Category Archives: CAPM news

CAPM Board Highlights

We are excited to introduce our CAPM board members for 2013. Today we have Shanti Shah.


Who are you?

My name is Shanti Shah, I grew up in India. I have been in Minnesota since 1974. My husband Stefan and I have been married for 30 years, we have one son. I have degrees from University of Minnesota and St. Thomas. I have been working in the Information technology field for over 35 years. I have been involved in the Twin Cities Indian American community for as long as I have lived in Minnesota. I was adjunct faculty at Metro State University for 20 years and I am currently an adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota.

Tell us about your community. What some of your current involvements in the community?

In Minnesota, the Indian American community has evolved significantly over the last 45 years. Its size has increased steadily. It is as diverse as India itself. We have Indian Americans from nearly every state with its distinctive language, food, clothing, dance, music and art. We are Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Muslims, Sikhs, Zoroastrians and Christians, just to mention a few religions we follow. This highly educated group of immigrants is represented in every professional section and not to mention business ownership. It is a vibrant community with many active organizations supporting India’s regional, religious, and cultural diversity.

I have been active in my community for a long time. I was one of the founders of School of India for Languages and Culture (SILC) which continues to provide an opportunity for children of Indian descent to learn about their heritage and engage with their community. I have been very involved with the India Association of Minnesota (IAM) which is an Indian umbrella organization that sponsors major programs and events such as India Day on the State Capital grounds. I am a past present of Jain Center of Minnesota and board member on number of organizations representing the Indian American community to the community at large including Ragamala Music and Dance Theater. Until last year, I was a Chair of IAM Trustee Advisory board. I am currently involved in future strategies for IAM and representing Indian Americans in the political process. For the 2012 election, I served as a Presidential Elector and I am involved in my Senate and Congressional District as a representative for my community.

What do you hope to accomplish on CAPM’s board?

I want to support CAPM’s strategies and goals as it continues to represent an increasingly diverse pan-Asian community. I hope to accomplish two things: to help CAPM to increase its influence on state budget and program priorities in support of pan-Asian communities and increase the visibility of this community through CAPM in addressing issues unique to these groups such as education, health care and women’s issues.

Is there a person in your life that has been the most influential? Why?

My family has been most influential in my life. They taught me that I am only whole when my community is also whole. I learned to give back to my community at an early age. It meant welcoming anyone in our home, leading efforts to feed the poor, to help the earthquake victims, help build organizations and institutions such a community temple, and working to elect political candidates who would represent people who never had been represented before in India’s young democracy.


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Posted by on April 22, 2013 in CAPM news, Community news, Uncategorized


Voter Identification Amendment

ST. Paul, MN.- In April, House and Senate Republicans voted “yes” to the proposed constitutional amendment requiring voters to present photo identification when voting at the polls. In November’s general elections, the amendment will be presented on our ballots.

Much of the debate around the country centers on election vote fraud. As a registered voter, it is not required to present a photo ID when voting. States have their own individual requirements for identification at polling places but only first time voter are required to show identification. Voter ID laws have been enacted as a measure to ensure that voters are who they say they are when they vote. However, many have contended that the laws disproportionately affect elderly, minority and low-income groups and are a form of voter suppression. The difficulties associated with getting photo identifications, including the cost burden, would disenfranchise low-income voters.

In Minnesota, the House passed the Voter ID bill, and although it was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton, the bill put the decision directly to the voters on the election ballot. Is this new constitutional amendment a debate over election security or ballot access? To learn more about the voter ID laws in other states and Minnesota, visit ProPublica.

We at CAPM believe that voting rights belong to all eligible, law-abiding Minnesotans and the amendment would limit voting participation in Minnesota. We should protect our right to vote. The Our Vote Our Future coalition would like to invite you to learn more about the photo ID amendment and how you can participate in the campaign here.


Our Vote Our Future is the statewide ballot initiative campaign to defeat the photo ID amendment which will appear on Minnesota’s November 6, 2012 general election ballot. Please visit

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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in CAPM news, Community news



Asian Pacific Youth Leadership 2012 Recap

Every year since my freshman year of High School, I have attended The Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Retreat. I first got involved in the Asian Pacific Youth Council in 2009. After a year of getting to know everyone in the council, I attended the group’s 2nd annual trip. Since that retreat, I have always looked forward to go again. From the minute we arrived at the State Capitol until the minute we left, I was always engaged in team building activities.

