Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), we come from diverse backgrounds. We trace our ancestry to dozens of countries, each with their own unique cultures and languages. As AAPIs in the United States, our diversity has no equal in the world, and as the fastest growing population in the United States, we are integrated in all aspects of American life. As an economic driver, there are more than 1.9 million AAPI-owned businesses that generate over $700 billion annually and create 3.6 million jobs in the United States, according to the Minority Business Development Agency at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
With our unique cultures and differences, we also have diverse needs in education, health, immigration, housing, employment, and other issues that require culturally and linguistically appropriate services from the federal government.
The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders’ (Initiative) Regional Network (RN) was established to help facilitate direct engagement efforts between the federal government and the AAPI community. The federal government is a complex entity, with 15 executive departments and over 400 agencies and sub-agencies, and can be difficult to navigate. According to the Initiative’s executive director, Holly Ham, “The RN is key to the work at the Initiative due to each region’s unique AAPI needs. They have the pulse of the communities and know how best to engage locally. We congratulate the Regional Network leads and look forward to engaging with co-chairs Paul Chang and Ben Raju as well as all the leads.”
As co-chair of the RN, I am committed to help make government accessible to all. The RN consists of over 300 members, located in all 10 federal regions. It facilitates the exchange of information across the country and helps to coordinate community engagement efforts. It also promotes collaboration with the Initiative’s Interagency Working Group and federal agencies to incorporate community recommendations into each agency’s strategic plan.
The RN regions are below, and I am pleased to announce the regional leaders here.
Region I — New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont)
Region II — Northeast (New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands)
Region III — Mid-Atlantic (Delaware; Washington, D.C.; Maryland; Pennsylvania; Virginia; and West Virginia)
Region IV — Southeast (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee)
Region V — Great Lakes (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin)
Region VI — Southcentral (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas)
Region VII — Midwest (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska)
Region VIII — Rocky Mountain (Colorado, Utah, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming)
Region IX — West (California, Hawaii and the Pacific: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the Pacific Islands)
Region X — Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington)
Paul Chang is co-chair of the Regional Network of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.