, but the ideas and the concerns are initially
coming from you folks.
Navigating the federal bureaucracy and getting a policy
executed is actually really challenging in itself.
But, again, happy to hear -- you know,
I want to hear what you folks have to say mostly.
And, again, happy to be here.
Thanks.
Konrad Ng: Well, as we know, school these days is a lot harder than it
was, and for most of us or for some of us,
we need to pay for our own school,
we have to juggle jobs and family commitments.
Perhaps that means staying in school longer.
Perhaps it means changing our expectations in terms of where
we can go and when we can go.
So that's kind of the topic of today's panel.
And I have a few, like the other panel before us,
have a few starter questions, but then we'll open it up into
a Q&A.
You know, I have my list, but they are addressed to specific
people, but I might just let it go.
We'll start with Don here.
So, what is the administration doing to ensure educational
opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders?
Don Yu: Thanks, Konrad.
Let me see here.
So, you know, tech is something that Chris had said earlier,
you know, education -- well, this president, anyway,
doesn't see education as an AAPI issue or an African
American issue.
It's an American issue.
He's definitely interested in, and the Secretary,
raising all boats.
You know, the President has set an ambitious goal.
He said it several times, his number one goal for education is
that by year 2020, this country, once again,
lead the world in college completion rates.
Not too long ago, the United States led the world in college
completion, but recently we have fallen way behind, folks.
We are now number 16, we are 16th in the world in terms of
college completion.
We have fallen very, very far behind.
And, again, the goal is to get folks --
I think in order to meet the President's 2020 goal,
I think the estimate is we need to get another additional
8 million folks to obtain a college degree by 2020.
So that is a huge lift for us.
You know, Secretary -- that's not just a higher
education issue.
You know, to get people to graduate from college,
you have to start thinking about education as soon
as they're born.
And Secretary Duncan, his agenda is a cradle to career pipeline,
and some of the big things that he's focusing on is
early learning.
He's focusing on turning around the bottom 5% of public schools
in this country.
He's trying to instill a culture of data driven decision making
in schools, and that means concerning data more effectively
to evaluate teachers and education programs.
He's also concerned about making sure that every classroom has an
effective principal and teacher in it.
Some of the things that you folks are probably more
interested in are Pell Grant issues probably.
How many folks here are receiving a Pell Grant or have
received a Pell Grant?
So probably almost maybe more than a third of you, I think,
which actually reflects the United States population.
About a third of all college students receive a Pell Grant.
So that's about 9 million.
Not to toot our horn too much, but Pell Grant funding has
probably since the Bush administration,
the last year of the Bush administration, has tripled.
And if you also consider the context,
that means that is now about $49 billion.
The FY12 appropriation for the Pell Grant was $49 billion.
I think the last year of the Bush administration,
it was about 16 billion.
So, just so you guys know things that the President and Secretary
have been doing for you, especially if you consider this
culture of cutting as much as possible,
everything from the federal budget,
the fact that we now have almost $50 billion for Pell Grants is
a big deal.
And if you are wondering what the federal government or the
education department has been doing for you,
that probably means on average for all of you that said you
were receiving a Pell Grant today,
that's about probably an additional 20% in your pocket or
another $1,000 in your pocket each year.
These are grants that do not have to be repaid.
So that's probably the biggest thing.
And we're also doing a lot of work making student loan
payments, repayments easier, consolidating your student
loans, and doing what we can to make college more accessible and
more affordable.
So I'm not sure if you folks have follow up?
Konrad Ng: Did you want to -- I have different questions too.
Tuyet Duong: Yeah, I was going to go with the question assigned to me.
Konrad Ng: Okay, sounds good.
All right, well, then what opportunities are available --
I mean, this is one that as we're thinking about --
we'll be addressing some of those issues that you did share
in advance.
What opportunities are available for non-citizens?
Tuyet Duong: I think this is a really challenging issue, I think,
and I did hear some of the questions from students in the
earlier panel who are non-citizens.
I also want to say that -- I want to say how I think what
hasn't been said yet is -- we've been very optimistic,
but we haven't yet talked about how hard it is to be a student,
how challenging it is, especially with the overlay
of status.
And so I think I want to be able to recognize that and tell you a
couple of stories.
I also want to recognize our interns in the back, by the way,
because I wouldn't have been able to do this without them.
Can you just stand up, by the way?
They are like a focus group.
Can someone raise their hand if someone has ever been paid money
to be in a focus group before?
Yeah, they are like a free focus group.
And so they've been really helpful in helping us run this,
a lot of our ideas and thinking and questions.
So, thank you so much.
It's been really great.
So I want to recognize them too.
But I think on the topic of non-citizens and those who are
immigrants working in college, what's really inspiring to me is
actually my husband.
He is a boat person.
He's a refugee.
And after lots of bad boyfriends in college, I met him,
and he's really inspiring.
He was a grocery stock boy all throughout college in Oregon
and -- go Ducks!
Congratulations.
And he had to work and he had to support his mother who was a
maid in a hotel, and he didn't quite have citizenship yet.
And so there were so many challenges that he encountered
that I realized how privileged my life was.
And so I think for a non-citizen, it's even,
it's definitely harder.
As an immigration attorney, my first client was a woman who
came out of an abusive relationship who was younger
than me whose daughter had been kidnapped by her husband and who
was trying to get a GED.
I think about all of these stories.
I think about, many of you know, Eddy Zheng, right.
He is someone who probably whose country is not letting him back.
He committed a mistake when he was young.
He went to prison for many years.
He's from the bay area.
And he just won his immigration case in the 9th circuit.
And it says -- and the case said that they need to consider his
contributions to the community before the immigration judge
makes a final decision about his immigration status.
And he has been amazing in the community, as many of you know.
He joined the mayor's task force on reentry for formerly
incarcerated individuals.
