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Editor's Corner/Over a Cup of Tea              
Heidi M. Pascual
Publisher & Editor
2006 Journalist of the Year
for the State of Wisconsin
The Need for a White House Office of Democracy
How Executive Action Can Build a More Fair, Humane,
and Workable Immigration System
The First 100 Days and Beyond
By Tom Jawetz
An Ocean and Climate Agenda for the New
The Inauguration of President Joe Biden and
Vice President Kamala Harris

On January 20, our nation celebrated a historic moment: the inauguration
of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris! This history-
making ticket carries special significance for the AAPI Community —
Vice President Harris is the first Black woman and the first Indian-
American woman to hold her office. AAPI organizations, leaders and
media around the world celebrated this historic occasion as they made
their mark on this momentous day.  

APAICS’s Madeline Mielke was quoted in USA Today on the significance
of Vice President Harris’s role as a history-maker.

People across our country made more than 2,000 pieces of Indian art to
honor Vice President Harris and celebrate this historic moment. Kolam,
a traditional geometric art form, often serves as a welcome mat on
doorsteps of Indian homes. If you missed seeing any of the Inauguration
celebrations — including some amazing AAPI performances and
celebrations — you can re-watch the programming from the last few
days at

On Jan. 21, we continued the Inaugural celebration as APIAVote
partners with the Black Women’s Roundtable and National Coalition on
Black Civic Participation on celebrating the historic swearing in and the
women who organized this election cycle.  
By Jean Flemma, Miriam Goldstein, and Anne Merwin

Climate change is having profound effects on the ocean, as scientists
have extensively documented. Coral reefs are dying, rising seas are
flooding coastal communities, and fishermen are seeing their
livelihoods threatened as fish seek cooler water. The ocean, however,
provides opportunities to fight back. Globally, ocean-based climate
solutions have the potential to provide up to one-fifth of the reductions in
greenhouse gas emissions necessary to limit the world’s temperature
rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which scientists say is necessary to lower
the risks associated with warming. --
The State of Women’s Leadership—And How To
Continue Changing the Face of U.S. Politics
APIAVote Highlights lack of AAPI Representation in Biden Cabinet
A Love Story during the Pandemic

We know for a fact that COVID 19 brought people apart, sometimes in great distances. Lockdowns literally
banned people from leaving their homes to avoid the spread of the virus that has claimed (and still is claiming)
hundreds of thousands of lives all over the world. There is absolutely nothing more important nowadays than
being online, to reach out to others, especially to family members forced to stay put in different locations when
the pandemic hit. COVID 19 left people isolated, sad, and extremely depressed.
 Thanks to Facebook and other
social media apps, reaching out to others and communicating with them regularly made this grave situation a bit bearable, particularly for some
groups of people who are used to domestic living, like senior citizens and retirees.

One of my best friends, Gabriella, is a 66-year old widow with four grown up children and five grandchildren. Her husband of 40 years, an
engineer, died from an accident in Qatar 10 years or so ago. She retired from her
managerial work in a large bank in Manila more than a year ago
and decided to retire for good in her hometown north of Manila, a beautiful place near the sea and the city of Baguio, the summer capital of the
Philippines. The place is located in the province of La Union, where air is fresh and organic food such as meat, poultry and vegetables, are
aplenty. Gabby, as her friends call her, truly loves her new life as a retiree receiving enough financial support from her kids, two of whom are
, .
By Alex Tausanovitch, Danielle Root, and Michael Sozan
The United States has just emerged from an election that former National
Security Adviser and incoming Director of the Domestic Policy Council Susan
Rice described as “our democracy’s near-death experience.” The outgoing
president, with the complicity of many congressional Republicans, engaged in
an effort to undermine the results of that election with bad-faith,
unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Their lies culminated in an insurrection
at the U.S. Capitol building—led by conspiracy theorists, white supremacists,
and other right-wing extremists intent on preventing Congress from certifying
the electoral votes. While that effort failed, it sent a stark message: American
democracy can no longer be taken for granted.

