October 15, 2009

Yesterday at a White House ceremony, President Barack Obama signed an executive order re-establishing an advisory commission “to improve the quality of life of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through increased participation in Federal programs where they may be underserved (e.g., health, human services, education, housing, labor, transportation, and economic and community development).”

The AAPI initiative was begun under the Clinton administration but expired during the Bush administration. You can read the president’s signing remarks and view a video of the ceremony. (photo: Press Trust of India)

During the signing ceremony, Obama recognized Nisei vets in the audience. He rejected the “model minority” myth and pointed out the wide diversity of the AAPI community. In a nice show of cultural diversity, he then lit a diya lamp to observe Diwali, the ”Festival of Lights” celebrated across faiths in India. This is a first.