Houston Community News >> National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Economic Development Conference

5/20/2006 Houston-- Postponed from last year when Hurricane Rita barreled towards Houston, Texas, Asians and Pacific Islanders from across the nation were arriving for a national conference to address issues unique to their fast-growing and diverse population.

This year, the seventh annual convention of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD), concludes today at the George R. Brown Convention Center. "We chose Houston as the site for our convention after Cities in Transition had to be cancelled last year due to Rita and we invited all of those participants to this event," said CAPACD executive director of Lisa Hasegawa.

While CAPACD primarily is a network of community-based social and economic empowerment agencies, the broader themes that inspired last year's aborted meeting are being incorporated. Chief among them is dispelling the myth that the fast-growing Asian-Pacific Islander population is the "model minority". "Asian-Americans have been viewed very positively and that is great, but that perception gets in the way of helping those in the community who are not wealthy, well-educated and successful," says former Houston City Councilman Gordan Quan.

A research report compiled as part of the Cities in Transition activities points out that while more than a fifth of the undergraduate population at MIT and the California Institute of Technology is Asian-American, 50 percent of Cambodian, Laotian and Hmong students never receive their high school diplomas.

And Asian-American owned businesses generate $100,000 less in annual revenue than the national average.

(by Lori Rodriguez)