The most recent retreat was held at the Vermillion River College in Ely, Minnesota. I was skeptical at first because we would usually go to Bay Lake Camp, but none the less I knew I couldn’t miss out on this opportunity. I found that this new location benefited me because I got to visit a college campus and see what it would be like to go to that particular school. I first time I had met MNSCU staff was in 2009 at APYC’s first event at the Guthrie. Looking back, I don’t think I realized how major it was for me to be meeting the people that could send me to my dream school or launch me in my passion and future career.

At the retreats opening ceremony we had brought up conflicts that we felt we faced in society today and in social media and how it has affected the our world today. Being like any other teenager, I love to browse on the internet and stay connected with friends and family that I don’t see on a regular basis so I could relate to this year’s theme of ‘Social Media and Civic Engagement.’  During the retreat, we broke down into smaller action group teams and picked our own topic to educate our peers with. My group’s topic was depression and self-esteem.  In our groups, we worked as a team to see who could get their word out the most via blog posts, videos, and tweets.  Throughout the whole week we worked daily to raise awareness for many things. It was fun to learn about how much we all care about certain subjects and to learn about them as well.

We also broke into different sub groups to highlight our talents. Within a week, each of our subgroups produced a artistic piece based on our talents. We had music, dance, film, drama, and art groups. I am a dancer and usually naturally gravitate to what I know best, but this year, I took a chance and joined the music group. Being with the music group really boosted my confidence with vocals and voicing my opinion. I loved that all the groups were so talented in so many different ways.

Taking advantage of the natural environment in Ely we were able to enjoy outdoor activities. Although I’m not naturally an outdoorsy girl, I enjoyed learning about nature. We also took classes at the college that taught us how to identify trees and purify water. We learned about the jobs that many people do that we never really think of or don’t appreciate. One of the most memorable activities was our camping overnighter. We had no access to electricity, phones, internet, nothing. Just us, nature, and what we brought along. The guides made it really interesting and I personally learned a lot and grew fond of being able to sit out and just gaze at the stars.

The people that attended this retreat are all of Asian descent, but because there are various ethnicities in the Asian community we learned about so many different cultures but also learned that we are all still similar in many aspects.  My favorite thing about the retreat every year is how close we all become and learn that we are all human that have different experiences growing up but share many similar aspects. Also, that we all have pasts we’re trying to escape, stories to tell, lessons learned, and obstacles we’ve overcome.  I am grateful to have a welcoming and loving environment with people who genuinely care about each other after such a short amount of time together.  From the mentors, to the staff, to the mentees we all were a part of something great and put on a great week for each other.

I would recommend this retreat to anyone interested in having a good camp experience and willing to step out of their element. Everyone that goes to the camp is usually very welcoming and friendly. I’ve witnessed so many mentees go from completely introverted to being outgoing and taking the leader role in activities. It’s definitely an event that has changed my life to appreciate the things I have and be thankful with the life I was given. Everyone becomes close and tight knit family in such a short period of time. I have met some of my best friends through this retreat and think it’s a great way to start off anyone’s summer.

Article was written by Asian Pacific Youth Council member, Latifah Moss.

For more information photos from the retreat, please click here.

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Posted by on August 8, 2012 in APYC News, CAPM news



The Council for Asian Pacific Minnesotans and Minnesota Humanities Center Announces Inaugural Legacy Fellows

For Immediate Release

St. Paul, MN: The Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans and the Minnesota Humanities Center are pleased to announce the ten fellows for the inaugural Legacy Fellowship Program.  The goal of the Legacy Fellowship Program is to increase the number of artists of Asian Pacific Islander descent to work in the area of art and cultural preservation.

The program received 29 applications and awarded ten artists whose work and vision demonstrated a commitment to their art, showed a strong understanding of their craft, exhibited promise of potential, and artists who understood the importance of developing their business and leadership skills to advance their artistic careers.

