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Pinoy Abroad

Biden appoints 3 Fil-Ams to fight racism among Asian-Americans, Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders

Three Filipino-Americans were appointed by United States President Joe Biden to be commissioners of his advisory commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.

According to a statement released by the White House, the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders will advise the president on how the public, private, and non-profit sectors can work together to empower equity and opportunity for every Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and the Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community in the US.

Among those appointed was Dr. Amefil "Amy" Agbayani, an Emeritus Assistant Vice Chancellor for student diversity and equity at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

Born in the Philippines, the White House said Agbayani served as chairperson of the Hawai’i Civil Rights Commission and conducted research on AANHPI in higher education. She was also a member of the Patsy T.Mink PAC and The Legal Clinic for immigrant justice Hawai’i.

Another appointee, Teresita Batayola, is the president and chief executive officer of International Community Health Services, Washington state’s largest Asian and Pacific Islander non-profit health center.

This non-profit health center provides comprehensive health care to all those who need affordable care, especially immigrants and refugees, the White House said.

Batayola, an advocate for health care access and equity, was recognized in the Puget Sound Business Journal’s Award for Outstanding Business & Philanthropic Contributions, Woman of Courage Undaunted from the University of Washington Women’s Center, and the Filipino Women’s Network’s Most Influential Filipino Woman in the World.

On the other hand, Luisa Blue continues to be active in the community and serves on the Asian Health Services Community Board, a Trustee on Alameda County Health Systems Board of Trustees, and vice president of the AAPI Victory Alliance Board.

In August 2020, she retired from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) after serving as an executive vice president for four years, one of the highest ranking AAPI officials in the labor movement.

Blue, a grandmother for seven kids, was the one responsible for the SEIU Asian Pacific Islanders Civic Engagement and Leadership program. She was also a member of the Racial Justice Task Force, chairperson of the Environmental and Climate Justice Committee, and chairwoman of the Ethical Culture Committee.

Biden's Advisory Commission is in charged with giving him advice in crafting  policies to address anti-Asian xenophobia and violence, some ways to build capacity in AANHPI communities through federal grantmaking, and policies to address the intersectional barriers that AANHPI women, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities encounter.

The said Commission will include civic leaders from across the country and will reflect the rich diversity of AANHPI communities in the United States. — RSJ, GMA News