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Eye-Opening Experience at Hawaii AANHPI Economic Summit

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Connecting community members to critical resources and federal leaders was the goal of Hawaii’s first Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Economic Summit on Friday, July 7 at the Hawaii State Capitol.

KHON2.com learned that it was eye-opening for some residents.

The Biden-Harris Administration hosted the summit, an official said it was all about location, location, location.

“It is really important that we’re here because this is the land of Native Hawaiians and so we really want to be here and we really want to actually do a lot of outreach to all of the communities here,” said Nani Coloretti, White House Office of Management and Budget deputy director.

Residents said the federal government has some hurdles to get over in the Islands.

“We as a community always tend to think the federal government’s job or what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to project certain initiatives or policies or correct our thinking in relation to those policies. But what we need to understand is there is need to be connection, and I thought that this is a great way and a great avenue to allow that connection to happen.


Booths from federal and State agencies provided information on loans and grants and sessions gave folks a chance to ask questions and express concerns to panelists.

“It’s easy to talk about government when you don’t know the people behind. But when you’re in the community and having conversations and listening to conversations, hearing comments is when you build trust,” said Sonal Shah, chief commissioner of the President’s Advisory Commission on AANHPI.

“I said, ‘Wow, this is exactly it!’ They’re using aloha to connect the native people or Asian-Americans and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders with the federal government, with the resources that’s available for them.


Sen. Brian Schatz chimed in and said Hawaii is hard enough.

“But when you’re trying to navigate a federal system,” Sen. Schatz said, “it’s extraordinarily difficult and it’s intimidating in the first instance, even if you’re good at this, right?”

“It just shows that, you know, that they care on a federal level, they’re out here,” said Kalihi resident Shirley Ann Templo. “We’re still a part of the country and, really excited!”

Source : Khon2