He is a contractor for the Department of Juvenile Justice.
He's a peace ambassador working on racial harmony around the
world, and he doesn't -- his immigration status is influx.
He's doing so much more, actually,
that I can't even remember, because it's so many
inspiring things.
So I think the main message I have for those of you who feel
like because of your immigration status that it can hold you
back, it doesn't, not in this country.
It can't.
I think it's mainly the messages that the media send and the
rhetoric that you hear that may instill some of those
psychological barriers.
But, really, if you have a work permit, you have a green card,
and you don't have citizenship, there are many opportunities to
work in a nonprofit.
I've worked in a nonprofit.
I've worked in two for five years of my career as an
immigration attorney.
It's been amazing.
And unlike the federal government,
they don't require U.S. citizenship, many of them don't.
Working abroad, again, working abroad you don't have to have
citizenship, especially for a lot of the international
organizations, and you can come back and lend that global lens
to whatever you want to do.
And can I also say, it is so much easier to become a citizen.
Back in the day where people were lining up around the
immigration building to get to their appointment,
we're done with that now.
I'm not saying it's easy.
I've represented those in front of adjudicators in immigration
to get citizenship, especially elderly torture survivors,
that was hard, and it's still hard today,
but at least you can check your status online,
you can talk to someone in person and schedule appointment
online to figure out your status.
So it's a little bit easier.
And CIS is doing engagement sessions in Chinese in the bay
area this month to talk about how to get your citizenship.
I think there are many opportunities for non-citizens
to engage, to get their citizenship,
to help those in their community obtain citizenship.
So I really encourage you to grab a hold of those
opportunities and run with them.
But I'm also looking forward to your questions and your
recommendations about how we can make it better and easier for
you if you aren't a citizen.
Konrad Ng: So I'm going to ask Ramey a question,
but after Ramey responds, I'm going to be taking questions
from the audience and I think online.
So please park them in your brain.
And I should say with Ramey, he and I go, I think, way back.
I can say that now.
And he's been a terrific person to watch blossom.
So let me give you a shout out for that.
So, Ramey, how can AAPI student issues get addressed at the
state and local level?
Ramey Ko: Thanks, Konrad.
Actually, to just -- before I answer my question directly,
I just want to piggyback off of what Tuyet was talking about in
terms of programming that we're trying to really work and push
in terms of non-citizens.
Those upcoming citizenship workshops in San Francisco,
in Mandarin, this is a great example of how you can be
helpful in the future, right.
So I've done, we've done, you know,
over I think was it like 200 of these events already in the
last few years.
And so one of -- some of the people I met from San Francisco,
I emailed them about that event, and one of them actually
contacted the office, and they said, hey,
come in and we'll give you 300 flyers in Mandarin Chinese --
or in Chinese, not Mandarin Chinese --
in Chinese to pass out to the community.
And she was like, oh, that's wonderful.
And so she went down to the office, the CIS office,
and got those flyers and handed them out.
So, trust me, I'm going to get all your emails and you guys are
going to be getting lots and lots of annoying nudges from me
to, hey, we have this event coming up,
tell all your friends, tell your campus, tell your organizations,
tell your network, et cetera.
So y'all will be soon integrated into our communications network.
But in terms of getting involved at state and local levels,
a lot of people have mentioned.
The federal government, you know,
we talked a lot about that today,
but the federal government only has certain amounts of power and
they are under certain purviews.
A lot of the policy that gets made that affects your life
day-to-day is made at the local level and is made at the
state level.
Let me just ask a real quick question.
Let me see a show of hands, and this will probably be a lot in
this room, how many of you here are involved in some kind of
activism on your campus related to trying to change some kind of
campus policy or improve things on campus?
Let's see some hands.
All right, so pretty good number of you.
How many of you are involved or have been involved in any
efforts to change policy in your local city government,
with your city council, county commissioners or supervisors,
things like that?
Wow, okay, a good number of people.
Now, how many people here have ever engaged with the state
legislature or with the governor's office?
Interesting.
Wow, okay, still a fairly good number of people.
So that's not too surprising in this crowd,
because all of you are here because of somebody somewhere
has recognized you for the leadership you bring to
the community.
But it's something that clearly doesn't happen a lot.
It's not just with AAPI students.
It's students in general, right.
A lot of times, ironically even though the federal government is
probably the farthest away from us in many ways,
it's the one that people pay the most attention to because it
gets the most coverage on the news, right.
You hear a lot about what congress is doing more about it
than what you hear about what the Texas legislature or the
Georgia legislature is doing, most of the time.
But that doesn't mean it's not important to get involved,
and in fact it can be very, very simple to get involved.
A lot of student and campus organizations have had very
successful efforts doing lobby days, right.
So the university democrats, for example, University of Texas,
and some other student groups that I'm away of, right,
have created these days where they basically say,
bring as many UT students on one day to visit --
you know, because they are all around the state,
so you can hit, 30, 40, 50 different members' offices in
one day, right.
And you go and you have your set agenda that you agree on
beforehand to talk to these offices about your issues,
et cetera.
And then from that, it opens the door to being able to testify on
bills and things like that.
How many people here remember a few years ago there was an
incident in the Texas legislature involving a state
representative named Betty Brown who said that Asians should
change their names to make them easier to deal with?
It was on a YouTube video.
Okay, a lot of people remember that.
So I was the guy who testified in front of her, right,
that had that exchange with her.
And that was on the voter photo ID bill,
which a lot of you have probably been seeing a lot in the news
lately about these efforts around the states,
and this is a state level issue, to pass these really stringent
laws that make it very difficult,
in particular for immigrant communities, women,
elderly people, low income people,
people with disabilities, et cetera, to vote,
because it creates these very onerous photo requirements.
So there was a huge massive coalition organizing against
this in 2009 in Texas legislature.