The fellows include Elijah Chhum (filmmaker), Chay Douangphouxay (poet), Joseph Hang (visual artist and architect), Jade Hoyer (book artist), Simrat Kang (visual artist and poet), Joua Lee (filmmaker and spoken word artist), Ying Lee (screenwriter), Baoduoy Peter Pheng (visual artist), Phira Rehm (visual artist and poet), and Peter Yang (writer and filmmaker).

The Legacy Fellowship Program will provide fellows with a grant of $2,000 each to develop a project to showcase work in their respective genres. Additionally, fellows will receive monthly professional development opportunities around topics, such as fundraising, marketing, and building a portfolio.

For applications or more questions, please contact May Lee-Yang at or call 651-757-1740.

# # #



Meeting Times, Dates, and Location  Topic
Saturday, July 7, 2012 @ 10-2 PMLocation: Black Bear Crossing Café(Michael D. Glass Community Room)

1630 Lexington Parkway N

St. Paul, MN 55103


OrientationGetting to Know the Other FellowsOverview of the Program
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 @ 6-8 PM   Location: Wilder Foundation(Room 2520)

451 Lexington Parkway North

St. Paul, MN 55104


An Insider Track to GrantwritingPresented by Katie Leo, playwright, actor, teacher, and MN State Arts Board Community Liaison.
Saturday, August 4, 2012 @ 10-4 PM      Location: Black Bear Crossing Café on Como Lake(Michael D. Glass Community Room)


Getting Your Sh*t Together: What Every Artist NeedsLearn how to write an interesting bio. Figure out what’s important to put in an artistic resumé. Get a complimentary headshot for your publicity.
Saturday, September 8, 2012 @ 10-4 PM Location: Black Bear Crossing Café on Como Lake(Michael D. Glass Community Room)


Creating a Five-Year Plan: What You Need To Get to the Next Level in Your Career
Saturday, October 6, 2012@ 10-4 PM  Location: Black Bear Crossing Café on Como Lake(Michael D. Glass Community Room)


Marketing Yourself
As an artist, how do build audiences for your work? How do you reach out to people beyond flyers?  How do you create a brand for yourself that your audiences will understand and connect with?
Saturday, November 3, 2012 @ 10-4 PM   Location: Black Bear Crossing Café on Como Lake(Michael D. Glass Community Room)


Making a Living as an ArtistIt’s awesome to get paid for your work. But until you can pay all your bills, what are some ways you can make as an artist?
Saturday, December 29, 2012 @ 10-2 PM         Location: Black Bear Crossing Café on Como Lake(Michael D. Glass Community Room)


Celebrate Your SuccessEvaluate the Program

NOTE: We will provide meals at all meeting times.

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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in CAPM news, Community Event, Community news



Affordable Health Care Act

photo from Hisham F. Ibrahim/Getty images

According to the recent U.S. Census Bureau and American Community Survey, nearly one in five Minnesotans of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) descent is not insured1.  More specifically, one in six Cambodians in Minnesota do not have health insurance1.  Other Southeast Asians communities like the Hmong and Vietnamese join the Cambodian community in having the highest percentage of uninsured in Minnesota1.  In contrast, over 90% of Chinese, Laotian, Korean, Filipino and Asian Indians have health insurance.  Healthcare and health insurance is undoubtedly very important to Minnesota’s AAPI community.

On June 28th, 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The new rules, consumer rights, and programs that the ACA brings will have a significant impact on our AAPI community in Minnesota. Here are some important details:

What you need to know

New Programs  

Affordable Insurance Exchanges (AIE) will be setup beginning in 2014 to help individuals and small businesses buy health coverage easier and at an affordable price.  You can compare health plans, have your questions answered, determine your eligibility for tax credits or health programs, and enroll in either public or private health plans.

The new law will also create Consumer Assistance Programs (CAP) to help you file complaints, enroll in health coverage, and become more educated about your rights and responsibilities.  Minnesota currently does not have a CAP. However, you may contact the Minnesota Departments of Health , and Commerce, or other agencies and organizations for assistance.  For consumer assistance contacts and information, please see:

New Rights and Services 

Under ACA, you also have many new rights.  You have a right to appeal if your health insurance plan denies payment for a service or treatment.  You may ask your health insurance plan to reconsider their denial of payment.  If they still deny it, you may also ask for an independent external review from an independent review organization.

