APAAC consolidated into the new legislative Commission on Equity & Opportunity

Dear community members, partners, and allies,

With some sadness and much optimism, we would like to inform you all that, effective July 1, 2016, the Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission (APAAC) will no longer exist as a standalone entity. Under Senate Bill 502 (https://www.cga.ct.gov/2016/ACT/pa/2016PA-00003-R00SB-00502SS1-PA.htm), APAAC will be consolidated into the new legislative Commission on Equity and Opportunity (CE&O), which also includes the commissions on Latino and Black American communities.

APAAC staff and commissioners regret the diminished capacity of Connecticut to focus on APA communities, particularly considering their small, but rapidly growing share of the population, and varying needs and concerns among myriad ethnic, cultural, and language groups. However, APAAC staff look forward to our work within the new, broader Commission to support APAs and all people of color in Connecticut.

Although APAAC itself will no longer exist, our dedication to serving APAs and all marginalized peoples in Connecticut persists in the CE&O. We encourage all of our community members, partners, allies, and other stakeholders to remain in touch with APAAC's staff so we may continue our work together as usual.

For further information, please feel free to contact APAAC staff, who now serve under the CE&O:

Mui Mui Hin-McCormick – Special Projects Coordinator, CE&O
(e) mui.mui.hin-mccormick@cga.ct.gov
(p) 860-240-0329

Alok Bhatt – APA Policy Division Analyst, CE&O
(e) alok.bhatt@cga.ct.gov
(p) 840-240-1308

 

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APAAC Executive Director Mui Mui Hin-McCormick moderates panel on the ‘Bamboo Ceiling’

2June2016On Thursday, June 2, APAAC joined the Asian Pacific American Coalition of Connecticut (APAC-CT), South Asian Bar Association of Connecticut (SABAC), Connecticut Asian Pacific American Bar Association (CAPABA), and the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) for an event on Breaking Through the Bamboo Ceiling. The 'Bamboo Ceiling' refers to lack of APAs with leadership positions in the private sector.

APAs, like other minority groups, have minimal representation in managerial and partner positions at firms they do not actually own, despite their level of work and dedication in a particular firm. The model minority myth plays a role in this disparity, as APAs can be perceived as the 'quiet, compliant' workers that gives all and asks for nothing. 

APAAC Executive Director Mui Mui Hin-McCormick, one of few APA employees in leadership positions within the State of Connecticut moderated the panel. Panelists included:

  • Fides Cutiongco, Director of Business Intelligence at SS&C Technologies, based in Windsor, CT. Additionally, Fides co-founded and chairs the Asian Employee Resource Group, which focuses on the advancement of APA professionals while promoting Asian cultures. Fides also participated in Hartford's annual Dragon Boat Race and Asian Festival during her employment at MassMutual. 
     
  • Rick Harvey, Regional Director of Aftermarket Sales in Europe for Pratt & Whitney. Rick began his career with Pratt & Whitney in 2011 as a developing leader. He now oversees Pratt & Whitney's European market for spare parts and maintenance.
     
  • Fred Lee, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut (UConn). Professor Lee's publications and academic interest lie in the intersections of political theory and racial/ethnic identity in the United States. Professor Lee spoke about the historical treatment of Asian populations in the United States, such as the Yellow Peril which propagated that East Asian immigrants would steal American jobs and defile the national fabric. He also considers APAs an invisible minority in the contemporary racial discourse. 
     
  • Asker Saeed, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Day Pitney, LLP. Asker received recognition from the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity for his initiatives in promoting diversity in the legal field. 

APAAC appreciates the great work of the panelists in promoting APA advancement and broader inclusion in the workplace. Community members in positions of influence ought to help balance the representation of APAs and other ethnic minorities in all sectors of employment. We look forward to the continued efforts of our APA leaders in Connecticut, as well as the development of future leaders with new ideas. 

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APAAC & USPAACC-NE hold 2nd APA Business Recognition & Celebration

 APA Business Event 26May2016 5On Thursday, May 26, APAAC partnered with the US Pan Asian Chamber of Commerce to present the 2nd Asian Pacific American Small Business Recognition & Celebration event. The program gathered community members and representatives from different agencies that assist small and minority-owned businesses advance.

APAAC Executive Director Mui Mui Hin-McCormick introduced the program, while APAAC Commissioner and USPAACC member Ted Hsu introduced this year's awardees.

State Representative Prasad Srinivasan (R-31[Glastonbury]), one of three APA legislators in the Connecticut General Assembly, presented a legislative proclamation honoring APA Small Business Recognition & Celebration Day. Ron Uba of the Minority Business Development Agency read a proclamation from President Barack Obama recognizing the richness of APA history, and the collective contribution of APA communities to the United States.

According to US Census data, over 13,000 APA-owned businesses operate in Connecticut. In 2013, APA-owned businesses had sales and receipts totaling over $3.3 billion, and employed over 18,000 people. We hope to see diverse APAs enterprising and gaining greater access to resources that enable economic development and advancement.

APAAC greatly appreciates all participants and attendees of APA Small Business Recognition & Celebration. We hope to continue this initiative to help connect APA business-owners to one another, as well as aspiring entrepreneurs from the community.

 

 

 

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APAAC & USPAACC present the 2nd APA Small Business Recognition & Celebration Event TOMORROW!

