On October 14, 2009, President Barack Obama signed an executive order, reestablishing EO 13125, Increasing Participation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Federal Programs. The Initiative works to improve the quality of life and opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by facilitating increased access to and participation in federal programs where they remain underserved.
The Initiative seeks to highlight both the tremendous unmet needs in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities as well as the dynamic community assets that can be leveraged to meet many of those needs. The Initiative focuses on crosscutting priority areas that may reach across all issue areas and agencies, including, for example, advancing research, data collection, analysis and dissemination for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and ensuring access, especially linguistic access and cultural competence, for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and encouraging Asian American and Pacific Islander involvement in public service and civic engagement opportunities.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has undertaken significant measures to ensure that AAPIs and other minorities have full access to EPA's programs and services. The EPA’s AAPI Federal Plan sets clear expectations for improving the way the Agency does business in achieving its results in the AAPI communities. The EPA will undertake a number of efforts to broaden the conversation with the AAPI communities. The EPA recently co-hosted a community roundtable discussion with the White House Initiative for AAPI to engage the AAPI community leaders and to identify AAPI environmental challenges. EPA utilizes the multilingual media approaches (documents, person-to-person contact, newspapers and magazines, TV, radio, etc.) to identify ways to communicate its message clearly, especially for communities and individuals with limited English proficiency. The EPA expects to meet the President’s Executive Order to serve to underserved AAPI communities through our strategy and AAPI Federal Plan.
The goals of these projects and initiatives are to:
- Provide AAPI communities with access to environmental information
- Increase AAPI awareness of environmental risks and their adverse health impacts
- Provide training on Superfund and Brownfield programs to educate the AAPI communities
- Build capacity in AAPI communities through partnerships, and financial and/or technical assistance
- Promote opportunities for the participation of AAPI communities and individuals in environmental decision-making
- Create partnerships with AAPI Educational Institutions through MOUs to reach out to AAPI students
- Provide employment, professional development, and career advancement; opportunities for AAPI employees to build a competent workforce
- Forge links among federal, state, and local governments, and leverage their resources to assist AAPI communities adversely affected by environmental factors