Executive Director Chris Kui met with NYC District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. and other community leaders.

AAFE has joined with its partners in government during the past several weeks to help advocate for equal rights and protections for all members of our community. Here’s a summary of some of the campaigns we have recently joined:

On May 25, Asian Americans for Equality Executive Director Chris Kui and representatives from other community organizations participated in a roundtable conversation with New York City District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. to discuss important criminal justice issues.

“Now more than ever, said DA Vance, “it is important that New Yorkers make use of this office as a community resource and as a safe place to report crime.. I was delighted to host our Chinese-American partners, and I look forward to continued collaboration in the coming months.” During the meeting, the district attorney covered the work of his Office’s Hate Crimes, Immigrant Affairs, and Elder Abuse units. He reminded participants that the D.A.s office is a safe place to report crime—regardless of immigration status.

Groups taking part in the discussion included AAFE; Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association; Womankind; Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York; Chinatown Partnership; and Chinese American Planning Council.

Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, AAFE Executive Director Chris Kui.

Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, AAFE Executive Director Chris Kui.

Also this May, AAFE was proud to join State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assembly members Ron Kim and Yuh-Line Niou in celebrating the creation of the Asian Pacific American Task Force. It’s the first time in the state’s history that a government body has been formed solely to represent the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The mission of the task force will be to research and advocate for issues, policies and laws that impact the fastest growing minority group in the state and the country. 

In a statement, AAFE Executive Director Chris Kui said, “Pushing the bar toward equality will always be one of our country’s greatest strengths and greatest challenges. Like all minorities in America, Asian Americans face a difficult past and an uncertain future –for every two steps forward we are met with a painful step back. But today clearly marks a leap ahead and raises the bar once again, not only for Asian Americans, but for all Americans. Thank you Assembly member Ron Kim for leading this historic drive toward equality.”

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer held a news conference May 30.

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer held a news conference May 30.

On May 30, AAFE came together with NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and dozens of immigrant rights groups in support of his proposal for a New York City Citizenship Fund. The new fund would help cover the spiraling cost of the Federal citizenship application. Since 1989, the comptroller’s office reported, the base cost to file a citizenship application has climbed 500% (it now costs $725 before any other fees are added). Stringer’s proposal would aid New Yorkers with incomes between 150% and 300% of the poverty line. The fund would accept private donations.

Finally, on May 23, AAFE was pleased to stand in support of a new anti-discrimination campaign launched by the NYC Commission on Human Rights. New public service announcements, videos and public events will reinforce all New Yorkers’ right to live, work and pray free from discrimination and harassment. There was a 60 percent increase in reports of discrimination to the NYC Commission on Human Rights in 2016, a trend that continues into 2017.

“The rise in bias crime is an unsettling development that strikes at the heart of every minority group,” said AAFE’s Chris Kui. “Fearing for your own and your family’s safety just for being perceived as different is a painful reality that Asian Americans once again have to face. This campaign is a strong statement that will help assure people that New Yorkers will not tolerate a step back, and we will stand together in the face of hate. I commend Mayor de Blasio and the Commission on Human Rights for taking strong action to defend the rights of all New Yorkers.”