And I contacted, I knew a lot of the people involved, and I said,
hey, do you have Asian Americans who are going to testify about
how this bill will specifically impact Asian Americans?
And they said, no, you know, we've been asking people,
we've been looking for people, but we can't seem to find
anybody who is available to come and testify.
And I realized that if nobody went and testified that we would
be losing a fantastically important part of this equation,
a hugely important voice, right.
Same thing in the immigration debate, how many times at these,
you know, when Arizona passed these bills, when
Alabama, Georgia?
You know, you hear a lot and you see all about Latinos may be on
TV, but you didn't really see Asian Americans/Pacific
Islanders on TV talking about this issue, right.
And students can be just as powerful in making these issues
voiced and heard, right.
Look at the DREAM Act.
Look how successful.
Many of you probably know people who have been involved in the
DREAM Act organizing on campuses, right.
This was a very inspiring kind of issue.
Just in the same way, even if it doesn't directly impact you as
someone mentioned earlier, students can get involved,
can voice things, right.
And even just a little bit of participation,
sometimes when you're just the one person in the room,
it can completely change the dynamic of the conversation.
So don't forget about state organizing, local organizing.
There's plenty of groups out there that can help with that.
There's United States Student -- what is it called --
USSA, yes, new association, different groups that provide
support for people who want to organize lobby days,
who want to learn how to hold press conferences and events
for students.
A lot of great resources out there.
So I highly encourage people to look at that, right.
And here is another really simple example, right.
At the University of Texas, a lot of people live in the west
campus neighborhood right near campus, right.
The west campus neighborhood has probably some of the worst roads
and utility infrastructure in the entire city, right.
Do you know why that is?
In the last city council election,
two votes were cast from that precinct, two.
Two people voted in the entire city council race from
that precinct.
How much attention do you think the city council pays attention
to or cares about the issues that affect those students in
that west campus neighborhood?
They may care a lot, but you know what,
they're never hearing about it.
And they know that if they don't do anything about it, at worst,
they are going to lose what, two votes?
Konrad Ng: Okay.
I have two questions via Twitter, and I'll ask them,
and any one of the panelists can address them.
And if you have a question in the audience,
I please encourage you to line up,
because I'll begin taking your questions there.
It's from Tony and Krish [phonetic].
And again, any of the panelists can take this one.
I'm an undocumented youth.
What can this administration do to help us get a
higher education?
Tuyet Duong: What were their names?
Konrad Ng: Tony and Krish.
Tuyet Duong: Hi, Tony and Krish, thank you for your question.
I really -- I really appreciate the position that you are in.
I definitely commend you for asking these questions and
bringing this up, as well, because it's a really
challenging time to be someone without immigration status.
The administration has done a tremendous amount through its
"We Can't Wait" administrative actions,
because the administration decided that because congress
couldn't pass immigration reform of the DREAM Act that it was
going to have to do some things in order to alleviate the
situation on the ground.
One is the prosecutorial discussion case-by-case review
where they'll be looking at every single immigration file in
the country and evaluating each case based on its own merits,
based on priorities.
Those who have lived here for a long time,
who came here as a child or who have had a green card for a long
time, those who have studied and work here,
are going to receive care and consideration.
Those are the exact words in the memo.
And we do care, and we are considering it very,
very seriously.
I can't emphasize that enough.
You know, some of the people in DHS have personally gone to the
ground to oversee some of the pilot programs to make sure that
each case is receiving care and consideration.
Another couple of the administrative remedies that the
administration has tried to do is improve in country processing
of waivers for those of you who might have immigration status
problems, and usually you have to leave the country and file a
waiver and wait abroad while it's adjudicated,
and then you have to come back.
And so now you can file it, get a conditional status while you
wait for DHS to make a decision.
There's a lot of different things.
We're reforming the immigration detention system.
We are not detaining as many people.
And those are mainly the immigration things that I think
will help individuals who are currently in limbo be able to
possibly get a work permit or regularize or get status so that
they can get financial aid, so that they can possibly be
admitted into a college or university,
so that they can get a college degree and obtain their dream.
So we are doing everything we can.
We're putting boots on the ground to hear the community.
The Hispanic initiative and our initiative,
we're doing as much as we can to reach out and get the
information about these announcements to you,
and we're also trying to get your feedback on how these
initiatives are impacting your community,
are they impacting you, what can we do better.
So I hope that answers your question,
and we really are doing so much on this issue,
and we welcome further dialogue with all of you on this.
Konrad Ng: There's a number of people lining up, so let me --
there are a number of people lining up,
so let me get to the second question if the other panelists
don't mind, and someone can answer it, and then we'll go.
This is from Juliette.
What can the White House do for Asian Pacific American students
at public institutions?
We're getting locked out by tuition hikes.
And I should express a point of personal privilege and say I'm a
proud alumni of the University of Hawaii at Manoa,
a public institution.
But here's the question: What can we do?
Don Yu: Juliette, I wish you were here in person so I could get
clarification on your question.
I probably would need some clarification on that,
but as I mentioned before, you know,
the administration has done a ton of broad, you know,
a broad range of things on Pell Grants, student loan reform,
et cetera.
Maybe if you want to tweet in your question to Eddie,
and if you give me a little bit more clarification,
I can either certainly follow up with you.
Ramey Ko: Maybe just very quickly, I think if the question is about the
pressures that a lot of state institutions in particular
because of budget cuts, I think this is a perfect illustration
of where sometimes you have to go beyond the federal government
and you would have to look to organizing on a state and
local level.
You know, most of the funding for public university comes from
the states, right.
I mean, the federal government provides some assistance,
but the state is really where a lot of these major
decisions get made.
So if tuition is a big concern for people,
this is exactly the kind of thing that AAPI students should
be looking at trying to organize and getting engaged at the
state level.