Some leaders in Congress have understood, years ahead of the curve, that
American democracy faced serious challenges—and they have led an
unprecedented effort to strengthen democratic institutions. The For the People
Act, also known as H.R. 1, contains the most transformative anti-corruption
and pro-voting measures since the post-Watergate era. It passed the U.S.
House of Representatives in March of 2019 and received the support of every
member of the Senate Democratic caucus. The bill now faces a tough fight in a
narrowly divided Senate, but its strong support thus far has made clear that
the long-neglected pro-democracy agenda now has many champions in
Congress.. --
Over the past four years, the Trump administration wreaked havoc on the
nation’s immigration and humanitarian protection systems, all without enacting
a single law—and often in violation of existing laws. Building on a set of laws
that were already outdated, overly inflexible, and poorly suited to meet the
country’s realistic wants and needs, the administration made full use of the
significant amount of executive authority that Congress has both explicitly and
implicitly delegated to the president over many decades. --
working in the Middle East as health professionals, plus her Social Security pension which actually
covers all of her basic needs outside her kids’ monthly support. Gabby has been enjoying life with
friends from her elementary and high school days, and because of good health, she has fun joining
several sports fest for seniors as well as picnics and outings even outside the boundaries of her

Then COVID reached the shores of the Philippines early 2020, and Gabby’s happy life came to an
abrupt halt, just like the rest of the world.

Gabby, with only a housemaid and a part-time driver in her household, became extremely sad,
because she could no longer do her outside activities such as her daily jogging with friends at a local
sport complex, going to church, and attending happy events. Everything was put on hold, as the
government issued rules and regulations, ordinances and orders banning  --
La Union beaches are favorite tourist
In Wake of Mostly-White Insurrection, AAPI Representation Even More Vital to Ensure a "Cabinet that Looks like America"

Washington, DC — On January 6 Georgia Senate run-off elections capped a historic cycle for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) participation in the
Peach State. APIAVote Executive Director Christine Chen issued the following statement on the Biden Administration’s lack of AAPI representation at the
Secretary level:
“We are overjoyed that Asian American and Pacific Islanders made their voices heard so loudly in last week’s Georgia Senate elections, as well as
throughout the 2020 cycle. With those campaigns behind us, it is of the utmost importance the new Administration and our Congressional leaders begin
addressing our most pressing problems, including the COVID-19 vaccine and economic relief for working families. --
By Robin Bleiweis and Shilpa Phadke

Note: Statistics on women elected to congressional seats are current as of the
date of publication.

Building on the momentum of the 2018 midterm elections, more women—
particularly women of color and LGBTQ candidates—ran for office in 2020 than
ever before. Historic wins across political affiliation spanned from state
legislatures to the halls of Congress and the White House, most notably with
the landmark election of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. These victories
come at an important moment for women of color, particularly for Latinas and
Black women, who continue to disproportionately feel the health and economic
harms of the coronavirus pandemic. Their gains also occur amid a long-
Getty/Nic Antaya
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris
speaks in Detroit, October 2020.
-overdue national reckoning with race and inequality that has challenged the status quo and permeated political narratives.
These women in leadership are poised to set the tone and shape policy at all levels of government as the country recovers
from a traumatic year and works toward a more progressive future.

This column outlines some of the most notable advancements in women’s leadership—from the executive branch to state
legislatures—and proposes several policies that would ensure the United States continues on a path to gender parity for
years to come.

The White House
Upon inauguration, Vice President-elect Harris will have risen higher in national leadership than any woman in U.S. history—
and she will become the first woman, Black person, and Indian American to serve as vice president of the United States. For
the past four years, Harris was the only Black woman serving in the U.S. Senate and only the second Black woman ever to
do so. As vice president, Harris will bring to the White House a strong track record of commitment to women’s equality, as
demonstrated by her progressive proposals on equal pay, paid family and medical leave, reproductive rights, and maternal
health, as well as her insistence during her presidential campaign that all issues are women’s issues. In addition to her
women’s rights bona fides, Harris’ experience serving on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the Senate
Committee on the Judiciary, and as California attorney general, among other roles, has garnered praise from colleagues
across the aisle. Harris’ win marks a milestone for all but particularly for the new possibilities her election represents for
women, Black people, and Indian Americans.

Record numbers of women—especially Black women, Latinas, Native American women, Asian and Pacific Islander women,
and Middle Eastern and North African women—ran for Congress in 2020.