Cal Poly Pomona President Soraya M. Coley recently joined high-level administration officials, community and business leaders, and minority advocates at the inaugural White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The historic summit, which attracted nearly 2,000 attendees from across the country, was a celebration of the diversity and creativity of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Participants also addressed pressing issues involving economic growth, education, health care, civil rights and immigration at the May 12 event.
Diversity is one of the hallmarks of Cal Poly Pomona, and Coley’s attendance at the nation’s capital was aimed at gaining more exposure for the university’s mission. About one-fourth of the student population identifies itself as Asian or Pacific Islander.
One panel discussion addressed education in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. The documentary “Pass or Fail in Cambodia Town” tackled the model-minority myth and explored barriers to educational success. After the screening, panel members identified unmet needs of students and discussed ways to ensure educational equity.
As one of his first actions in office, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13515 on Oct. 14, 2009, re-establishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to improve the quality of life through increased access to federal programs.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest-growing racial group in the country, growing over four times as rapidly as the total U.S. population. The Asian Americans and Pacific Islander population is expected to double to more than 47 million by 2060.
The summit is part of a series of events during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and provided a unique forum for networking with political, business and community leaders from across the nation.