In addition to your new rights, you may also be eligible to receive preventive services at no cost.  These services however only apply to people enrolled in job-related health plans or individual health insurance policies created after March 23, 2010.  Please note that you may not be eligible if you are enrolled in a “grandfathered” plan.  You may also have to pay some costs for office visits.

Some of these preventive services include: blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol tests; cancer screenings including mammograms and colonoscopies; routine vaccinations; and counseling.  Today, August 1, 2012, coverage of preventive services especially for women, like well-woman visits; gestational diabetes screening; domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling; FDA-approved contraceptive methods; and more begins.  For a complete list of preventive services, please see:

If your health insurance policy covers children, you may add or keep your children on your plan until they turn 26 years old, even if they are married, not living with you, attending school, not financially dependent on you, and/or eligible to enroll in their employer’s plan.

The new law prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to children under the age of 19 and will expand to include all Americans regardless of age or gender beginning January 1, 2014.  This part of the law will apply to all job-related health plans and individual health insurance policies issued after March 23, 2010.  This will also apply to your plan when it begins a plan year or policy year on or after September 23, 2010.

You may be eligible to enroll in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) if you are a U.S. citizen or legal resident, have been denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, and have been uninsured for at least 6 months.  The PCIP program covers primary and specialty care, hospital care, and prescription drugs.  However premiums will differ depending on which state you live in and plan you choose.  In Minnesota, eligible residents can apply for the PCIP program run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  For more information about monthly premium costs and other costs, please see:

Please note that some insurance plans may be exempt from portions of the new health care law.  “Grandfathered” plans are one example and are exempt from most changes.

Some parts of the new health care law that DO apply to Grandfathered Plans and all other plans include: prohibiting lifetime dollar limits to key health benefits, disallowing plans to cancel your insurance coverage due to mistakes on your application, and extending coverage to your children until they turn 26 years old.

Other parts of the law that DO NOT apply to Grandfathered Plans and Job-Based Plans include:providing certain preventive services at no charge to you, offering new protection when appealing claims and denials, and protecting your choice of health care providers.  One portion   of the law that DOES NOT apply to Grandfathered Individual Plans is the elimination of excluding children due to a pre-existing condition.  For more information, please see:

The new health care law will also create an Early Retirement Reinsurance Program (ERRP) to provide financial relief for employers so retirees can receive quality, affordable insurance.  Please visit the ERRP website if you are interested in participating in the ERRP program.

For a complete list of participating businesses in Minnesota, please see the link below.  The list is updated monthly as applications are approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Prescription Drugs 

The new health care law will help make your Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) more affordable.  If you reach the coverage gap in your Medicare Part D coverage, you will receive a 50% discount on brand-name drugs covered by the new Act.  You will continue to receive this discount until you reach the “catastrophic coverage phase.”  For more information please see:

For more information and to read a copy of the law yourself, go to:                                  **All information was taken from                                                                           ***Department of Health and Human Services Press Release:                                                                         1State of Minnesota. Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans. State of the Asian Pacific Minnesotans. Jul. 2012. <>.

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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in CAPM news, Community news



Human trafficking blog series update: Legislation and Safe Harbor Bill


The first ever comprehensive law passed to prevent human trafficking and protect victims was called the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. Subsequent re-authorizations (TVPA) expanded protection and services for international and domestic victims. This act made a difference for victims trafficked from overseas into the United States because victims could be issued T-visas that allowed them to temporarily stay in the United States and make use of victim services. T-visas give victims from overseas a way of gaining independence away from their pimps or from the people who brought them to the United States. After gaining the T-visa, they can also choose to continue staying in the United States or go back to where they had originally come from.

On top of attending to the needs of the victims, the TVPA also brought about tools for the prosecution and punishment for traffickers. Traffickers who kidnapped, sexually assaulted, attempted to kill or killed their victims could be sentenced to life in imprisonment. In addition, traffickers who used fraud, force or coercion to sexually exploit minors could also face life in prison.

Safe Harbor in Minnesota

The TVPA is one of the forces pushing states to implement similar laws that punish traffickers and protect victims. The Advocates for Human Rights in Minnesota pioneered and led a coalition of non-profits and activists to write and lobby for the Safe Harbor bill which Governor Mark Dayton signed into law in 2011.

