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Kahele Statement on White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders

May 28, 2021

HILO, HI — Today, Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele issued the following statement on President Biden’s Executive Order establishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.

I applaud the President’s action to reinstate and empower the White House Initiative that will advance equity, justice and opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities,” said Congressman Kahele. “As the second Native Hawaiian Member of Congress to represent the State of Hawai‘i since statehood, and the Freshman Representative to the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), I know that representation matters. The President’s reestablishment of this Initiative is both personal and timely. Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders continue to make significant contributions to our country but have been disproportionately affected by the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Further, I commend the White House and congratulate Krystal Ka‘ai on her selection as the Executive Director of the Initiative. For nearly eight years, Krystal has been a tireless advocate for the AA and NHPI communities as the Executive Director of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC).  A graduate of the Kamehameha Schools Kapālama, Krystal is the first Native Hawaiian to ever hold this leadership position, and she has brought the aloha spirit to her work and forged strong alliances for the betterment of our diverse AA and NHPI communities. Krystal’s appointment is historic and she will give a strong voice and representation to Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders at a pivotal moment for our country.”

Last week, Congressman Kahele joined President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Congressional leadership and colleagues at the White House for the signing ceremony of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. The Biden-Harris Administration has taken many steps to support the Asian American and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander communities, including signing a Presidential Memorandum condemning and combating racism, xenophobia, and intolerance against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States, recognizing Native Hawaiians in official proclamations about AANHPI Heritage Month, and appointing a White House Senior Liaison to Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.

The White House Fact Sheet about the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders is here.

See photos below from Congressman Kahele’s visit to the White House for the signing of the ceremony of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act:

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May 20, 2021- Congressman Kahele with President Biden, Congressional leadership and colleagues at the White House for the signing ceremony of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. L-R: Senator Tammy Duckworth; Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL); CAPAC Chairwoman Judy Chu (D-CA); Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA); Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA); President Biden; Rep. Kaialiʻi Kahele (D-HI); Senator Maize Hirono (D-HI); Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY)
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May 20, 2021- Congressman Kahele with Krystal Kaʻai, the new Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, at the White House for the signing ceremony of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act.

 

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