The following Executive Director’s report was submitted to the Commission at its June 17, 2017, board meeting at Olympic College in Bremerton. The report covers a time period from March 19 to June 16, 2017. View in PDF format.


  • Budget: The Commission is operating within its current fiscal year budget of $231,000. The projected ending balance on June 30, 2017, is $600. The non-state allocation amount is $16,458, which reflects a $1,448 reduction for the May 6 special meeting.
  • 2017-19 Budget: The Governor called a second special session to provide more time for the Legislature to approve the state budget. The Commission is anticipating the final budget will include its funding request to conduct an AAPI needs assessment and expanded statewide outreach. In addition, funds are included to move the Commission to the Capitol Court building.
  • Opportunities: The Commission is seeking applicants for Project Coordinator by June 19 and for the Ruth Woo Fellowship in the Governor’s Office by June 30.
  • Commissioners: Commissioner Zer Vue will be completing her term with CAPAA on June 30, 2017. The Commission is appreciative of Commissioner Vue’s service and efforts to represent Hmong Americans at the state level as well as other Southeast Asian American communities.
  • Board Meetings: The Commission will convene on September 16 and November 18 for the remainder of 2017. The locations for each will be announced soon.
  • Placemaking Workshop: The state ethnic Commissions will co-host a workshop at Tukwila Community Center on Saturday, July 22 from 1:00-3:00 PM to inform communities about funding opportunities for placemaking and community building.
  • Legislative Session Report-back: The Commission and the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition are planning a legislative session report back event.


The Commission advises and coordinates with policy- and decision-makers in government and community-based organizations to achieve its 2015-18 Strategic Plan. Activities include examining and defining issues, informing and empowering stakeholders, and formulating and advocating solutions.

Education: Close the educational opportunity gaps that impact Asian Pacific American students.

  • AAPI Data Disaggregation Project Advisory Committee: The federally-funded program will utilize disaggregated data to examine and define the AAPI opportunity gaps and the development of strategies to close those gaps in the Federal Way, Spokane and Evergreen school districts. The committee met on March 20 and June 1 to review data from the three districts and set baseline objectives to report to the US Department of Education. The next meeting is Oct. 26.
  • Department of Early Learning & Denise Louie Education Center: Staff met with Frank Ordway, DEL’s Assistant Director of Government and Community Relations, to discuss the work of the Early Learning Advisory Committee. Legislation signed by the Governor that will take effect in July will enable CAPAA to appoint a member to the ELAC. Staff met with Susan Yang, Executive Director of Denise Louie Education Center, to discuss the opportunity. Director Yang agreed to serve to advocate for the needs of AAPI preschool-aged children.
  • Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee: On May 16, members heard presentations from the UW College of Education on teacher preparation. Frieda Takamura and Mele Aho represented CAPAA at the meeting. The next meeting is June 20 in Olympia.
  • Educator Workforce Development Workgroup: Commissioner Guerrero represents CAPAA on this workgroup to recruit, retain, and diversify Washington’s educator workforce. The workgroup met on May 10 to review and discuss Vacancy Data and Policy Considerations.
  • Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction: Pacific Islander students in Washington have the second highest rate of chronic absenteeism. Staff met with OSPI to discuss strategies to address this issue and improve school attendance.
  • Puget Sound Educational Service District: Initial planning is underway to conduct a training in the fall on anti-bullying and anti-racism for educators and administrators. Staff connected community-based organizations to this effort who will provide trainings to increase cultural understanding.
  • Race and Ethnicity Student Data Task Force: Staff attended the last RESD Task Force meeting on June 7 to discuss recommendations for collecting and reporting student race and ethnicity data in K-12 education. The final guide and report will be distributed to the public on June 30.
  • Seattle Central College: Southeast Asian American community leaders participated in a discussion with college leaders, including President Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange, about how to improve retention and support for students. A student panel highlighted the need for diverse staff, programs like TRIO, and student associations.

Health & Human Services: Identify health disparity issues specific to the Asian Pacific American community and support identification and promotion of solutions.

  • Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention: On April 11, members received a presentation from Centerstone, which is involved with the Zero Suicide in Health and Behavioral Health Care initiative, and information on the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 basic screening tool for patient suicide risk. The Commission inquired about whether the screening tool was tested among communities of color. The next meeting is June 21.
  • Asian Pacific Islanders Advocating Together for Healthy Communities: Staff attended a meeting on April 26 to learn about health issues impacting Asian and Pacific Islander communities and to provide a legislative update. The next meeting is on June 28 at Woodmont Library.
  • Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities: Commissioner Wada is CAPAA’s representative on the Council. The council met on May 10 in Yakima to hear from Greater Columbia Accountable Community of Health.
  • Health Equity for COFA communities:
    • Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos’ legislation, SHB 1291, to improve health equity for COFA migrants passed the House 51-47. However, the bill did not receive a vote in the Senate and is unlikely to pass this session.
    • Staff met with Public Health Seattle King County to discuss strategies for outreach and engagement with Compact of Free Association communities in King County.
  • Interagency Work Group on Youth Homelessness: Commissioner Nam Nguyen represents CAPAA on the work group. The first convening occurred May 30 to discuss its purpose, learn about current state programs, and review data. The next meeting is June 20. As a participant, the Commission will be working to identify disparities and promote strategies to address AAPI youth homelessness.
  • Mental Health Awareness Month: The Commission is tentatively working to schedule a community conversation with the Pacific Islander Health Board in Pierce County in July.

Economic Development: Support Asian Pacific American business owners and those seeking to start and maintain a business with the knowledge, tools, and resources required to be successful.

