PRESIDENT Donald Trump on Monday, May 13 signed an executive order to advance the “economic empowerment” of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).
The order, which comes during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, is intended “to empower Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to improve the quality of their lives, raise the standard of living of their families and communities, and more fully participate in our economy,” the White House announced.
It re-establishes the president’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs and the White House Initiative on AAPIs, which work to “broaden access by AAPI employers and communities to economic resources and opportunities” and collect data for AAPI populations through all agencies of the federal government.
The president’s signing in the Oval Office was witnessed by members of the Advisory Commission, including its co-chairs Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and its commissioners, who include two Filipino Americans: Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and Herman Martir, a pastor from Fort Worth, Texas.
Reyes, whose father is of Filipino and Spanish descent, has been attorney general of his state since 2013 — during which he became the first ethnic minority to hold that position or any statewide office in Utah. Martir, a pastor at Nations Worship Center, is the president of the Asian Action Network and the Asian Prayer Network and founder of Emerging Leaders International. Both Martir and Reyes were part of Trump’s AAPI advisory committee during his 2016 presidential campaign.
Other commissioners present on Monday were Amata Coleman Radewagen, Delegate for the U.S. House of Representatives, American Samoa; Dr. Paul Hsu of Florida; David B. Cohen of California; Y. Lee of Michigan; George Leing of Colorado; Jan-Ie Low of Nevada; Prem Parameswaran of New York; and Chiling Tong of Maryland. The commissioners were appointed by Trump in January.
The first White House Initiative on AAPIs was established through an executive order by former President Bill Clinton in 1999 and subsequently renewed by former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
AAPIs, which are considered the fastest-growing racial group in the U.S., account for more than 6 percent of the country’s population. (AJPress)