There are state level DREAM Acts,
even if the national DREAM Act is stalled.
California passed one.
Texas has one on the books, right.
You can get in-state tuition as an undocumented student in Texas
if you're a resident.
So, you know, these are things that people can work on on a
state level.
Don Yu: And just to follow up on what Ramey said, you know,
although the administration has, I think,
has taken great strides in increasing affordability and
access to college education, I do want to echo what he said
about there's just so much the federal government can do.
In fact, I would say probably the Department of Education's
K-12 budget, this is not including all of our money for
higher educational work, is about $60 billion.
That sounds like a lot, but actually in terms of over all
K-12 spending across the country for public school education,
that is only about 8 or 9%.
So you can see what Ramey is saying,
all the money is coming from state and local governments.
We are here to use our 10% of the funding to drive change and
show leadership across the country, though.
Konrad Ng: I'm going to start taking two questions at a time from our
people in the audience.
And if you could please, if you could please say your name,
perhaps where you're from, that would be great,
before you ask your question.
Audience Member: Okay.
Hi, my name is Karine Schmidt [phonetic].
I am a student at Georgetown University.
And first of all, I'd like to take a moment to thank you all
for being here to speak to us today.
It means a lot to all of us.
So about a year ago, I heard a piece on NPR,
and the speaker was talking about what she termed the
bamboo ceiling.
And basically she was talking about a phenomenon where we see
a lot of Asian American and Pacific Islander students doing
really well in high school.
They might even be your class valedictorian,
and they could even go on to great colleges and get
great grades there.
But what she was talking about is this phenomenon where you see
a lot of, a decrease in Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
as you go up in the corporate level and as you go up in the
levels of government.
And so my question to you is, what would you say to an Asian
Pacific Islander youth who may be uncomfortable being confident
in themself or bragging about their achievements?
And, in other words, how can we encourage Asian American Pacific
Islander youth to help break that bamboo ceiling?
Konrad Ng: Okay, there's one.
We'll go to the left.
Thank you for your question.
Audience Member: Actually, I have the same or a similar question that Tony and
Kaish Kim [phonetic] mentioned about immigration situation.
And actually they are my friends too,
so I just want to say hello Kaish, Tony.
[laughter]
My name is Ju, and I'm also an undocumented student at UC
Berkeley, and my question to you all is that there's very lack of
resources and support system for AAPI undocumented youth to
pursue higher education and move on to college.
And, for example, undocumented students are unable to get a
job, apply for scholarships, apply for internships,
or even get governmental financial aid.
And, in fact, some states like Georgia or Alabama don't allow
undocumented students to attend college.
And so most often because of these limitations,
many undocumented students are discouraged to go to college or
drop out of college.
And in addition to that, there's a lot of social discrimination
and culture stigma within our own community to even come out
of the shadow and talk about immigration issue.
So I guess my question to you all is what the Obama
administration are doing to reach out to AAPI undocumented
students to encourage them to provide resources and attend
higher education?
And I guess segue to deportation,
as far as understand there are about 1,000 undocumented
immigrants get deported every day,
and obviously some of the undocumented students are caught
up with this broken immigration system,
and I wonder what kind of remedy or what sort of initiative Obama
administration is doing to stop all dreamers, to, you know,
halt deportation cases while we continue to file for the DREAM
Act or some sort of policy that would create stay in this
country and pursue higher education?
Konrad Ng: Before we answer that, I want to say there are a lot of questions
in the queue, as we can see here, at the front.
Panelists, if you can keep your answers short,
we'll try to go through as many as we can.
People who do not get a chance to answer questions,
there is an opportunity afterward to address any number
of the speakers who are in the room.
So we're going to try to make sure that your voice is heard
and that you have answers.
So, two questions from Karine [phonetic] and Ju.
Tuyet Duong: I'll try to take both since I'm working on both issues at
the initiative.
Regarding the bamboo ceiling, the White House Initiative is
working with the Asian American government executives network to
launch this program for 20 people who are on the verge of
becoming executives in the government.
It's called the Senior Executive Service,
which is the highest level you can get in the government.
And so we're going to put them through a year of training on
how to improve their writing, their speaking, and such.
And so that's one thing we are doing formally.
But informally, I would suggest that you go out there and you
look for opportunities for people of color to rise.
I personally just went through a whole year program called the
Asian Pacific American Women's Leadership Institute,
and it's a whole year training that kind of gets out a lot of
your baggage, the emotional baggage.
It also helps you talk about yourself and brand yourself and
talk about yourself in a way that you're not thinking about
branding, but you're just projecting yourself and
projecting who you really are and want to be to people so that
you can get to where you want.
And I think we just need to get people the word about
these programs.
And people like me just need to talk more to you and try to tell
you more about our experiences and connect more with --
and that means you need to connect more with mentors,
people who can really guide you and help you get out of your
shell so that you feel comfortable in coming out there.
So that's my answer.
And I'd love to talk to you afterwards.
On the undocumented issue, I think that there's a lot of --
first of all, in terms of undocumented,
I want to remind people that even if your immigration status
is influx, there's ways to get financial aid right now and
scholarships in certain states that have passed kind of bills
that allow people no matter what their status --
I think California, Illinois, Connecticut are some of those
more progressive states.
And so you might want to look at those bills in terms of the
state activism that Ramey is talking about and get together
with some of your colleagues and attend a state legislature
session or meet with a state legislature to talk about these
bills and educate them about the different solutions that can
help students in your state who don't have immigration status.
In terms of I think you said halting deportations, actually,
the case-by-case review will result in literally --
let's say someone has your immigration case in hand and you
meet all of the different factors and you are considered a
low priority, they may actually close your case,
dismiss the case, defer it, maybe put it in a different
state of action.
And so some people actually might have their cases closed.
Right now we're going to the pilot program.
