Kamala Harris administers oath of office to members of Presidential Advisory Commission

Co-chaired by Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Xavier Becerra and US Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai, the commission complements the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI), both of which were established by President Joe Biden last May.
Kamala Harris (Image credit: PTI)
Kamala Harris (Image credit: PTI)

Washington

Vice President Kamala Harris has virtually administered the oath of office to members of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, several of whom are Indian Americans.
Co-chaired by Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Xavier Becerra and US Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai, the commission complements the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI), both of which were established by President Joe Biden last May.
Members of the commission were announced recently. Of the 23 members, four are Indian Americans Ajay Jain Bhutoria, Sonal Shah, Kamal Kalsi and Smita Shah. Bhutoria is a Silicon Valley technology executive, community leader, speaker and author who has been recognised for his work, the White House said.
A social impact and innovation leader, Sonal Shah is the founding president of The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), which has started the largest philanthropic effort to serve the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities.
Smita N Shah is an engineer, entrepreneur and civic leader serving as president and CEO of Chicago-based SPAAN Tech, Inc, a multi-disciplinary firm with expertise in public and private infrastructure projects, including transportation, aviation and facilities.
Kamal Kalsi is an emergency medicine physician from New Jersey who has served in the Army for 20 years. He was awarded a Bronze Star medal for his work, taking care of hundreds of combat casualties on the front lines in Afghanistan, it said.
The commission will advise the President on ways the public, private and non-profit sectors can work together to advance equity, justice and opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities.
We know there is still a lot of work to do in an affirmative, purposeful and intentional way about ensuring that people are engaged, and that we are relevant to the way that they are experiencing and living life, and that we are connected with their goals and their dreams for themselves, their families and community, Harris said during the swearing-in ceremony on Thursday.
And that is why it is so important to have you all as the leaders that you are together in this advisory group because the work that you will do is to give us candid feedback, she told the commissioners.
On behalf of the President and myself, I thank you yet again for the life that you have chosen to live, which has been a life of leadership and service, Harris said.
HHS secretary Becerra noted, The commissioners you see today represent not only subject matter experts who are recognised in their fields, but also visionary leaders who reflect the strength and diversity of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community.
From addressing anti-Asian hate and bias, to COVID-19 recovery, to the need for better data on AA and NHPI communities and resources for limited English proficient individuals, the needs of our AA and NHPI communities are wide-ranging, unique, and urgent for us to address.
Together, with the leadership of our commissioners, we will work to ensure that our nation lives up to its founding ideals, and that the American dream is within reach for every AA and NHPI family, she said.
US Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai said unfortunately, the past two years have underscored and exacerbated long-standing inequities in the country.
The pandemic has had significant economic and social impacts on AA and NHPI workers -- particularly in the hospitality and leisure, retail, and other service industries that employ one in four workers from our communities, Tai said.
Meanwhile, small business owners have faced xenophobia, harassment, vandalism and targeted threats. This is why the Biden-Harris administration is prioritising the values of equity, equality and opportunity in the Build Back Better agenda and why our pandemic recovery must bring along all communities, she added.

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