The following Executive Director’s report was submitted to the Commission at its September 16, 2017, board meeting at Valley View Library in SeaTac. The report covers a time period from June 17 to September 15, 2017. View in PDF Format.


  • Budget: The Commission is operating within its new fiscal year budget of $253,000, which reflects an increase approved by the Legislature. The ending balance on June 30, 2017 for fiscal year 2017 was $638. Other fund sources total $15,728, which reflects a $500 reduction for the Ke Kukui Foundation.
  • 2017-19 Budget: The 2017 3rd Special Session adjourned sine die on July 20, 2017. The Governor signed a budget on June 30 that included a $50,000 increase over two years for the Commission to conduct an AAPI needs assessment and expanded statewide outreach. In addition, funds are included to move the Commission to the Capitol Court building.
  • Commissioners: Commissioner Darren Pen completed his term on June 30, 2017. Governor Inslee reappointed Vice Chair Lisa Dickinson and Commissioner Mohan Gurung and appointed Donny Rojo and Ekkarath Sisavatdy to CAPAA beginning July 1. The Commission is appreciative of Darren Pen for his service to our communities.
  • New Staff:
    • Sam Le joins CAPAA as its new Project Coordinator. Le recently graduated from the University of Washington and has been an active member in the greater Seattle area through various activities, such as UW’s student government and the Asian Counseling and Referral Service’s Walk for Rice.
    • Brianne Ramos departed the Commission in August. During her more than two years of service, Brianne was instrumental in advocating for data disaggregation on the Healthy Youth Survey and OSPI Race and Ethnicity Student Data Task Force; supporting efforts to improve health equity for Pacific Islanders; and promoting linguistically and culturally appropriate strategies to close opportunity gaps and address health disparities. The Commission wishes her all the best in her future endeavors.
  • Ruth Woo Fellowship: Reyleen Gogo has been selected as the first Ruth Woo Fellow. She will be working in the Governor’s Boards and Commissions Office during her fall academic quarter.
  • Placemaking Workshop: The state ethnic Commissions co-hosted a workshop at Tukwila Community Center on July 22 to inform communities about funding opportunities for placemaking and community building. About 20 community members attended.
  • Task Force on the Use of Body Worn Cameras: The next meeting is scheduled for September 19. Joanne Alcantara and Sokha Danh were appointed by the Commission to voice API perspectives.
  • Board Meetings: The Commission will convene on November 18 for its last meeting of 2017. Visit our website for additional information.


The Commission advises and collaborates 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.

  • Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction: Commissioner Finau and staff provided feedback on a draft report about parent perspectives & school discipline and expressed concern that API voices were not reflected in the focus groups and that intentional outreach be conducted for future work.
  • Educator Workforce Development Workgroup: Commissioner Guerrero represents CAPAA on this workgroup to recruit, retain, and diversify Washington’s educator workforce. The workgroup met on August 16 to review and discuss its purpose and legislative priorities.
  • Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee: The EOGOAC met throughout the summer to review and/or address cultural competency training, discipline training, Every Student Succeeds Act, and community truancy board development. Frieda Takamura and Sili Savusa are CAPAA’s lead representatives. The next meeting is September 19 in Renton.
  • Early Learning Advisory Council:
    • Susan Yang, Executive Director of Denise Louie Education Center, attended her first meeting on August 1 in Yakima to review Early Achievers Data and learn more about the creation of the new Department of Children, Youth, and Families.
    • In July, staff met with Dixie Grunenfelder, Director of Secondary Education, to discuss Attendance Awareness Month efforts. In August, staff attended a presentation about cultural competency training materials OSPI plans to make available to all school districts.
  • Puget Sound Educational Service District: Staff met with organizers for a training on October 11 on privilege, anti-bullying, and anti-racism for educators and administrators. The training will help foster a supportive learning environment for Muslim and Sikh students and their families.