So it hasn't actually hit the ground nationally,
but we are hoping that once the pilot program is done,
we've looked at lessons learned and that it hits the ground
nationally that people will begin to see results.
They might actually see their cases close and they might
actually get a work permit issued.
And so we're looking forward to that and I look forward to
talking to you about that.
Konrad Ng: Do you guys want to say something or shall we move --
Ramey Ko: Well, let me just add really quickly,
the mentor issue is hugely important.
Studies on women and minorities in private and public sector
have shown that having a mentor or finding a mentor who can help
you navigate is one of the biggest factors for success.
Second thing is I know there are a lot of people out there who do
teach courses or provide information,
like if you go to student conferences like ECASU or MASU,
there are often sessions on networking and presenting
yourself, self-branding, self-marketing.
I've taught them myself, I think, on a number of occasions.
So you might see me one day on one of those conferences.
On the other issue, Ju, I think one of the other big things we
can do is to just educate people on this issue and make sure that
people understand that undocumented immigration is not
a monolithic issue.
There's not just one type of undocumented immigrant or one
type of situation.
Now, many people may know people who are undocumented and not
realize it, right, or have colleagues or classmates.
And so one of the things that we try to do is make sure that
folks like Ju are here, right.
So I wanted to make sure -- in fact, I think --
I'm probably not the only one who put him on the list to make
sure he was invited, but we all know him from his testimony,
his brave coming out as an undocumented immigrant and his
activism on the issue.
So getting him here to be able to speak in this kind of forum
and get that exposure, that's something that we can
also do here.
It's not an official policy thing,
but it can still have a big impact.
Konrad Ng: Okay, let's take a question from the right,
and then we'll go to the left.
Two at a time.
Audience Member: All right, well, I --
Konrad Ng: What's your name?
Audience Member: Yeah, that's the thing.
I'm Juliette.
That was my tweet.
I didn't really think that you guys were going to make that a
question, but --
[laughter]
Tuyet Duong: We deliver.
[laughter]
Audience Member: I just have some commentary and one just basic question since
you did address a lot of my concerns.
First off, Mr. Yu, with all due respect,
I have a lot of concern with you saying that higher education is
not just an Asian American AAPI issue,
because making it an American issue is kind of pushing the
racial factors into a corner and just kind of not addressing as
fully as I would and a lot of other people would like it.
I am a community organizer in New York State for New York
Students Rising and Save Our SUNY.
And basically I understand that the federal government has a
very limited budget in connection to public education,
especially for K through 12, and I know that most of the funding
comes from the state and local level.
However, it would be really just encouraging for the federal
government to take a stance on federal government and how the
states spend the money that is supposed to go towards the
schools, towards the students.
The UC system and the SUNY system operate very similarly,
and they both allow undocumented students and immigrants to go to
school where otherwise they might not have the chance.
But right now like with the bill at NY SUNY 2020 is raising
tuition to a point where a lot of kids won't be able to go.
It's locking out communities of color.
For instance -- and also in the UC system, like,
the prices are outrageous.
You see Berkeley's out of state tuition costs more than
Harvard right now.
For a public education system, that's completely ridiculous.
How are communities of color supposed to go to school and
make something out of ourselves and break that bamboo ceiling if
we can't get the resources that we need from the public
education system?
And do you think -- this is my final question --
do you think that the Obama administration will be able to
take a firm stance on public education and really lobby for
the students?
Konrad Ng: Okay, we're going to take -- actually,
we're going to try to add two more questions,
because there is a long line.
Thank you, Juliette.
Over here.
Audience Member: My question is -- my name is Camden Lee,
and I just graduated from the University of Maryland,
and my question is to Mr. Yu, as well.
You mentioned that data driven evaluation schools,
but currently nearly all schools are labeled failing because of
the annual yearly progress requirements from the No Child
Left Behind legislation.
NCLB recently had its 10th anniversary, I believe,
and I wanted to know what the administration is doing to
provide real estate data requirements for elementary and
secondary education?
Konrad Ng: Okay, thank you.
Camden?
Audience Member: Yeah.
Konrad Ng: Thank you.
Final question over here.
Audience Member: Okay.
My name is Vincent Fang.
I'm a junior at Syracuse University.
I have a friend at Syracuse, and some friends from the
organization that I work for, Transcend Youth Initiative,
and they are undocumented, and they are paying exorbitant
amounts of money to receive an education.
And their biggest fear isn't that they won't get through
their education.
Their greatest fear is that they won't find a job after paying so
much money for a private education.
Aside from the DREAM Act, what other initiatives is the Obama
administration doing to alleviate this fear
that they have?
Ramey Ko: Let me cut in real quick.
Transcend Youth Initiative teaches this really great course
on how to like lobby in your local and state government.
So, talk to them if you guys are interested in that.
[laughter]
Don Yu: Okay, these are great, great questions, tough questions,
and I wish I had all the answers that would satisfy you.
These are just tough conversations we have to have on
a lot of these issues.
You know, the first question about the education as an
American issue, you know, I think part of this goes back to
some of the themes that we've been hitting about really
education historically in this country has been a state and
local issue and mostly because, you know,
most policy decisions are made through local
elected school boards.
That's not -- and again, from the federal government's
perspective, a lot of our issues are, you know,
trying to provide incentives for change at a macro level,
you know, widespread scale here.
That's not to say, Juliette, that, you know,
that the administration treats all groups the same.
That's not the case at all.
We're still trying to effectively raise all
groups up, though.
Mechanisms may be different.
One thing that I didn't mention before, for example,
and there are many other different programs for each of
the different minority groups, but one specific program that
the administration has been working a lot on is the Asian
American Native American Pacific Islander serving institutions
program, the AANAPISI program, that's just for, you know, AAPI,
for institutions that serve high percentages of AAPI youth.
