A message from AAFE’s Co-Executive Directors – March 10, 2020

AAFE’s 46th Annual Lunar New Year Banquet is now a little more than a week away. As we finish up preparations for the big night, we  have some important updates.

As you know, fears around the coronavirus have hit small businesses in the communities AAFE serves very hard. In this difficult time, we believe it’s important to stand in solidarity with the Chinatown business community, which is experiencing the most difficult period since the devastating 9/11 attacks two decades ago. For this reason, we will go ahead with our banquet, a longtime Chinatown tradition, on March 19th. We are, of course, closely monitoring the latest advisories from the city, including the Department of Health, and will take any and all precautions to ensure the safety of our guests and staff. But at the the same time, we agree with the sentiments expressed by the mayor over the weekend: New Yorkers should exercise basic precautions while going about their daily lives.

We have heard and met directly with so many of our community’s small businesses across the city, and their message is loud and clear: “We are on the brink of collapse – we need help now.” These entrepreneurs provide goods and services to our communities, hire locally and, in doing so, uplift themselves and those they employ out of poverty. Now these establishments stand empty, the labor force cut. The loss of these local ecosystems is catastrophic to our neighborhoods.

This is why we have decided that this year, we at AAFE will donate ALL of our net proceeds from the gala entirely to a new Emergency Small Business Relief Fund to help our small businesses survive the coronavirus crisis. In years past, proceeds from the banquet have provided important support for a wide range of programs and services across AAFE. But in these times of crisis, the rationale for our sacrifice is clear. Our neighborhoods without these small businesses are no neighborhoods at all.

AAFE’s small business affiliate, Renaissance Economic Development Corporation, will administer the Emergency Small Business Relief Fund while we continue working with our elected officials and government agencies for additional emergency funding,

The city just unveiled a loan fund for small businesses impacted by coronavirus and the U.S. Congress, thanks to the advocacy of our elected officials – Rep. Nydia Velazquez and Rep. Grace Meng – approved funding for federally-backed small business loans. We are currently in talks with city, state and federal officials about coordinating our efforts.

Working out the details will take some time, but due to the urgency of the situation, we are launching the fund using our own resources right away. In establishing the Emergency Small Business Relief Fund, we are following a model AAFE has successfully employed throughout its history. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Hurricane Sandy and following many other smaller disasters, AAFE Renaissance stepped in immediately with critical help for hundreds of small businesses until government assistance became available.

We know these are uncertain times. While AAFE is moving ahead with this year’s banquet, we understand and respect decisions made by community partners and supporters that may impact staff members’ ability to participate in public events. If you are unable to join us on March 19th, we hope you will consider supporting our Emergency Small Business Relief Fund.

With deep gratitude, we thank our steadfast sponsors who have already pledged towards this relief effort. We challenge more to answer the call of our communities and raise as much as possible to assist our neighborhood small businesses. You can contribute online by filling out the form below.

Best regards,

-Thomas Yu and Jennifer Sun
Co-Executive Directors, Asian Americans for Equality

 

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親愛的朋友,

亞洲人平等會46週年春節晚宴即將於一週後舉行。我們已於最後的準備關頭,但有些重要的訊息分享。

相信大家都知道新冠肺炎是自911事件以來對社區的小商家造成另一波慘烈的衝擊。在這個艱難的時期我們深信不疑的與華埠的小商家業者站在同一陣線。因此,我們保持多年的傳統春節晚宴將於3月19日按造原計劃舉行。同時我們將密切關注疫情的最新發展並根據健康局的建議,盡全力確保我們的職員及客人的安全。此外,我們同意市長在過去這個週末所言: 紐約人應該警惕但過如常的生活。

我們已與許多來自全市的小商家溝通過,他們傳達的訊息強大並清晰:“我們已在崩潰的邊緣-我們現在就需要幫助"。這些小商業是紐約市經濟的骨幹,他們提供社區服務、聘請當地居民。然而現在卻面臨顧客恐懼出門業情蕭條,更甚者不得不因此裁員的情況。

過去,平等會晚宴所籌得的款項大部分均用在社區服務上。今年的情況相當清楚即沒有社區商家的社區不能成型。因此,我們決定在扣除行政開支後捐出晚宴所籌得的所有款項,用於即將推出的緊急貸款幫助小商家渡過難關。

亞洲人平等會振興商業服務中心將協助商家申請有關緊急貸款,紐約市政府日前亦宣佈因新冠肺炎受到影響的小商家貸款政策。我們也感謝聯邦議員維樂貴絲及孟昭文的努力,聯邦政府已通過抗疫貸款的法案。平等會將與民選官員與相關政府單位緊密合作,爭取更多的救急資金。

在公佈更多細節的同時,我們將立即開始緊急貸款作業。我們將取過去平等會就珊迪風災及911事件後的救急貸款成功政策,由亞洲人平等會振興商業服務中心提供商家申請有關緊急貸款,直到政府的相關作業程序正式展開。

我們知道目前有許多未知因素,也瞭解社區的合作夥伴及公司就參與大眾活動的限制。如果您無法參加3月19日的活動,我們希望您考慮加入貢獻緊急小商業貸款的行列。

我們向那些已經表示將捐獻緊急小商業貸款的公司行號及合作同仁表達最誠摯的感謝。並呼籲更多組織加入這個行列。您可以網上捐款或直接與我們聯絡 (請看以下連結)。

 

願安,

 

-俞思亮、孫慧君

亞洲人平等會共同行政總監