On January 22, India Republic Day 2011, the Federation of Indian Community Associations (FICA) honored ASIA’s Executive Director, Michael Byun with the “Friend of FICA” award for his contributions to the local South Asian community.
Mr. Byun personally reached out to partner with groups within the community, such as the Asian Indian Women’s Organization, the Sikh, and the Bhutanese refugee groups that may have members with disparities in social or health services. Under his direction, ASIA has partnered with Salaam Cleveland, AAIWO, and Sikh communities to empower them to design their own domestic violence prevention and intervention programs. ASIA also does extensive work with the Bhutanese refugees. Case workers from the community are employed to help with benefits assistance, legal services (including immigration law assistance), and health screenings and preventive health workshops. Last June he organized two bus trips from Akron and Cleveland full of immigrants and Bhutanese refugees to the first ever AAPI legislative day at the State house in Columbus,, where they learned about their collective power and the importance of political engagement. Most heads of organizations leave community relations to their employees, but Mr. Byun is known to go out of his way to personally visit with the community. Last spring, he visited the Shiva Vishnu temple, where ASIA’s community health department was doing diabetes risk assessments, and most recently, during the holidays, he traveled from his home in Akron to North Olmstead for the inauguration of Flavors of India, which is now owned by a Bhutanese family.
See more highlights from the event.