White House … updates

The White House

Today, I would like to share with you some of the ways in which President Obama and his Administration continue to address the diverse needs of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, including by honoring the life and legacy of Senator Daniel Inouye, the highest-ranking Asian American in the United States government.

To learn more about the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Initiative on AAPIs, visit http://whitehouse.gov/aapi and encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up for updates!
Best Regards,
Gautam Raghavan Office of Public Engagement The White House aapi@who.eop.gov

President Obama and Administration Officials Mark the Passing of Senator Daniel Inouye

President Barack Obama speaks at the funeral service for Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Dec. 21, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Earlier today, President Obama delivered a eulogy at the memorial service for Senator Daniel Inouye, President pro tempore of the United States Senate, saying in part:

I think it’s fair to say that Danny Inouye was perhaps my earliest political inspiration.  And then, for me to have the privilege of serving with him, to be elected to the United States Senate and arrive, and one of my first visits is to go to his office, and for him to greet me as a colleague, and treat me with the same respect that he treated everybody he met, and to sit me down and give me advice about how the Senate worked and then regale me with some stories about wartime and his recovery — stories full of humor, never bitterness, never boastfulness,  just matter-of-fact — some of them I must admit a little off-color.  I couldn’t probably repeat them in the cathedral.  (Laughter.)  There’s a side of Danny that — well.
Danny once told his son his service to this country had been for the children, or all the sons and daughters who deserved to grow up in a nation that never questioned their patriotism.  This is my country, he said.  Many of us have fought hard for the right to say that.  And, obviously, Rick Shinseki described what it meant for Japanese Americans, but my point is, is that when he referred to our sons and daughters he wasn’t just talking about Japanese Americans.  He was talking about all of us.  He was talking about those who serve today who might have been excluded in the past.  He’s talking about me.
And that’s who Danny was.  For him, freedom and dignity were not abstractions.  They were values that he had bled for, ideas he had sacrificed for, rights he understood as only someone can who has had them threatened, had them taken away.

Read the President’s full remarks.

In addition to the eulogy, the President also issued a statement on the Senator’s passing as well as a Presidential Proclamation directing that the flag of the United States be flown at half-staff at the White House and other public buildings and grounds until sunset on the day of Senator Inouye’s interment.

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, attend the funeral service for Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Dec. 21, 2012. Senator Inouye’s family is at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In addition, Vice President Biden issued a statement on the Senator’s passing, delivered remarks at the Arrival Ceremony for Senator Inouye at the United States Capitol, and today also delivered remarks at the memorial service.

Other senior Administration officials also released statements:

Statement by the President on the Presidential Election in the Republic of Korea

Recently, President Obama issued a statement on the election of President-elect Park Geun-hye, who will become the first female president of the Republic of Korea:

I congratulate President-elect Park Geun-hye on her success in the election held on Wednesday. I look forward to working closely with the Park Administration to further enhance our extensive cooperation with the Republic of Korea on a wide range of important bilateral, regional and global issues. The U.S.-ROK alliance serves as a linchpin of peace and security in the Asia Pacific and our two nations share a global partnership with deep economic, security, and people-to-people ties. I also wish to reiterate my admiration for all that President Lee has done to strengthen U.S.-ROK relations and promote a Global Korea.

On Friday, the President also called the President-elect – click here for a readout of that call.

Blog Highlights

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, delivers a statement and takes questions about the Administration’s gun policy process in the wake of the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Dec. 19, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President and First Lady Extend a Holiday Greeting and Thank our Troops for their Service


Weekly Address: The President and First Lady Extend a Holiday Greeting and Thank our Troops for their Service
In this week’s address, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and thank our brave troops and their families for their service. The President and First Lady ask the American people to visit JoiningForces.gov to find ways to honor and support our veterans and military families, and say that we must all come together, as we always do, to care for each other during this holiday season.
Watch President Obama’s weekly address. President Obama delivers the Weekly Address
Weekly Wrap Up

On Sunday, President Obama traveled to Newtown, CT, and spoke at an interfaith vigil for the victims of the shooting and their families. “We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change,” he said. “We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law — no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can’t be an excuse for inaction.”
On Monday, we published a list of resources specifically designed for parents and guardians to provide guidance on talking to children after a traumatic event. Get more information here.
On Wednesday, the President delivered a statement from the James S. Brady Briefing Room at the White House, where he discussed his commitment to reducing the epidemic of gun violence that plagues this country every single day. “We know this is a complex issue that stirs deeply held passions and political divides,” he said. “There’s no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. We’re going to need to work on making access to mental health care at least as easy as access to a gun. We’re going to need to look more closely at a culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence. And any actions we must take must begin inside the home and inside our hearts. But the fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing.”
On Friday, President Obama recorded a message for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who called for action to deter mass shootings and reduce gun violence using We the People. “I just wanted to take a minute today to respond and let you know: we hear you,” he said. The President reiterated his support for legislation to ban the sale of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips, as well as measure to ensure that criminals can’t take advantage of legal loopholes to get their hands on a gun. He also discussed an effort he’s asked Vice President Biden to lead — to come up with a comprehensive set of proposals to help keep our children safe.

