Las Vegas confab targets Asian-Americans

Link to Original Article from Asian Journal


A nationwide coalition of Asian-American groups has started organizing a conference in Las Vegas that will focus on job creation and homeownership preservation for women, veterans and minorities in the city.

But a more important goal of the conference is to put the spotlight on Asian-Americans in Nevada particularly in this election season, the National Asian-American Coalition (NAAC) noted.

“Las Vegas has so much leverage right now since [Nevada] is a swing state. It is also the hardest hit by the recession,” NAAC president Faith Bautista said.

“Asian-Americans have that power here in Nevada. The Filipino American community has the unique power because it’s the majority of Asian Americans,” Robert Gnaizda, NAAC general counsel, meanwhile said.

“The view of Asian Americans throughout the US is going to be what they take from here,” Gnaizda added.

Bautista and Gnaizda met with community and business leaders in Las Vegas last July 20 to ask for their input on the NAAC-initiated conference in September.

NAAC, formerly known as Mabuhay Alliance, is a pan-Asian group that advocates social justice by helping empower communities of color. Its primary mission “is to empower 18.5 million Asian Americans to become a national, as well as a state and local economic powerhouse.”

At the Las Vegas conference in September, some 1000 local small business owners, veteran, women, and minority business owners will be invited. They will be given information on financing as well as technical assistance in getting government contracts. Representatives from Fortune 500 corporations will also be invited as well as local banks and corporations in the state.

NAAC also plans to invite President Obama and senior White House officials as well as representatives from the Small Business Administration to see what these officials can offer to solve issues of Asian-Americans in the city.

“We want to put the [attention] on the Asian community. That’s really what it is. We want to tell them that we’re here, that we’ve been here. Look at us. Serve us,” Bautista said.

Bautista noted that the Romney campaign have gotten in touch with their group in a bid to reach out to the Asian American community as well.

“I think Nevada should be the key primary here in the sense of the key test of who is going to be president of the US. We should make both of them offer us many opportunities,”

Nevada is home to the fastest growing Asian-American population in the nation, numbers from the US Census Bureau showed. At a 116 per cent growth from 2000-2010, the group even outgrew the perennially fast-growing Hispanic population in the state which grew at a slower 81.9 per cent in the same period.

Asian Americans make up some 10 per cent of Nevada’s total population. But this is enough to sway a close election such as what is anticipated in this November presidential polls. This is what happened in the 2004 election when George W. Bush managed a second term pushed by his win in Nevada by a small 2.6 percentage points.


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