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Mar 27th
Home Sections NaFFAAgate Two Fil-Am Community Leaders Appointed by President Obama to Asian-Advisory Commission
Two Fil-Am Community Leaders Appointed by President Obama to Asian-Advisory Commission PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 19 September 2010 12:54



(Journal Group Link International)


Two Filipino-American Community Leaders Appointed by President Obama to Asian-Advisory Commission


C HICAGO (jGLi) – The National Federation of Filipino American Associations is patting itself on its back when two of its own -- a current officer and a founding member – was appointed Friday (Sept. 17) by President Barack Obama members of the 17-person Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.


They will be sworn in on Tuesday (Sept. 21) at the U.S. Capitol.


The Commission will work to improve the quality of life and opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through increased access to, and participation in, Federal programs in which they may be underserved, by providing advice to President Obama and the co-chairs of the White House Initiative, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.


The two Filipino Americans appointed to the commission were Rozita Villanueva Lee, incumbent national vice chair of NaFFAA, and Hector Vargas, a founding member of NaFFAA and executive director, Gay & Lesbian Medical Association.


Editor’s Note: A protest against the appointment of Ms. Rozita Lee has been submitted to The White House, as per this article written by Romeo P. Marquez, Protest Sent to The White House Over the Appointment of NaFFAA’s Rozita Lee to the President's Advisory Commission


“We applaud President Obama’s appointees to the Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” says NaFFAA National Chair Greg Macabenta. “These are distinguished and highly-respected leaders of the AAPI community who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the White House initiative’s goal of improving the lives of underserved Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.


“We are especially delighted that two Filipino American leaders have been appointed to serve in these very important administration posts. Rozita Villanueva Lee, currently national vice chair of NaFFAA, has been a dedicated community activist for many years.


“Through her leadership of FilVote, she has been instrumental in bringing thousands of Filipino Americans to register and participate in this country’s political process. With energy and enthusiasm, she has drawn upon her coalition building and networking skills to help move our community’s empowerment goals forward.


“A passionate advocate for civil rights, Rozita’s active engagement in grassroots organizing inspired our collective efforts to finally win official recognition of Filipino World War II veterans as U.S. veterans.”

Macabenta described Vargas as NaFFAA’s founding member in 1997 and was active in subsequent national conferences. Hector worked diligently with community leaders to ensure that NaFFAA would be inclusive of the needs of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community members.


“We are extremely proud of Rozita Villanueva Lee and Hector Vargas. We know that they will be strong voices and a dynamic presence in this commission,” Macabenta added.


A lso to be sworn in is Kiran Ahuja, director, White House Initiative on AAPIs.


The other members of the commission are Daphne Kwok, chair of the commission; Hines Ward, professional football player, Pittsburgh Steelers; Sefa Aina, director of Pomona College Asian American Resource Center; Amardeep Singh, co-founder, the Sikh Coalition; Debra T. Cabrera, faculty member of St. John’s School; Kamuela J. N. Enos, community resource development director, MA’O Organic Farms; Frances Eneski Francis, partner, Spiegel & McDiarmid LLP; Farooq Kathwari, chairman and CEO, Ethan Allen Interiors; Hyeok Kim, executive director, InterIm Community Development Association; Ramey Ko, associate judge, City of Austin Municipal Court; Sunil Puri, president, First Rockford Group, Inc.; Unmi Song, executive director, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; Dilawar A. Syed, president and CEO, Yonja Media Group; Kampha Thephayong, physician, Veterans Affairs Hospital, Fresno, Calif.; and Dona Thor, executive director of Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. # # #


Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at:  (


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Last Updated on Sunday, 19 September 2010 12:56

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