11 May 2010

US confident of Pacific Heritage Month

3:17 pm on 11 May 2010

The director of a presidential initiative in the United States says she's confident it can make a real difference to Pacific Islanders in the US.

President Barack Obama highlighted disparities in employment, poverty, health and education experienced by Pacific people when he proclaimed May, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

That follows his re-establishment by executive order of a White House Initiative and a Presidential Commission to improve the lives of people in those communities late last year.

The director of the Initiative, Kiran Ahuja, says that's the highest level action the President could take, and she's confident it will work.

"We have a huge task in front of us, because it is working with a number of different agencies. These are real issues that impact the community and there aren't necessarily easy solutions but I do think we have the support of the President."

Kiran Ahuja says they're encouraging Pacific communities to advocate for services, and educating government agencies about the communities' needs.