Post-Event Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Brian Kao, Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans
brian.kao [at] state.mn.us, (651) 757-1742
First ever Asian Pacific town hall in Minnesota finds plenty to celebrate and to be concerned about.
The first ever Asian Pacific town hall in Minnesota, co-hosted by the Council on Asian Pacific Minneostans (Council) and Hmong American Partnership (HAP), was well-attended by over 150 people, including over 50 Karen community members, on Saturday, February 18th, 2012. The event begun with a welcoming statement from HAP’s CEO and President Bao Vang, “This is the first ever Asian Town Hall meeting and we hope it becomes an annual event. … The Asian Pacific community contributes greatly to our economy with thriving businesses, but there are still significant issues, challenges and disparities. This is the beginning of a conversation where we can all come together to do our work not in isolation.”
Following the welcome, Brian Kao, the Council’s Research Analyst, presented US Census data on Asian Pacific populations in Minnesota, which included data on the economic contributions of the Asian Pacific community as well highlighted concerns about poverty, insurance coverage, unemployment and other social measures. Panelists Antonia Wilcoxon (MN Dept. of Human Services), Bo Thao-Urabe (Asian Americans/ Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy), and Dr. Bruce Corrie (Concordia University) followed with recommendations for community and state leaders to respond with collaborative solutions to address community concerns.
During the second half of the town hall, state leaders and legislators engaged the audience on community concerns. Guests included Sen. John Harrington, Rep. Sheldon Johnson, Rep. Tim Mahoney, MN Dept. of Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey, MN Dept, of Education Assistant Commissioner Rose Chu, MN Office of Minority and Multicultural Health Director José González, and St. Paul Board of Education member Keith Hardy. Town hall attendees shared questions and concerns on issues ranging from unemployment, economic self-sufficiency, learning English, financial planning, health insurance, and constitutional amendments.
In closing the event, Bao Vang thanked attendees for attending the first ever Asian Pacific town hall and reminded them that the event is a first in larger conversation about working together to address community needs. Organizers of the event hope to have an increased attendance in 2013.
The Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans, created in 1985, is a state agency that advises the Minnesota state legislature and governor’s office on issues pertaining to the Asian Pacific community.
Hmong American Partnership was founded in 1990 and provides programing in education and training, elderly services, employment services, and youth and family services for community members in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and surrounding areas.
2010 US Census Data, presented at the 2012 Asian Pacific Town Hall at Hmong American Partnership on Feb. 18, 2012.