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Daphne Kwok, AAPI chair, to host community outreach session

Daphne Kwok, recent appointee to chair the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), will host a community outreach session from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21, in the Baker University Center Multicultural Center.

She will be looking for input from Asian Americans on opportunities and challenges in the Asian American communities.

As chair of the AAPI Commission, Kwok works with the White House Initiative to increase public- and private-sector collaboration and community involvement. Key issues being discussed are the economy, jobs, education, homeownership and health disparities. This is critical at this time because AAPIs have experienced the largest decline in homeownership of any racial group over the last year and their poverty rates and job losses have also increased.

She credits a major challenge of her work as addressing the needs of a diverse AAPI community. She seeks to dispel the myth that Asian Americans are financially well off and highly educated when in reality some AAPI communities have extremely high school dropout rates and poverty levels. Educating policymakers and the public about the needs of the AAPI is one of her goals.

Kwok grew up in the Washington D.C. area where her parents were immigrants from China. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in East Asian Studies and Music from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She now works for Asian and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities (APIDC), a non-profit that seeks to give a voice to AAPIs with disabilities.

Kwok previously served as executive director of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies and the Organization of Chinese Americans, a national civil rights organization, as well as many other positions. She is also the first elected chair of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans.