On the morning of May 19, I visited the India House in Houston, Texas, a nonprofit organization with a mission to unite cultures, create bridges and serve the community by bringing resources, education, services and Indian culture to Houstonians. Retired Colonel Vipin Kumar, India House’s executive director, along with trustees and members of the executive committee, provided a tour of the facilities. India House provides a range of free or low-cost services to the community, including health care, legal assistance, a camp for urban youth, Hindi language classes, arts and dance courses, and technology for seniors. It was a Saturday morning and India House was buzzing with youth attending a leadership workshop, a yoga class and a community event in various parts of the sprawling facility.
Then, on May 21, I had the pleasure of returning to a school campus — this time it was Houston Community College (HCC) — to visit with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students, campus leaders, staff and faculty. Asians make up 15 percent of the student population at HCC, with the largest contingent of international students hailing from Vietnam. Chancellor Cesar Maldonado talked about the benefits of being in a vibrant city that embraces the students that graduate from HCC eager and ready for the real world. Board of trustees member Neeta Sane highlighted HCC-ASPIRE (Asian Scholarship Program Inspiring Results and Excellence) for supporting educational enrichment for AAPI students. Associate vice chancellor of communications and marketing, Linda Toyota, encouraged AAPI students to engage, share and learn from one another — and take advantage of the opportunities that our communities present. HCC captured my visit here.
Following the HCC meeting, I visited the Ibn Sina Foundation and two of its health care facilities in southwest Houston. The foundation was established in 2001 by a group of local physicians, businesses and health care professionals to provide medical services to a rapidly expanding population of underserved families. The Ibn Sina Foundation has grown to comprise six facilities across the greater Houston area, including a brand new dental center, medical center, children’s clinic, community clinic, and clinics for diagnostic and imaging specialized services. I toured the headquarter facility at the Wilcrest Community Medical Center and the Wilcrest Children’s Clinic with CEO Dr. Hina Azam, and met with the medical and administrative staff. The Ibn Sina Foundation expects to serve more than 80,000 patients in 2018.
Holly Ham is the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.