E3! Ambassadors: Educate, Engage, and Empower Young AAPI Leaders


E3! is a new Youth Ambassadors program that discovers, develops and defines a new generation of leaders committed to advocating for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). The E3! Ambassadors Program affords young leaders the opportunity to brainstorm and implement their own unique ideas to help improve the overall quality of life for AAPIs across the country. More background, information and eligibility rules for the E3! Program can be found here.

Meet the current and previous cohorts of E3! Ambassadors.

E3! Ambassadors work on the following policy issue areas:




While many continue to view AAPIs as “model minorities” who have achieved educational and economic success, in reality AAPI communities are much more disparate and complex in terms of educational attainment.  Only 14.4 percent of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders 25 years of age and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher.  AAPI students often face many challenges, especially recent immigrants who must learn English as a second language. Many AAPIs are first-generation college students and have trouble navigating their way through the college experience. Some also struggle with the high costs of tuition, lack of information about scholarships and financial aid, and lack of career guidance on their campuses. In addition, AAPIs – especially Muslim, Sikh, or LGBT youth – are often the subject of bullying within the classroom.  According to recently released statistics, 54.0% of AAPI students ages 12 through 18 who reported being bullied were bullied in the classroom, the highest percentage compared to other ethnicities.

Young leaders are asked to consider the following questions:

    • How can we increase awareness around key educational initiatives, such as President Obama’s recent executive actions to make student loans more affordable?
    • What are some creative ways to raise awareness around responding to bullying and requesting support from the Department of Education and Department of Justice?
    • How can we increase awareness around Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), including how AAPI students have benefitted from AANAPISI grants?

Read the E3! TOOLKIT – Education here.

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Mental Health

Mental Health

In a recent study, it was discovered that a high percentage of the AAPI community suffer from depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  AAPI females also have higher suicide rates than others; for example, the suicide rate of Chinese American women is 10 times higher than white women. Speaking publicly about these issues is important because AAPI communities and families struggling with behavioral health issues often suffer in silence and without access to culturally and linguistically appropriate services that could help them combat social stigma. Furthermore, under theAffordable Care Act (ACA), 2 million more AAPIs became eligible for coverage, which includes expanded mental health coverage and preventive services like depression screenings and behavioral assessments.

Young leaders are asked to consider the following questions:

  • How can we encourage young AAPIs with mental health issues to take advantage of SAMHSA resources?
  • What are some ways to encourage AAPIs to share their stories in order to raise awareness and de-stigmatize mental health within the AAPI community?
  • What are some ways to foster an environment to allow AAPI students to be comfortable to use on-campus mental health services?
  • How can we raise awareness around the ACA and its benefit for AAPIs with mental health issues?

Read the E3! TOOLKIT – Mental Health here.
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Pathways to Public Service


According to the U.S. Census, the AAPI community is the fastest-growing racial group in the country.  From 2000 to 2010, the AAPI community has grown by 46%, and by 2020, almost one out of every five (19.5%) Americans will be of AAPI descent. While the ethnic makeup of our nation is diversifying, AAPI leadership and representation in the federal government is lacking.  In the most recent demographic report on the federal government, AAPIs made up 5.9% of the 2.1 million employees in the federal government, yet represent a mere 4.4% of the Senior Executive Service (SES). In order to increase the AAPI voice in all levels of the federal government, it is critical to raise awareness around federal job and internship opportunities, and provide career development for young AAPIs.

Young leaders are asked to consider the following questions:

  • How can we help develop and better prepare young AAPI leaders for federal internships and careers?
  • What are some avenues to promote federal internship and career opportunities?
  • How can we increase awareness of the importance of AAPIs in the federal government?
  • What are some tips that will make young AAPI leaders stronger candidates on applications?

Read the E3! TOOLKIT – Pathways to Public Service here.
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From family members hoping to reunite with loved ones to high skilled scientists and entrepreneurs to undocumented DREAMers, AAPIs are a rapidly growing immigrant population in the U.S. In 2011, 25% of the foreign born population in the U.S. came from Asian countries. Asian immigrants also make up 11% of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain individuals who came to the United States as children may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, which would defer removal action, and are also eligible for work authorization. According to the latest report released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), South Korea, the Philippines, and India are included in the top 15 countries of origin for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applicants.  However, it is estimated that fewer than 16% of eligible Filipinos and fewer than 9% of eligible Chinese have signed up.  Many factors may contribute to low DACA enrollment rates within the AAPI community specifically, including lack of awareness about the benefits of DACA, cultural and linguistic barriers, as well as the financial burden of applying.

Young leaders are asked to consider the following questions:

  • How can we encourage undocumented AAPIs to enroll in DACA, including by leveraging social media?
  • What are some creative tools we can use to raise awareness around the DACA renewal process?
  • How can we encourage AAPI immigrants to share their stories in order to raise awareness?

Read the E3! TOOLKIT – Immigration here.

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