Relatively new program, it's essentially --
this is an imperfect analogy, but it's similar to the function
that historically black colleges serve,
travel and control ecology serve,
Hispanic serving institutions serve.
It's a new, relatively new program.
I think it started 2008 from the reauthorization of the Higher
Education Opportunity Act.
This year only a point 1 million in the budget, and that is --
again, we're doing better.
Need to work a lot more on that program,
build capacity for these AANAPISIs,
provide more technical assistance and also identify the
need that the budget for the AANAPISI program is admittedly
much smaller than comparable programs for other institutions,
but it's important to identify need and why funding for that
program is important.
So when I did say "raise all boats" there are different
mechanisms for addressing specific issues that are unique
to each group.
Tuyet Duong: I wanted to say something else on the undocumented issue.
I think that the job that you all are doing to collect your
stories, again, I'm all about story collecting
and storytelling.
I'm sure Konrad is too, because our institutions need to take
these stories and transform them into policies that help you.
The gentleman that just spoke, he handed me, I think,
and I want to recognize it, I think about 20 letters from 20
undocumented students.
And this does more for me, at least,
than pounding down doors or whatever.
You know, I have actually a bunch of letters in my cube
right now from children who talked about the impact of
immigration policies on their own family,
and I do hang them in my cube, and I do read them,
and I do keep it in mind every day when I meet with people that
work on immigration policy.
I want to -- I know change is slow, especially change on the
immigration policy front, and we're working hard as we can to
move that train as fast as we can.
And it's not catching up for those who are still being
impacted, but I want to let you know,
to those of you who wrote these letters, we do pay attention.
We're holding these letters in our hands while at the same time
sitting in our spaces every day in the government thinking
about you.
So don't think that there's been defeat and you just have to keep
on pushing and telling us your story and telling us how we can
be better.
So I really, really appreciate and thank you for these letters.
Don Yu: And I did want to address that one question about
reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act.
The Bush administration had called that the No Child Left
Behind Act.
We just call it by its original name now, ESEA.
And as the speaker had mentioned,
I think the number of estimated --
basically, NCLB required that all states show 100% proficiency
in math and reading by the year 2014.
It's estimated now some 50 to 60% of schools will not make
that benchmark.
You know, we have been working nonstop,
Secretary Duncan and the President have been trying to
push congress to reauthorize the ESEA,
and that has been our top goal for years now.
And, as you can see, this congress is totally gridlocked.
I heard, I read a report recently,
that it's passed the fewest number of bills like in the
history of Congress or something like that.
So that's why the President has been saying repeatedly,
we can't wait for this congress to do its job.
And this is getting a little bit into the weeds,
but Secretary Duncan has, and it has made some of the news,
but we have been issuing what we have been calling these waiver
packages where we have been -- in exchange for certain
implementation of certain education reforms,
we have been exchanging waivers from that very high level, those
sanctions that the NCLB required about making certain benchmarks
and at the threat of losing federal education funds.
And some of those things were in exchange for --
and again, I sound like sort of like a technocrat,
but in exchange for the development expansion of
statewide longitudinal data systems, which is a big data,
one of the issues that you had brought up, again,
in exchange for certain kinds of reforms,
we had been offering waiver to states.
Ramey Ko: There was a jobs question, as well, about what to do after,
you know, college and school, this worry right now that I
think is on everyone's minds.
The anxiety is understandable because I believe the
unemployment statistics are particularly stark for young
people, and they are particularly stark for Asian
American Pacific Islander young people,
especially in terms of the length of unemployment.
In fact, many of my friends who are just maybe a year or two out
of school at jobs got laid off in '08,
and a lot of them are still unemployed,
so they are going on three, four years now unemployment.
And these people graduated from top ten law schools
and universities, you know.
I mean, it's pretty tough.
I recognize that.
A couple things that the administration are doing --
I mean, obviously, besides all of the sort of major initiatives
to try to get the economy really going and producing jobs,
there have been some specific ones for youth.
Secretary Solis, if you join the Department of Labor mailing
list, which is a great mailing list,
they send out a great newsletter,
she has really been pushing hard on this program to provide
funding to give tax breaks and incentives to employers to hire
at least part-time young people, everyone from teenagers to
people in their twenties, in order to help them with jobs and
to bridge them to work and things like that.
Because one of the biggest problems is if you come out of
school and you don't have a job for several years,
when you finally do, when the economy finally starts picking
up, you have a lot of people with nothing on their resume,
right, and that's going to be a real challenging thing for that
generation of people.
So Secretary Solis has been really big on this idea that
make sure that every young person has the ability to have
some type of experience or job even if they can't do the ideal
thing that they want to do right now so that at least they're
prepared when things can start picking up across the board.
The American Jobs Act that the President has been trying to
push forward contains an entire component focused on youth and
young people's jobs.
So, again, these are things the administration is trying to do.
Some of it we can do through funding through the Department
of Labor, but then there's also things that does require action
from Congress.
So, again, you know, I think the message here is that there has
to be a concerted effort on all levels, state, local,
and even on the federal level, legislative as well
as executive.
Tuyet Duong: I also want to commend CIS for trying to be creative and out
of the box.
I think they're trying to make some efforts to improve the
legal Visa pathways for those who want to come here and work
or who want to adjust over.
And so they've invited any entrepreneur or business person
to apply to an in-residence entrepreneur in-residence
position for 90 days.
And all you have to do is have a business background and know
about the barriers that it has, that you have to applying for a
Visa in this country, and you can come in and basically brief
CIS and spend three months working there and telling them
how they can break down these barriers for people who are
non-citizens who want to work.
And so, again, the government is really trying to think out of
the box on different ways that it can help non-citizens,
those with immigration status influx to be able to work
and come here.
And so we appreciate your ideas.
Konrad Ng: Some of you may not get your questions addressed or answered
fully, because we're running out of time.
