An organization promoting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in politics and public affairs has released its second list celebrating rising professionals.
The National Association of Asian Pacifics in Politics and Public Affairs (NAAPPPA) published its second “40 Under 40” list of AAPIs excelling in American politics Friday.
The bipartisan list highlights workers who are increasingly filling professional unelected positions in the political sphere.
“We also leaned towards AAPIs in ‘unconventional’ roles like communications, since many people appear to seem surprised that AAPIs speak English well or at all,” Bill Wong, a founder of NAAPPPA, told NBC News.
Wong also noted that there is a growing number of AAPI chiefs of staff and AAPIs who serve in unique roles in the White House or the Hill.
NAAPPPA honorees this year include Ninio Fetalvo, White House assistant press secretary; May Davis, White House assistant staff secretary; Krystal Ka’ai, executive director of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Congressional Caucus; and Steven Cheung, White House special assistant to the president and assistant communications director.
In an email to NBC News, Cheung spoke highly of his experience working under President Donald Trump.
“President Trump has created an environment where diversity, inclusiveness and tolerance are celebrated, and equal opportunity is afforded to everybody, Cheung said. “Serving President Trump since the campaign and working in a White House where those values are championed has been the honor of a lifetime.”
NAAPPPA is a national non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and developing AAPI professionals in fields related to politics, including public affairs and legislative advocacy. The organization was established in 2016, when it also released its first “40 Under 40” list.
“Inwardly, we joke that NAAPPPA started as the support group for children of AAPI tiger parents who are disappointed that their kids did not become doctors, lawyers, or engineers,” Wong said. “We want young AAPIs and their parents to know that a career in politics and public affairs is exciting, impactful, and rewarding.”