Summit participants outside the White House.

WASHINGTON — Twenty-five JACL and OCA National members traveled from across the country to attend the 2013 JACL/OCA Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. from March 16 to 19.

Tina Tchen, chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, greeted the participants during a White House briefing.

The three-day summit is designed to expand the participants’ knowledge on issues affecting the Asian American/Pacific Islander community and civil rights community, and to deepen their commitment to achieving equity and equality for their communities.

The program included workshops, discussions, and panels on AAPI history, coalition building within AAPI community and broader civil rights community, and advocacy training, and culminated with Capitol Hill visits where participants met with congressional staffers to lobby on immigration reform and anti-bullying legislation.

Participants had the unique opportunity to meet with a large number of leading AAPI advocates, experts and policy-makers. At a White House briefing in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, participants were greeted by Tina Tchen, the chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, and were briefed on immigration reform, education, military hazing and federal government programs and internships by White House advisors.

Speakers included Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside).

This year’s special guests also included former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose), Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) and Delegate Mark Keam, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.

The selected 2013 JACL participants were: Roberta Barton (Fresno), Eri Kameyama (APAN), Colette Masunaga (Florin), Khai Nguyen (Gulf Coast-API), Nancy Okubo (SELANOCO), Lisa Olsen (Idaho Falls), Kenneth Oye (New England), Heidi Park (Seattle), Stephen Rutherford (St. Louis), Tamio Spiegel (New York City), Beth Uno (Florin), and Jeffrey Yamashita (Berkeley).

This year’s summit would not have been possible without the generous support of sponsors State Farm and Southwest Airlines.

Summit participants heard from Delegate Mark Keam, the first Korean American and first Asian immigrant to serve in the Virginia General Assembly.

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