Today we are excited to announce three of the community leaders who will be recognized with special awards at our 45th Annual Lunar New Year Banquet March 21, 2019.

Our honorees include Gregg Bishop, commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS); Jin Park, the first DACA recipient to win a Rhodes scholarship; and Yee Ling Poon, an AAFE founder and attorney who has worked tirelessly to help immigrants fight for their rights. 

We will honor these extraordinary individuals at our banquet, celebrate Lunar New Year and look forward to the year ahead in community development and immigrant advocacy. If you haven’t done so already, we hope you will reserve your tickets for the AAFE gala, which will take place at Jing Fong Restaurant in Manhattan’s Chinatown.

More about our honorees: 

Gregg Bishop has been commissioner at SBS since November of 2015, and has worked at the agency since 2008. Under his leadership, the city’s small business office has been focused on promoting self sufficiency and equal opportunity in New York’s many diverse neighborhoods. AAFE affiliate, Renaissance Economic Development Corporation, has worked closely with SBS to further these goals on behalf of immigrant, low-income and minority entrepreneurs citywide.  As the New York Times noted in a recent profile, Bishop has, “certified a record number of minority- and women-owned businesses, and expanded (SBS) to better serve immigrant entrepreneurs.” He’s an adjunct professor at Baruch College’s Marxe School of Public and International Affairs and board president of a nonprofit, the Red Hook Initiative. Bishop was born in Grenada and grew up in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. He previously worked at NPower, a nonprofit that provides tech skills training for people in underserved communities; Oxygen Media; The Street.com and VIBE Magazine.

In November, Jin Park was named a Rhodes Scholar, the first recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA to win the prestigious award. Now the Harvard University graduate is preparing to go to England in October to study at Oxford University. But due to his immigration status, Park doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to return. The 22-year-old student of molecular and cellular biology came to this country from South Korea at the age of 7. He grew up in Flushing, Queens. Park’s mother worked in a beauty salon and his father was a line cook in a Korean restaurant. In a moving editorial published Jan. 11, Park called his scholarship bittersweet, writing, “” the Trump administration rescinded the option for overseas travel for those with DACA status, the Dreamers who were brought to this country illegally as children. This means that when I leave the country in October to study at Oxford with my fellow Rhodes scholars, I may not be able to come back.” Park has become an activist, fighting for the rights of all Dreamers. He also started a nonprofit, Higher Dreams, which helps undocumented students obtain higher education. 

Yee Ling Poon (right) with AAFE Board President Lydia Tom. Photo by Whitney Browne for AAFE.

At this year’s banquet, Yee Ling Poon will be presented with our Lifetime Achievement Award.  One of AAFE’s founding members and a former president of the organization, Poon is a dedicated immigration attorney in New York City.  Last year, she successfully represented Xiu Qing You, a Queens resident who faced deportation after trying to attend a green card interview. Back in the 1970s, Poon was a member of Basement Workshop, and founded the Chinese Historical Society (now Museum of Chinese in America) to preserve the oral history and artifacts of Chinese immigrants. She has led many activist campaigns,  including the fight for Chinese-American representation on New York City’s school board, demonstrations against police brutality and demands for government accountability after the closing of a community bank, Golden Pacific National Bank. 

It’s going to be an inspiring and entertaining evening on March 21. Join our celebration!

If you would like to order tickets for AAFE’s banquet online, click here. You can also call Jessica Liu at 212-299-0531 or order via email at aafebanquet@aafe.org.