The Safe Harbor bill explicitly defines sexually exploited minors as victims who are in need of protection and victim services, and not delinquents. This law that will be enacted in 2014 charged the commissioner of public safety, the commissioner of human services and the commissioner of health in alliance with many groups of people involved in providing services and stakeholders to put together a comprehensive child victims services almost from scratch.

According to Jeff Bauer, Director of Public Policy at the Family Partnership and a member of the Safe Harbor coalition, there are virtually no shelter beds in the state that are dedicated to housing minor victims of sexual exploitation now. But all that will soon change because he is now traveling all around the state to string together resources and connecting service providers, translators, hospitals and stakeholders into a system that would potentially be dedicated to serving and protecting minors who are sexually exploited.

Although this Safe Harbor bill is one big step forward, Bauer believes that more should be done. While children under 15 are immune from prosecution, children who are 16 and 17 could still be prosecuted under the juvenile justice system if they have already gone through the mandatory first referral to victim services. He believes that all minors under the age of 18 should be protected and never be treated as criminals.

Updates on the Safe Harbor coalition

I had the opportunity to shadow Bauer to some of the daily meetings where I got to meet many dedicated professionals who are as passionate about this issue as he is. At the No Wrong Door meeting that brought together the whole Safe Harbor coalition to unveil and review the whole system of services they had worked so hard on, I learned the basic workings of the sexually exploited child victim services. Victims could be referred from anywhere such as getting picked up on the streets, hospitals or even self-referred. Once they are referred, they will work with an expert from their region who will make sure they get all the services and protection they need to regain their lives. Services include chemical dependency rehabilitation, education, legal services, mental health consultations, employment help and many more.

According to Bauer, similar system had been set up in other states but most of the systems turned out to be a failure. This is because most of the time, only one department of the government worked on creating the system, which caused many conflicts within a framework where it is necessary for multiple parties to work together. With that in mind, I was hopeful that our system might just be one of the successful systems while I sat in a room full of lawyers, social workers, law enforcement officers, lawmakers and other professionals with a variety of expertise and watching them debate about definitions, talk about procedures and basically working together.

What is needed from the Asian Community in Minnesota

While there seems to be hope of child victims of sexual exploitation, human trafficking is a problem that is not only prevalent but even increasing in Minnesota, Bauer said. Bauer recommends that communities of color should start talking about this hidden problem and “accept that it is happening to their own children.” “Silence is what allows this problem to grow in our state,” he said. The Asian community can also work together with the Safe Harbor coalition to create a culturally appropriate system that would serve Asian victims better. The victim services should not be a one-size-fits-all system. He hopes that more people from the Asian community can give their input on how services can be more culturally specific. If you have any ideas or questions at all, please leave a comment and I will be sure to address them all.

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Posted by on June 14, 2012 in CAPM news, Legislative


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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Throughout the month of May API communities across the country celebrate the achievements and contributions of Asian and Pacific Americans. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States May 7, 1843 and the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution designated to celebrate the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage week. Twelve years later, in 1992, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the designation of the month of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.

In Minnesota, the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans honors the achievements of Asian Pacific Minnesotans by awarding Annual Leadership Awards to community members and organizations who have given themselves, their talents and resources to serve and better the Asian-Pacific community.

This year the Council honors the following individuals:
MayKao Y. Hang, President and CEO of Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
Glen R. King, Filipino Community Organization
Dr. Kyoko Kishimoto, Professor at St. Cloud State University
True Thao, The Family Partnership

This year, the Council honors the following organizations:
Cultural Society of Filipino Americans
Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota

The council would also like to thank all community members and sponsors that attended the event. The annual dinner would not have been possible without your contributions.

Quick Facts about Asian Pacific Minnesotans from the 2010 Census:
➢ MN’s Asian Population quadrupled since 1970.
➢ Since 2000, Asians in Minnesota grew 52.5% and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders grew 5.8%.
➢ Minnesota’s Asian Pacific population is vastly different from the national make-up. 50.2% of our population identifies as Southeast Asian vs. 20.7% of the national average
➢ The Hmong population is the largest Asian population in Minnesota at 66,181 or 27% of all Asian Pacific Minnesotans

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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in CAPM Events, CAPM news, Community news, Uncategorized



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