Please join the Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission & US Pan Asian Chamber of Commerce for the APA Small Business Recognition & Celebration! We will highlight local APA entrepreneurs, as well as provide important information and resources to enterprising community members. Register here!

uspaac20162

2016 APA Business
Recognition & Celebration
Procurement Opportunities for APA firms with
Corporate & Government Members

When:
Thursday, May 26th
12:00 – 3:30pm

Where:
Connecticut State Capitol Building
Old Judiciary, Room 310
Hartford, CT

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APAC-CT & APAAC hold APAC-CT’s 9th Annual Gala

apacgala16On Saturday, May 14, the Asian Pacific American Coalition of Connecticut (APAC-CT) and the Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission (APAAC) put on APAC-Ct's 9th Annual Gala. APAC-CT, a nonprofit organized to address the concerns of Connecticut's APA residents, holds this gala each year to celebrate Asian Pacific Americans and recognize local APAs who have made strong contributions to the community and society. 

The 9th gala featured addresses from honorees, musical performances. APAC-CT volunteers Sounthaly Thammavong and Miriam Yeung emceed the event. 

To begin the evening's festivities, APAC-CT Events Committee Chair Loan Nguyen introduced Ribbon Dance and Song Ensemble performed by the Kang Hua Singers of Greater Hartford and Dream Performing Arts.

Joy Lu and the Chinese Music Ensemble also performed a number of traditional musical pieces.

Dr. Cathy Schlund-Vials, Director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute at the University Connecticut, received a Higher Education award from APAC-CT. She delivered an address focused on the treatment of APAs in United States history. She deconstructed the notions of 'model minority', a narrative produced by popular media to conceal the injustices and prejudices in our systems and society, and 'the perpetual foreigner', a narrative that excludes APAs from the American identity, and how they continue to impact APA communities.  

Baritone performer Chai-Lun Yueh, professor of Vocal Performances at Trinity College and Wesleyan University, received APAC-CT's Music & Music Education Award. Yeuh also delivered a keynote address 

The program proper ended with musical pieces from Dream Performing Arts.

APAAC expressed great gratitude to APAC-CT for their commitment to APA communities in Connecticut, and their constant partnership with APAAC. Many thanks to all performers and attendees, and congratulations to Chai-Lun Yeuh and Dr. Cathy Schlund-Vials for their excellent accomplishments! We look forward to seeing many of you at next year's gala. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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APAAC Executive Director joins APA community members on WNPR’s ‘Where We Live’

13237649_10101042814024141_2191133318275716080_nOn Tuesday, May 17, WPNR's "Where We Live" featured a discussion on "..Race, Politics, and Stereotyping" in the APA community. The program featured  APAAC Executive Director Mui Mui Hin-McCormick, a Chinese Lao American, joined Quyen Truong, Vietnamese American Hartford resident and Evaluation Coordinator at the North Central Regional Mental Health Board, as well as Sonny Chen, Chinese American resident of West Hartford and owner of Black Bamboo restaurant.

"Where We Live" host Lucy Nalpathanchil, herself Indian American, asked participants to address topics such as migration experiences, living an 'American' life in an Asian/Pacific Islander cultural context, and portrays of Asian Pacific Americans (APA) in media. 

APAAC Executive Director Mui Mui Hin-McCormick highlighted some of APAAC's work for APA communities in Connecticut, such as language access initiatives, community engagement, and policy advocacy. She also shared how her ethnically Chinese family came to the United States as  refugees in Laos, through sponsorship from a church in Wallingford. Hin-McCormick also noted the additional difficulties refugees, having no choice to leave their home lands and often afflicted with intergenerational trauma, face adapting to life in the United States. 

Quyen Truong mentioned her own experience growing up in West Hartford in the1990's, before the APA population in Connecticut and nationally began to grow significantly. She noted ethnic isolation and visible 'otherness', feeling as though she knew all the few APA students in her school, unable to understand at such a young age how to reconcile a 'different' appearance with Western perceptions of 'normal' or 'acceptable'. She mentioned, however, that the West Hartford School District provided great support and ran an excellent English as a Secod Language (ESL) program to help Quyen learn English and overcome language barriers. 

Sonny Chen, who resided in Hartford prior to living in West Hartford, spoke to his parents' desire to live in the United States for better life opportunities. However, he mentioned feeling a lack of outreach or active support from services and and other systems in the receiving community. He and Quyen both discussed how family support enabled them to navigate daily life in a new land. Chen also shared how he was bullied as a youth for his appearance and language, and how now his own nephew's football coach refers to his nephew as 'China-man', a racist and xenophobic term.

Addressing the model minority myth, Hin-McCormick expressed how the perception of APAs as homogenous, categorically successful, and without significant disparities, deters extensive outreach or investment into these communities.

Hin-McCormick, Truong, and Chen all agreed that Connecticut presents lacks in resources to assist and advance APA communities. Language and culture barriers persist in education, health, housing, and other important areas.  

Jeff Yang, Chinese American author, also participated on the program to discuss media portrayals of APA communities. He noted that television has progressed in its representation of APAs because of the number of mediums available for interesting, higher-quality programming. The film industry, however, continues in its failure to cast APA performers even for Asian-based roles, citing a lack of 'stars' to succeed in the box office. 

APAAC thanks WNPR, as well as all participants and callers who helped initiate a necessary conversation on APAs in the United States. We hope to extend these conversations and continue to highlight the diversity and disparities in our APA communities.  

 

 

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