Season’s Greetings : Donna De La Cruz, Reform Immigration FOR America


2012 is nearly over, and what a year it has been.

In the same year that we saw devastating levels of deportation and even more families torn apart, we also saw the White House issue administrative relief for DREAMers, and immigrant rights voters reelect the President on a mandate of finally passing immigration reform.

The President got the message—and so did Congress.

We must seize this moment. Humane, comprehensive reform is just on the horizon and the only way we will ensure that it becomes reality is by holding our leaders in Congress and in the White House accountable.

Help build our strength for 2013: Send a holiday greeting card to five friends asking them to join our movement.

Ask family and friends to take part in the fight to pass real reform that creates a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented Americans.

If we all take action to build our strength, we can make sure that by this time next year we will have the reform we’ve been fighting for. Send a card to your friends and family today!

Thank you, and Happy Holidays,

Donna De La Cruz Reform Immigration FOR America

P.S. If we each invite one more person to join in, we will increase the power of our movement by over one million people. Send a card today!


NMAAHC - National Museum of African American History and Culture - Happy Holidays!

As we gather with family and friends to share old memories and make new ones, everyone at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture wishes you and yours the happiest of holidays.We also offer our prayers and hopes for good health and prosperity for the New Year.

Since we broke ground in February of this year, the construction at our site is proceeding full-steam ahead. In early 2013, the steel will start to rise,forever changing the landscape of the National Mall in Washington, DC. In the days ahead I promise to keep you fully informed of our progress.

Finally, let me thank you for the support and commitment you have made to the Museum. You helped make 2012 a truly exciting year. I believe 2013 will surpass it, as together we speed toward the Museum’s grand opening in 2015.

Thank you again. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

dd-enews-temp-lonnie-bunch-2.jpg All the best, Lonnie_Signature.jpg Lonnie Bunch Director

Walmart: Bah, humbug

We stand on the side of Walmart workers.Humbug

Please share this image to show your support.


Just like the workers toiling thanklessly for Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, Walmart employees are rewarded for their efforts with insults and disrespect.  Walmart’s notoriously poor wages and working conditions — designed to squeeze every last dollar of productivity out of its “associates” — mean workers struggle to survive on poverty wages while executives and the Walton family rake in record profits.1

On Black Friday, workers across the country told Walmart loud and clear: enough is enough. Historic protests held at over 1,000 Walmart stores demonstrated the powerful need for real change at the company.2

You and nearly 55,000 ColorOfChange members are helping us take the fight for good jobs to the next level, by demanding that Walmart’s Board meet with workers and take immediate steps to improve working conditions. Now, with the holiday shopping season in full swing — and Walmart scrambling to avoid any more negative publicity3 — it’s time to further expose America’s biggest Scrooge.

Please share this image with your friends and family: show Walmart that we demand respect for all workers.

The odds are stacked against low wage workers — many of whom are Black women. Service sector jobs continue to dominate the post-recession labor market, and they’re not going anywhere.4 This is why it’s essential we make companies like Walmart a better place to work and shop.

At the end of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge learns the importance of treating people well, and if Walmart ever hopes to be embraced as a good company, it needs to learn the same lesson. Walmart can start by ensuring that its employees work reasonable hours, have adequate health care and can support their families.

Please share this Humbug image to show Walmart workers that you support them and their demands for respect in the workplace. And when you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same.

Thanks and peace,

— Rashad, Matt, Arisha, Aimée, Kim, Johnny and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team     December 21st, 2012

P.S. Click here to download either the full-size version or the Facebook cover photo size of the image.

Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU—your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way.


1. “Corporate Profits Just Hit An All-Time High, Wages Just Hit An All-Time Low,” Business Insider, 06-22-12 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2021?t=7&akid=2762.1174326.evKS2S

2. “Walmart impoverishing and endangering workers,” The Hill, 12-07-12 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2022?t=9&akid=2762.1174326.evKS2S

3. “Hold Walmart accountable to Black workers,” ColorOfChange.org, 11-15-12 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2023?t=11&akid=2762.1174326.evKS2S

4. “A Fast Food Nation Fights for Living Wages — Against Long Odds,” Colorlines, 12-07-12 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2024?t=13&akid=2762.1174326.evKS2S