US Vice President Kamala Harris led the swearing in of President Biden's advisory commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. In a virtual ceremony on Thursday, Harris said it is important to have the voices of AANHPI including Filipino Americans when giving independent advice to the President.
"Because the work that you would do is to give us your candid feedback... We want to know how the ideas, the decisions that we may make, will actually hit the streets, all of you are on the ground," Harris noted.
Three of the appointed commissioners are Filipino Americans.
One of them is activist and professor Amy Agbayani, who's known for her participation during the 2020 Democratic National Convention where she represented Hawaii during the state roll call. A former chair of the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, Agbayani conducts research on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. She is also an advocate for immigrant justice in Hawaii.
Meanwhile, Teresita Batayola leads the International Community Health Services, Washington state's largest Asian and Pacific Islander nonprofit health center provider to all those who need affordable care, especially immigrants and refugees.
In 2014, former President Obama honored Batayola as a "Champion Of Change." The award-winning Filipina has also been recognized for her outstanding business & philanthropic contributions, and was named a Woman of Courage by the University of Washington Women's Center.
Registered nurse Luisa Blue completes the Pinay triumvirate who are among the 25-member commission appointed by Biden last December. Blue is one of the highest-ranking AAPI officials in the labor movement. She became vice president of Service Employees International Union after serving on its executive board.
Biden's advisory commission is co-chaired by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and US Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai. The commission is expected to give the president advice on addressing racism, as well as policies and programs to respond to anti-asian hate crimes.