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september/october 2007

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Minority Affairs COMMITTEE REPORT

BY JERRY YAMAMOTO, CHAIR
I wish to thank the members of the Minority Affairs Committee for all of their hard work, support, suggestions, participation, and help to veterans during the last two years. They made a difference in the support for our minority veterans and the successful work of our committee. The committee consisted of Connie Steers, Vice Chair; Gumersindo Gomez; Tom Meinhardt; Virgie Hibbler; Joe Jennings; Ed Chow; “Pete” Petersen; Marshall Mudge; Norman Hawkins; and Albert Q. Lewis. Special Advisers were Francisco Ivarra, Nancy Nix, Joe Wynn, and Romain Sewchand.

Listed below are some of the accomplishments of the committee over the past two years:

2005:

Met with members of the VA Center For Minority Veterans Advisory Panel in Washington

2006:

Planned and hosted the Asian-American Pacific Islander Veterans Roundtable in Los Angeles in support of VA Center For Minority Veterans

Testified at the CARES Commission Local Advisory Panel Hearing in Los Angeles

Planned and conducted a Recruitment Seminar at Tucson National Leadership Conference

Testified in San Diego at a VA Veterans Disability Benefits Commission hearing

Manned a booth at the NAACP National Convention in Washington

Worked in the VVA Membership Booth during Veterans Day weekend

Testified at hearings in Los Angeles and Long Beach before the VA Center For Minority Veterans Advisory Panel

Requested and participated in VVA President John Rowan’s inspection visit of the San Juan, Puerto Rico, VA Hospital and Cemetery and met with veterans

Presented the Committee’s inaugural National Diversity Award to Brig. Gen. Ezell Ware at the Tucson Leadership Conference

2007:

Worked in the VVA Membership Booth during Memorial Day Weekend

Presented the second National Diversity Award, in absentia at the Springfield National Convention, to VA Vet Center Director Alfonso R. Batres

Requested mailing of letters to HBO regarding the documentary The War; to the VA on plans for funding and construction of new San Juan, Puerto Rico, VA Hospital; and to the Commandant of the USMC and Secretary of the Navy for award of Medal of Honor

Spoke at a public forum and brown bag lunch hosted in Los Angeles by California Reps. Jane Harman and Bob Filner

Attended the 39th Annual Native American powwow in Los Angeles

Attended the National Native American powwow in Washington

Participated in Americans of Japanese Ancestry All Wars Reunion in Los Angeles

The next two years will involve more active contacts with the minority veteran community nationwide, as well as attending powwows, conferences, and conventions sponsored by minority veteran organizations. The committee also will be investigating the health problems of minority veterans of all generations and their treatment at VA facilities.

The committee is working with VVA’s IT Director to place relevant information and updates on our national website.

I wish to thank John Rowan for reappointing me chair of this committee.

 

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