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: In June, members heard presentations about reducing suicide rates for men in the middle years and for workers in the construction industry. In September, the AASP received a presentation about the Crisis Text Line and reviewed its accomplishments in the last year.
  • Asian Pacific Islanders Advocating Together for Healthy Communities: Staff attended the August meeting and learned about APICAT’s new youth marijuana prevention campaign.
  • Department of Health: Staff attended the 2018 Healthy Youth Survey revision meeting to discuss the Commission’s proposal to collect disaggregated data for Pacific Islanders. The data would help policymakers identify disparities and improve the well-being of Pacific Islander youth.
  • Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities: Commissioner Wada is CAPAA’s representative on the Council. The council met on September 13 in Seattle to hear about King County’s Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan and a briefing on King County Accountable Community of Health.
  • Health Equity for COFA communities: The Commission connected with policymakers and community members during the summer about how to move policies forward to improve health equity for COFA communities.
  • Interagency Work Group on Youth Homelessness: Commissioner Nam Nguyen represents CAPAA on the work group. The work group is continuing to meet to develop action steps by the end of 2017.
  • Mental Health Awareness Month: The International Examiner wrote an article to promote mental health awareness and non-profit organizations did so via social media. Commissioner Gaur and staff attended an initial discussion at Tacoma Pierce County Health Department about addressing API mental health needs in the county.
  • State Board of Health: Staff attended the Immunization Requirement Advisory Committee to review proposed changes to the nine criteria used to determine immunization requirements.

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.

  •  Department of Commerce – Minority Business Roundtable: Chair Tufono, Director Itti, Sheila Burrus, Chewon Lee, and Lawrence Pang represent the Commission. The Roundtable convened in September to review ADO reporting data and hear updates from participants.
  • Department of Transportation: Director Millar met with Commission directors to provide an update on the work of the Office of Equal Opportunity, mentor/protégé program, and other efforts to promote equity and inclusion. In September, DOT released its latest DBE Program Disparity Study, which determined the availability versus utilization of minority-and women-owned businesses.
  • Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises: Director Bernstein provided a quarterly update about efforts to improve the certification process.
  • Results Washington – Prosperous Economy Goal Council: Inslee conducted a Results Review on July 26 on the topic of Rural Economic Development. In September, Director Itti gave a briefing about the role of CAPAA and data about API communities to help agencies better understand its customers.


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 Directors Coalition: In September, APDC approved its new strategic planning and committee structure framework to address the multitude of complex issues facing APIs.
  • Asian Pacific Islander Coalition: South Puget Sound Chapter members are continuing to discuss the refugee and immigrant service center proposal and received a legislative update in August from Commission staff. King County Chapter members continue to track the response to the shooting death of Tommy Le, a 20-year-old student, by King County Sheriff’s Deputies and proposed federal changes impacting AAPI communities.
  • Cambodian American Community Council Reception: Director Itti gave remarks about the importance of civic engagement and coalition-building. Khmer community members then heard from the US Ambassador to Cambodia about changes in the country.
  • Justice for Tommy Le Public Forum: Vietnamese community members gathered at Asian Counseling and Referral Service to hear from and ask questions of the King County Sheriff and elected leaders about the shooting death of Tommy Le. Commissioners Dinh and Nguyen attended and/or contributed to the planning of the community-led forum.
  • Refugee Women’s Alliance: Staff met with Executive Director Eshetu to learn about ReWA’s programs, services, and capital budget request.
  • Community Events: Staff attended numerous community events to connect with constituents and learn about community issues and concerns. Events included the Lao American Writers Summit, Samoa Cultural Day, Equity in Education Coalition’s 5th Anniversary, Beyond the Numbers: SEAs in Education, and the 75th Remembrance of Puyallup Assembly Center.


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.

  • Emergency Management Council – Inclusion & Equity Subcommittee: The Council convened in August to brainstorm action steps to achieve its goals. The Commission suggested adding a question on BRFSS about emergency preparedness and promoting a common message.
  • Employee Resource Group for Immigrant State Workers: An interagency effort is underway to promote cultural awareness and promote Washington State as an employer of choice. Commissioner Nam Nguyen represents CAPAA in this effort.
  • Interagency Equity Workgroup: Staff heard about the Department of Early Learning’s Racial Equity Initiative to build the agency’s capacity to advance racial equity and eliminate inequities in early learning outcomes.
  • Office of the Education Ombuds: The agency’s annual report was released summarizing its work and utilization of services by stakeholders. Visit to view the report.
  • Office of US Senator Patty Murray: Staff, Commissioner Wada, and South Puget Sound APIC members connected with the ‎South Sound Director about issues of concern to APIs, including immigration/naturalization and homelessness.
  • Recreation and Conservation Office: Staff discussed the draft state outdoor recreation plan and reviewed results from the community survey.