For Immediate Release
June 11, 2012
Press contact: Deborah Wang; (330) 645-6253; firstname.lastname@example.org
Ohio’s Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders Gather at Statehouse for 3rd Consecutive Year
COLUMBUS – Nearly 300 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) from across the state convened at the Ohio Statehouse to meet their legislators and discuss issues of concern to the AAPI community at the third annual Ohio AAPI Legislative Day on June 5.
Legislative Day once again showcased the enormous diversity of the Ohio AAPI population. Participants included Legislative Day regulars and first-time attendees; retirees and high school students; and Americans of Korean, Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Laotian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Sri Lankan, Taiwanese, Thai, Filipino, Hmong, and Bhutanese descent. Attendees came to bring issues of major concern to the attention of their legislators, learn from other AAPIs from across Ohio, and tour the Statehouse.
Jai Chabria, Senior Advisor to Governor John Kasich, welcomed attendees and shared his own experience of growing up as a first-generation Indian American. Born in the United States to parents who emigrated in 1975, Mr. Chabria posed the question that all immigrants face: “How much do we melt into the melting pot?” and emphasized the importance of his daughter staying connected to her family’s Indian roots and values. Mr. Chabria, who began his political career at the grassroots level, also encouraged participants to advocate for their communities and “bother [their] legislators” as much as possible.
In his keynote address, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Director Michael Colbert spoke of his department’s work to connect employers to workers with the right skills, including the major OhioMeansJobs initiative, a website and mobile application powered by a partnership between ODJFS and online job database Monster. Job-seekers can use OhioMeansJobs to upload resumes and search for positions throughout the state, while Ohio employers can use the site to find qualified individuals for job openings.
Ohio Senator Charleta Tavares (D-15) exhorted attendees to be advocates for their people “twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week,” underscoring the fact that minorities would be the majority in the U.S. by 2050. Sen. Tavares also sat on the morning’s legislative panel, which included Representative Jay P. Goyal (D-73) and Rep. Cliff Rosenberger (R-86), Ohio’s only AAPI legislators. Representatives Michael Stinziano (D-25), Roland Winburn (D-40), and Tracy Maxwell Heard (D-26) also joined the panel. Attendees had the opportunity to pose questions and community concerns to the panel.
Following the panel, participants chose among five breakout sessions presented and moderated by professors, physicians, government workers, and entrepreneurs from the AAPI community. The sessions, which were a new feature to the Legislative Day agenda, focused on Health, Economic Development, Education, Civil Rights, and Youth Engagement. Attendees ended the day with regional legislative office visits to the legislators representing their districts.
Ohio AAPI Legislative Day was organized by the Ohio Asian American Health Coalition (OAAHC), which brought together groups from Akron, Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati. OAAHC (EIN# 20-5252658) is accepting donations to the 4th Ohio AAPI Legislative Day in 2013. All donations will go towards the cost of bus transportation, lunch for participants, interpretation services, and other direct expenses. Supporters can mail a check payable to OAAHC, memo ‘civic engagement’, to:
Ohio Asian American Health Coalition
660 Ackerman Road
P.O. Box 183108
Columbus, OH 43202
AAPIs make up nearly 2 percent of Ohio’s population, according to the latest U.S. Census data. AAPIs are the fastest-growing minority in Ohio, with a population increase of 46% over the past decade.
Ohio AAPI Legislative Day 2012 was organized by the Ohio Asian American Health Coalition, formed in 2000 around AAPI health issues.