So I'm going to take the final three questions,
and again there's going to be an opportunity afterward to
address them.
So we'll start with my right over here.
Audience Member: Hello, my name is Ami Olan, and I go to
Rutgers University.
Currently at Rutgers, we're fighting for an Asian American
Pacific Islander studies program,
and I want to know what this administration is doing to
promote ethnic programs around the U.S.,
specifically Asian American/Pacific Islander.
Konrad Ng: Thank you.
Audience Member: Hi, my name is Ben Dimand, I am from Hawaii,
and I attend New York University.
I was interested in getting to know what the Obama
administration is doing to bridge the gap that exists
between Hawaii's educational system and mainland education.
According to the Huffington Post,
Hawaii ranks 37th nationally in terms of its education,
and I want to know what is being done to ensure that students
from underrepresented populations of the AAPI
communities within Hawaii, such as Samoans, Micronesians,
Polynesians and Filipinos, are getting the quality of education
that students here are receiving?
Konrad Ng: Thank you.
Audience Member: My name is She Zulau [phonetic].
I am a student at Wake Forest University.
I'm born and raised in Shiya, China,
and I'm an international student here pursuing my higher
education here in the states.
And my question for the federal government is,
what kind of experience that you guys are willing to give to
international students after they graduate?
And realizing they serve as a bridge for cultures, diversity,
and globalization, what kind of experience you are willing to
give them for them to take back to their homeland and to
advocate for their experiences?
Thanks.
Ramey Ko: Real quick, do you mean working or interning for the federal
government for international students?
Audience Member: Anything.
Ramey Ko: Okay.
Konrad Ng: Thank you.
Ramey Ko: What were the two previous questions again?
Konrad Ng: So there's the --
Ramey Ko: Oh, the Hawaiian education.
Konrad Ng: Hawaiian education.
[laughter]
Konrad Ng: Along with the AAPI studies program, which is critical.
Tuyet Duong: I can take the last one, I guess.
Konrad Ng: Okay.
Tuyet Duong: I think there's a few thoughts I have in terms of international
students who really want to kind of pave a path for.
And I'm not sure how it happens in other countries,
but I think networking is a really amazing tool.
And I also want to give a word to the wise about those of you
who are networking for via Facebook and LinkedIn.
I noticed there are some students picking up and linking
in me, but I don't know them.
And so they just send me the LinkedIn invitation,
and yet they don't follow up and send me an email and say, hey,
let's have a telephone chat about your work,
or let's have a coffee chat, or meet for coffee here.
And so I end up accepting the LinkedIn because, sure,
they can see my contacts and leverage them.
But they don't end up leveraging them or asking me to introduce
them to a contact where they want to work.
So let's maximize these social networks that we've all set up
or the LinkedIn people or the Facebook people have set up and
actually meet face-to-face.
Because that's how you're going to get someone to put out for
you and say, I'm going to vouch for you,
I'm going to introduce you to someone,
I'm going to connect you with this group of people who are
from China, as well, who are working on these issues that
you're interested in.
You should network with them because they know the range of
opportunities for these people, or they know the different
training opportunities that are free for international students,
or they know this group of corporations or companies that
are looking to recruit you and me with these language skills.
Because I know, for instance, the State Department considers
Chinese a very -- Chinese and Arabic is one of its top AAPI
languages to obtain.
And so definitely maximize that kind of stuff and maximize your
networks and maximize who you know.
Come talk to me and get our business cards.
And so that's what I suggest to international students,
because I think you're under some constraints in terms of
working and being able to work and some training requirements
under your Visa.
So, but the best thing is if you're here in America,
meet everyone, get to know everyone.
That's the way our country is.
You know, you can stand and meet someone and in five minutes get
to know their life story and be able to talk to them and help
each other for the rest of your lives.
It really happens that way here in America, and it's amazing.
Ramey Ko: So I'll talk a little bit about Asian American studies,
but to just sort of piggyback off of what Tuyet said about in
terms of experiences.
Again, I encourage people to think beyond the federal
government when it comes to experiences, right.
I understand that we're here for the White House events and
that's where our minds are.
But if you're an international student, you know,
you probably recognize a lot of like direct federal internships
in employment you have to be a U.S. citizen.
In some cases you have to be a legal permanent resident.
But, remember that D.C. is built around the federal government
and that here we have all of these national NGOs,
nonprofit organizations, community-based organizations,
that spend 100% of their time lobbying and dealing with the
federal government and meeting with congress and Tuyet,
et cetera.
There's the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans.
We probably have some folks with these organizations here, right.
There's Incapa, which is OCA, Japanese American Citizens
League, Asian American Pacific Islander Health Forum, you know,
all of these groups that work on healthcare,
that work on immigration, that work on legal issues,
Asian American Justice Center, these are all things in D.C.
And so if you want to get experience related to the
federal government and advocacy, I highly encourage you to pursue
internships and employment at those organizations,
most of which do not require that you are a United States
citizen or a legal permanent resident.
And then there's also the opportunity to work at state and
local levels.
There's actually a visa.
Do you want -- it's the H3B?
There's some visa that is available.
I have it -- there's a city of Austin employee who I knew who
had one of these visas, but some state and local governments will
hire people, give visas to international people to come and
work as civil servants.
And so I had a friend GilJa Ku who had one from Korea,
and she worked in the Health and Human Services Department in the
City of Austin, and it was a special Visa that she had to do
that specific kind of work.
So look at those opportunities as well.
In terms of AAPI studies programs,
I know that that's something that's been big on the minds of
a lot of people around campuses.
Not only are there schools like Rutgers that are trying to
establish such programs, but a lot of schools with existing
programs have seen a lot of threats to those programs
because of the recession and because of budgeting situations.
I believe one of the UC's or college states had its program
entirely eliminated.
At the University of Texas we're facing a lot of
budget pressures.
