November 23, 2020

Washington, DC— In response to indications that President-Elect Joe Biden will soon announce the first slate of Cabinet Secretaries to lead under his incoming Biden Administration, the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans released the following statement:

Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, like all Americans, have suffered greatly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. For months, we have watched as anti-Asian sentiment has swept across this country and provided a misdirected outlet for rage against President Trump’s failure to meet the challenge. For months, as discussions finally began to grapple with the deadly consequences of racial health disparities, Pacific Islanders and other Asian American communities were largely ignored.

Our country is in desperate need of inspired leadership; and our communities deserve to be heard and seen. The selection of Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris sparked new hope throughout our communities, and now President-Elect Biden has an opportunity to grow that spark into bright beacon of commitment that AAPIs are an integral part of the diversity of America.

Madalene Mielke, President & CEO of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) stated:

“APAICS’ mission is to increase AAPI participation at all levels of government and that includes ensuring that the AAPI community continues to bring diverse leadership to the incoming administration through the appointments process. We strongly encourage the new administration to have racial and gender equity as a priority.”

Christine Chen, Executive Director of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) added:

“Early vote numbers show that AAPI voters turned out in record numbers across the nation–a 310% increase compared to the 2016 early vote—and in every key battleground state. At our Presidential Town Hall, President-elect Joe Biden promised that his administration will reflect who we are as a nation; from cabinet members to White House staff to judges. Our communities voted to ensure their voices are represented and we urge President-elect Biden to make good on his promise of a diverse cabinet and nominate qualified AAPI candidates to serve in his administration.”

David Inoue, Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) said:

“As President-elect Biden has emphasized that his Cabinet and Administration will represent the diversity of our country, we would expect that to include Asian Pacific American representation. In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attack, it was President Bush’s understanding of then Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta’s experience of wartime incarceration that influenced his forceful denouncement of the possibility of any anti-Muslim discrimination or retaliation. As only a cabinet level adviser might be able to do, sharing our diverse experiences as Americans will serve to better inform the President on the real impacts of policy on everyone in this country.”

Noël S. Harmon, President and Executive Director of APIA Scholars stated:

“The Asian community is not only one of the fastest growing communities. It also very diverse with over 40+ ethnicities, and 300 languages spoken.  The Biden Harris administration made an open commitment to inclusivity, we hope this will be reflected in their choices from an extremely diverse and talented pool of APIA applicants.” 

Thu Nguyen, Director of OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates added:

“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have shown in the 2020 Election that our voice cannot be ignored. The first step that President Elect Joe Biden can take in acknowledging this is appointing a cabinet that includes representatives from our community. An administration that wants to achieve equity must reflect the makeup of the people it serves.”

Cyndy Yu Robinson, Executive Director of The National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) said:

“Given that AAPIs turned out in largest numbers ever for the 2020 election and to run for public offices, AAPIs want to be engaged and represented, and are qualified to lead. The Biden-Harris team has the opportunity to assemble a Cabinet and Administration that includes the talents and commitment of the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.”

Juliet Choi, Chief Executive Officer of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) added:

“In the past, APIAHF has worked closely with both President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on a number of health-related policies that have helped Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. We hope that in the selection of their Cabinet and other appointments, that they will continue to take into consideration the impact of these appointees on the health and well-being of our community, from health equity to comprehensive immigration reform. This is especially critical when the national response for COVID-19 too frequently overlooks the barriers AAs and NHPIs encounter in seeking care and securing resources, and solutions have yet to meaningfully address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on our communities.”

Becky Belcore, Executive Director of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC) said:

“In our civic engagement program in Pennsylvania this year, NAKASEC found that the majority of Asian American voters we contacted support a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants and quality healthcare for all. It is for these values that they mobilized in force and voted.  The Biden-Harris administration therefore must place Asian Americans in key leadership positions who both represent our community and our values.”

Priya Purandare, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) stated: 

“NAPABA has always worked closely with presidential administrations and transitions to promote a representative government. We hope that the Biden-Harris administration will continue this legacy to appoint a diverse Cabinet, including Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.”

Sue Ann Hong, President and CEO of the Center for Asian Pacific American Women (CAPAW) said:

“Every member of the AAPI community is treated with dignity-no matter their race or ethnicity-and has a fair shot at the American Dream.” This commitment includes representation of AANHPIs at all levels to ensure our voices are heard.  We are hopeful this will continue as the Biden-Harris administration begins its work in 2021.”

Katrina Dizon Mariategue, Acting Executive Director of Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) added:

“Southeast Asian Americans are a vital part of our nation’s past, present, and future. For too long, our needs have been obscured by aggregated data and leadership that is unwilling to acknowledge or address the unique needs of our communities. We are inspired by the ways that Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris has spoken directly to our communities and the promises that the incoming Biden-Harris administration has made to improve the lives of immigrants and refugees, to provide meaningful relief from the COVID-19 pandemic, and to end the violent, xenophobic, and racist policies that our current leadership has enacted since day one.”  


Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 37 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.