March 10, 2021 – Welcome to AAFE’s first virtual Lunar New Year Gala. For four decades, we at AAFE have gathered in person with our extended family in Chinatown to usher in the new year, celebrate all we have accomplished together in the past year and look ahead to the new challenges that await us in our continuing pursuit of equality for all. This year, of course, is different. While social distancing protocols prevent us from celebrating in-person as usual, we cherish the opportunity to join with you tonight to acknowledge all that we have been through together in the past year. This year’s theme — Uplifting Grassroots Responders — highlights the work of some of the remarkable organizations helping our communities overcome Covid. This evening we are honoring Chinatown Block Watch, House of Good Deeds, Jackson Heights COVID Care Network and Think!Chinatown.
Honorees: 47th Annual Lunar New Year Gala
Chinatown Block Watch is an all-volunteer organization founded in the early days of the pandemic to help seniors and other local residents feel safe in the face of rising anti-Asian violence. Longtime Chinatown community organizer Karlin Chan started the group, which has now grown to more than 40 people. Members live in all parts of the city, but are united in their commitment to the neighborhood. They patrol the streets of Chinatown and the Lower East Side twice a week, checking in with business owners and residents and helping to distribute information about community aid programs.
The House of Good Deeds is a nonprofit organization that encourages altruism. The four year-old group’s mission is to, “build community and improve the world one Good Deed at a time through people helping people: everyone, everywhere, every day.” AAFE has partnered with The House of Good Deeds to organize free monthly community markets, providing food, clothing and household items to families struggling to overcome the economic impacts of the pandemic.
COVID Care Neighbor Network is a mutual aid group that helps support neighbors struggling to deal with the impacts of the pandemic in some of New York City’s hardest hit communities. They work in the neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and Woodside, Queens. The group started after co-founder Nuala O’Doherty-Naranjo began leaving post-it notes on neighbors’ doors offering to help in any way she could. To fulfill the group’s mission of “neighbors helping neighbors,” they started delivering food packages through the height of the pandemic. Starting in July, a team of five bilingual social workers and volunteers began calling each and every one of the more than 1,000 families who received a food package or called for assistance. Covid Care is now serving as a robust neighborhood resource center.
Think!Chinatown is a non-profit based in Manhattan’s Chinatown, dedicated to listening, responding and building Chinatown’s capacities as a strong and vibrant immigrant neighborhood. Its mission is to foster inter-generational community through neighborhood engagement, storytelling and the arts. They believe the process of listening, reflecting & celebrating develops the community cohesion and trust necessary to take on larger neighborhood issues. Their aim is to overcome barriers of community organizing where socio-economic factors, language, and cultural barriers create challenges for immigrant communities’ autonomy to make decisions in their own neighborhood. Think!Chinatown was built to push from within the neighborhood to shape better policies and programs that define our public spaces, to celebrate our cultural heritage, and to innovate how our collective memories are represented.
AAFE would like to thank all of the individuals and organizations who gave generously in support of our 47th Annual Lunar New Year gala:
Heidie Joo Burwell
Joanie Straussman Brandon
Kathleen Wah Lee
Luxenburg & Bronfin
Yee Ling Poon
Tali Farhadian Weinstein
Jin Liu – So-il
Betty Lee Hawks
Yee Ling Poon