FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 21, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On August 20th, the White House Office of Public Liaison and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) hosted a conference call for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders community and business stakeholders. Both Co-Chairs of WHIAAPI, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, provided remarks. Also joining the call was Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division along with Chair Paul Hsu and Commissioner Prem Parameswaran of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (PAC-AAPI). Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director for the White House Office of Public Liaison, Ms. Jennifer Korn, provided the welcoming remarks along with Associate Director Alex Flemister. Executive Director of WHIAAPI, Tina Wei Smith, cohosted this important call.
“The resilience of this country’s AAPI community gives me great confidence as we make progress through the recovery effort”, said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “And rest assured, the Commerce Department will continue to deploy its resources on your behalf.” Secretary Ross went on to announce Phase Two of the Household Pulse Survey and the Small Business Pulse Survey. Both surveys by the U.S. Census are critical to informing federal and state response and recovery planning by collecting real-time data on the impact of COVID-19. Phase Two expands on the initial surveys’ federal assistance questions and asks businesses and households to communicate their future needs. Secretary Ross also reminded the AAPI community the importance of completing the 2020 Census.
“The Department of Transportation has kept our country’s transportation systems open, operational, and safe during the Covid-19 public health emergency,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao. “The transportation systems of this country had to remain open to keep our supply chains strong. Truckers kept our stores’ shelves stocked with food and other essential items and delivered much needed medical supplies. Air Traffic Controllers had to stay on the job to keep our national airspace open. Other airline workers helped keep our planes flying. Buses and paratransit operators kept communities moving. Freight had to move by rail. There are stories upon stories of American heroes during this crisis, and many of them are in the transportation sector.”
Secretary Chao encouraged the community by sharing, “the Asian Pacific American community has so much to offer to mainstream America. And our contributions to the economic vitality of our country are needed more than ever. So, thank you for all that you do to increase opportunities for our community.”
“The Justice Department is committed to prosecuting hate crimes and violations of anti-discrimination laws against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the fullest extent of the law,” said Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Assistant Attorney General Dreiband provided updates on college application discrimination of AAPIs, and he expressed that both him and Attorney General William Barr have instructed department prosecutors that they will not tolerate hate-motivated acts of violence of the AAPI community, particularly as it relates to the pandemic.
The President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has been tasked by President Trump’s Executive Order to provide advice to the President, through the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, on how to broaden access by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) employers and communities to economic resources and opportunities. Joining from the Commission was Chair of the Commission, Dr. Paul Hsu and Commissioner Prem Parameswaran.
“Because of President Trump’s unprecedented action and leadership, we have realized there’s nothing wrong with our economy today. All our fundamentals are still strong. Just three months, May, June, and July we have added 9 million jobs. And we are just getting started,” said Dr. Paul Hsu of Florida, Chair of PAC-AAPI, “Working together, we will overcome this. We are Americans. We have conquered tough challenges before, our economic outlook is healthy, our better days are coming!”
Commissioner Prem Parameswaran of New York shared that, “as a proud son of Indian immigrant parents who came to the United States over 60 years ago and achieved the true American dream I am honored to be a Commissioner on the President’s Commission…we as Commissioners will work very hard in this Administration for the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders community.”
For more information on opportunities and resources, please visit www.commerce.gov/whiaapi