  • Business Diversity Subcabinet: A Disparity Study Launch event was held on June 7 at South Seattle College’s campus in Georgetown. Community members heard an overview of the methodology and talk with Colette Holt, who is leading the study.
  • Department of Commerce – Minority Business Roundtable: Chair Tufono, Director Itti, Sheila Burrus, Chewon Lee, and Lawrence Pang represent the Commission. The Roundtable convened by conference call on June 16 to debrief on the recent Small Business Financing Workshops and review ADO reporting data.
  • Results Washington – Prosperous Economy Goal Council: At the May 8 meeting, members received an update about the state’s progress to increase state agency and educational institution utilization of state-certified small businesses. State agency spending with minority-owned certified firms in fiscal year 2016 reached 2.45 percent, which is far below the goal of 10 percent by 2017. At the June 12 meeting, a small business owner discussed the benefit of enrolling in the Economic Gardening program, which is being promoted by the Department of Commerce. The Commission recommended that other state agencies that interact with small businesses should cross-promote the program.
  • State Board of Health & Department of Health: Senate Bill 6398, sponsored by Sen. Hasegawa, was signed into law last year to direct the State Board of Health to consider scientific data regarding time-temperature safety standards for Asian rice-based noodles and Korean rice cakes. Changes in the standard would benefit manufacturers and sellers of the products, which are currently subject to citations and/or fines, although these products traditionally are not refrigerated. The Commission is working to promote an equitable solution that balances cultural practices and food safety.


The Commission meets with community leaders, community-based organizations, and coalitions to hear about issues and concerns and promote solutions. When necessary, casework and policy issues are brought to the attention of the Governor’s Office, federal agencies, state agencies, legislative members, and municipalities.

  • Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation: Staff met with Board Chair Randon Aea to discuss efforts to support mentorship and leadership development among AAPI emerging leaders.
  • Asian Pacific Directors Coalition: At the April 12 meeting, members heard from the new outreach staff at Seattle Police Department who will support efforts to respond to public safety concerns in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District. At the June 14 meeting, the discussion focused on APDC’s strategic direction.
  • Asian Pacific Islander Coalition: At the April 21 meeting, attendees discussed the Hate Crime Info Session on May 10 at ACRS and learned about the King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight.
  • Equity in Education Coalition: The EEC is celebrating its 5th year anniversary on August 18 at Tukwila Community Center. Renewed efforts are underway to engage communities of color in education policymaking from early learning to higher education.
  • India Association of Western Washington: In response to increased hate crimes and incidents, IAWW hosted a Hate Crimes Info Session in Bellevue. A packed room of concerned community members heard from federal, state and local officials about how to respond and protect themselves. The Governor’s office is aware of concerns related to increased hate crimes/incidents and has issued strong statements, including Executive Order 17-01: Reaffirming Washington’s Commitment to Tolerance, Diversity, and Inclusiveness.
  • Children’s Alliance: Staff provided feedback on the upcoming 2017 Kids Count report, which utilizes data to show how kids are doing in Washington State. Feedback included information on datasets that collect AAPI disaggregated data and areas where disparities may occur.
  • Pacific Islander’s Health Board: On May 25, a Know Your Rights Training was held to educate board and community members about immigration issues.
  • Community Events: Staff attended numerous community events to connect with constituents and learn about community issues and concerns. Events included the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial 75th Commemoration Ceremony, 28th National Annual Convention of the Society of Chinese-American Aerospace Engineers, Seattle JACL’s 95th Annual Banquet, Lao New Year Celebration & Cultural Show, Seattle Colleges 50th anniversary dinner, Asian Hall of Fame Exhibit Opening, APA Heritage Month Celebration, Council on American-Islamic Relations Banquet, Community Information Forum on Hate Crimes, Filipino Veteran Memorial Tribute Dinner, Chinese Information and Service Center 45th Annual Dinner, Leadership Speaker Series: Dr. Kanoe Nāone, Green River College PISU’s Pacific Cultural Showcase, Decolonizing Nutrition & Fitness with Dr. Ka`imi Sinclair, Health Equity Summit 2017, and Pasifik Graduation at the University of Washington.


The Commission maintains relationships with state agencies and also local and federal governments to learn about programs and services that may impact AAPIs. The Commission advises and makes recommendations to government agencies on the development and implementation of policies, plans, and programs to support the unique needs of AAPI communities.

  • Department of Commerce: The agency held Small Business Financing Workshops in conjunction with the US Treasury on May 3 in Kennewick and May 4 in Tukwila to inform stakeholders about small business assistance programs and hear feedback from the community.
  • Emergency Management Department: The Whole Community Subcommittee convened on May 9 for a brainstorm session to set goals and objectives for 2017-18.
  • Employee Resource Group for Immigrant State Workers: Chief Administrative Law Judge Lorraine Lee is convening an effort to promote cultural awareness and promote Washington State as an employer of choice. Commissioner Nam Nguyen represents CAPAA in this effort.
  • Governor’s Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance: Staff met with ORIA’s new director Aaron Everett to discuss how the agencies could work together and support mutual objectives.
  • Governor’s Office: Directors from the state ethnic commissions met with the Governor’s Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff to update them on outcomes during the legislative session, commission activities, and future needs.
  • State Board of Health: The board has rulemaking authority in many areas pertaining to health and environmental health. Members of the public may petition the board to adopt, repeal, or amend a rule within its authority. The board is currently working on the notifiable conditions rule and encourages public feedback about proposed changes.