A lot of other places are facing a lot of pressures.
And this is an area where, I think, you know,
in terms of direct, you know, advocacy --
there may even be some legal reasons why the administration
can't necessarily be on the ground pushing for an AAPI
program at a specific university.
On the other hand, we can provide a lot of support in
terms of organizing experience and giving people advocacy
skills like doing something like this today, right,
the experience that someone say like I or other people in this
room like Borag had in helping establish programs on
their campuses and being able to act as a bridge and a
coming together.
That's really what we see the commission initiative as a lot.
Even when we can't provide the solution,
we can provide the place for people to come to find who else
I need to talk to, to find what other organizations are out
there, right.
The job that I spend the most time on every single day is
basically email, and the bulk of that is taking requests from
people asking them to connect me with other people.
Like I probably spend at least two hours a day every day
doing that.
So that's a big part of what we can do here in terms of the
Asian American Pacific Islander studies programs.
And I'm sure the Department of Education can we supportive in a
rhetorical way, but most importantly it's going to depend
on you all being out there.
But hopefully we can provide that support, right.
Even if it's not giving you government money or having an
official statement issued from the President,
all of us as commissioners and staffers can still give you the
benefit of our advice, the benefit of our experience,
the benefit of our networks.
Don Yu: Okay, we only have a couple minutes.
I'm going to race through those other questions about what the
administration is doing on a number of fronts.
You know, one question, what is the administration doing about a
number of underserved AAPI youth groups as certain groups?
One of the issues there is that we don't have --
right now we don't have clear data.
Data isn't broken -- this goes back to this data issue that I
brought up repeatedly.
We don't have clear data about educational needs for a number
of AAPI youths, particularly in particular subgroups.
You know, under NCLB, which was a good thing,
school districts are required to break down some of their
achievement data for subgroups, but Asian Americans are
lumped together.
So there's, you know, as a result of that,
there's certain masking that occurs.
For example, lots of people -- this contributes to the
minority, model minority myth.
But really quickly, because of certain high performing groups,
we don't have data on -- data isn't broken down enough to
identify needs for Cambodian students,
for Loatian students, for Hmong students, and we need to --
that's one big policy initiative is to find ways that we can
break down data so we can identify needs better.
And then another person had mentioned about international
education, and this is another place where we need,
just to echo Ramey, we need more support from --
we need to hear the voices of folks like you about this in a
time when a congress is out to cut our budget as much
as possible.
All of our funding for all of our international programs was
zeroed out.
We lost it all.
And this is a place where people need to know about that and
cause a ruckus about it if we're going to make sure that that
funding stays.
Konrad Ng: Well, thank you for this vivid, actually,
and very live conversation.
As I was listening to everyone's stories,
I couldn't help but think that these are part of our
understanding of the American experience,
but your desire to change things,
your desire to realize that you are very powerful reflects what
at the Smithsonian we like to think is the American spirit.
And it's important from my perspective and from others,
as Tuyet had said earlier, is that your stories are told.
So places like, for example, the Smithsonian can hear them and
make them part of American history art and culture and know
that the Asian Pacific American heritage month,
which happens in may, it's the 20th anniversary of the
designation of the full month of may,
by law the federal government and agencies have to listen and
know and learn about the Asian Pacific American experience.
That's by law by that designation.
So I hope you all know that you are important, right,
and that you should take some pride in what you do.
And there are some great challenges, as we know,
but don't forget that you can change that and you can
address that.
Please join me in thanking the panelists, and thank you.
[applause]
Eddie Lee: Thank you to Konrad and the panelists for their excellent
panel on education, and what this administration is doing to
serve our community with regards to this very important issue.
So we've come to the end of our morning session.
You finally made it here, and I think you guys are still going
strong, but we're about halfway through.
We're going to hit our lunch next.
And the way that I want to break it down is really quick by
saying that so far we've been talking about a lot of
different issues.
We've heard your stories, and I think your stories are one of
the most important things you have,
the most powerful tools that you have in your arsenal.
And what we want to do in this next session is to hear more of
your stories, to hear that passion that we've begun to see
here in this session, and we want you to just allow yourself
to break out of your shell, your comfort zone,
whatever it might be, to talk to others, your fellow peers,
as well as mentors and leaders that we've paired you up with in
each of your sessions to talk about how we as the
administration can improve our services to all of you.
The message that I will say to you is that we've heard
you so far.
We have heard your stories loud and clear,
and we know that we have our work cut out for us.
While this administration is working hard and we're very
dedicated to ensure that we won't stop fighting until we
make sure that all of this community,
all of the folks in this community and around this
country and their needs are met.
And in order for us to do that, we can't do it by ourselves.
We need all of you to play a part in that.
Folks here in Washington, D.C., we only have a part of
the solution.
The real part -- the rest of the solution comes from all of you.
And so we have five breakout sessions that will start right
after dismissal of you.
I'll be dismissing you into five different rooms with five
different sessions.
If you have your pen out right now,
just write down which room number that you've been
assigned to.
Okay.
Folks that have signed up for the Youth Entrepreneurship
Navigating the Challenges of Today's Economy,
you will be stationed in room 100,
and Quinn will be directing you to that room.
Folks that signed up for immigration in the AAPI
Community, you'll be in room 230B.
Folks that have signed up for LGBT and the AAPI Pride Session
will be in room 226.
And I just want to mention on that note,
we also have our Commissioner Hector Vargas who will be a part
of that discussion and who will be helping facilitate that
conversation, along with Gautam Raghavan.
Folks that have signed up for Empowering AAPI Students Through
Campus Activism will be at 230A.
And another note on that is that we are completely at capacity
for that one, so if you have not signed up yet,
that's the only one that's off limits at this time.
And finally, the last session is Maximizing Educational
Opportunities, and that will be in room 401.