NOCVA Attends 20th Anniversary Ceremony Honoring Minority Veterans, Meets Veterans Affairs Secretary MacDonald

This week, the VA observed the 20th anniversary of the Center for Minority Veterans, which included a ceremony on 24 Sep 2014 in Washington, D.C. The center advises senior VA leaders and was created after advocacy efforts by minority veterans groups who were concerned that their needs would not be addressed by the VA.

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NOCVA National Coordinators Cel Aguigui and Larry Cruz with Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. MacDonald

Terri Smith, NOCVA’s Senior Advisor for Chamorro Veterans Women’s Advisory Group, and VA Secretary Robert MacDonald (with Sheila Mitchell, Ret., Air Force)

NOCVA National Coordinators Attend VA Roundtable Discussion, Jan 2012

Roundtable meeting with VA Secretary, Jan 2012

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On 31 January 2012, NOCVA National Coordinators Cel Aguigui and Larry Cruz were invited to participate in a roundtable discussion with Veterans Affairs Secretary General Eric Shinseki, held in Washington, DC.

The goal of the meeting, an outreach effort by the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), was to highlight the VA’s work in leveraging partnerships with the AAPI community.

Hosted by Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the roundtable gathered high-level Veterans Affairs officials, other federal leaders, and representatives from the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, Japanese American Citizen League, National Alliance for Filipino Veterans, National Filipino Veterans for Equity, National Organization of Chamorro Veterans in America, and others, in discussions of great importance to AAPI veterans: data collection, access to healthcare, and veterans benefits.

This roundtable could not have come at a more crucial time, as the data from the 2010 Census revealed that AAPIs are one of the fastest growing racial groups in this country. Among the nearly 17 million AAPIs across the nation, there are over 265,000 Asian American veterans and 28,000 Native Hawaiian and/or Pacific Islander veterans.

Over the past three years, the Obama Administration has provided unprecedented levels of funding to help veterans. Secretary Shinseki and his team said they are committed to ensuring that veterans are receiving the services and benefits they have earned, and that they receive this support in a timely manner.

In this effort, NOCVA will continue to work with Veterans Affairs officials on behalf of Chamorro veterans in the 50 states, Guam, and the CNMI.