Building Our Communities with Resiliency and Strength

Tuesday May 14, 2013  ·  New York University’s Kimmel Center

The aim of the 6th Annual Asian American Community Development Conference is to spur a dialogue with leaders in community development, government, advocacy, philanthropy and the private sector about groundbreaking work to preserve and enhance our neighborhoods, to build power and influence for our communities, and to increase the civic participation of Asian Americans in New York City.

The past year was truly extraordinary for all of us in New York City.  Superstorm Sandy was the most challenging disaster our great city has faced since 9/11.  As we move forward together on neighborhood-based recovery efforts, this year’s conference is intentionally focusing on lifting up local issues and solutions that will be relevant for all on-the-ground practitioners:

  • What does the Asian American community look like in New York City and New York State?
  • What are economic development and anti-poverty strategies that will transform local neighborhoods and small businesses?
  • What is at stake for the Asian American community in the 2013 election and the broader movement for comprehensive immigration reform?


8:30 –9:00am:  Registration & Breakfast – Eisner & Lubin Auditorium 4th Fl


9:00 – 9:15 am:  Welcome & Introductions – Eisner & Lubin Auditorium 4th Fl


9:15 –10:45 am:  Morning Plenary PanelEisner & Lubin Auditorium 4th Fl

Growth, Challenges and Opportunities: Asian Americans in New York City and New York State

Data on the development of the Asian American community in New York City and New York State provides a snapshot of our communities showing that with the increasing growth and diversity come new challenges and opportunities. This panel raises important issues regarding the future of the Asian American community in New York City and across the State. As our population shifts to new neighborhoods, how will government agencies and community service providers respond to the needs in our community. As the number of Asians actively participating in our political process, whether as candidates, voters or donors, how will Asian Americans negotiate the new challenges and responsibilities of their new place at the table? Increasing economic contributions of Asian New Yorkers bring up questions of how Asian small businesses, which are more likely to have paid employees, expand and grow from local to regional to even international markets. A panel of leaders from policy, business, health and human services, research and philanthropy will discuss these findings as well as future opportunities for the Asian American community.

Speaker:  Howard Shih, Asian American Federation


Daniel Dromm, City Council Member District 25

Allison Sesso, Human Services Council

Seema Agnani, Chhaya CDC

Moderator: Lisa Hasegawa, National CAPACD


10:45 – 11:00 am:  Morning Break


11:00 am – 12:15 pm:  Workshop Session I

Adaptive Re-Use as a Strategy for Community Revitalization – Room 406

New York City and metropolitan areas across the United States have experienced significant shifts in their demographics, key industries, financial resources, and aging infrastructure in recent decades. The adaptive re-use of buildings and infrastructure has emerged as a leading strategy to revitalize the built environment of neighborhoods, to bring new goods and services to local communities, and to create economic opportunity for residents. This panel will showcase unique case studies in adaptive re-use that are transforming their surrounding communities.

Josh Shelton, El Dorado Inc. and Hardesty Renaissance

Meta Brunzema, Meta Brunzema Architects PC

Joan Byron, Pratt Center for Community Development


Innovative Strategies for Poverty Alleviation – Room 909

Despite strides made by community development practioners, community organizers and policy makers to build up and preserve our neighborhoods, concentrated poverty persists in too many of our communities. Additionally our communities continue to struggle to achieve in education, health, housing stability, and economic mobility. An expert panel of speakers will discuss innovative strategies to address poverty in this city, including workforce development, asset-building, human capital development, and social impact bond financing.

Kristen Morse, NYC Center for Economic Opportunity

Wendy Fleischer, Neighborhood Opportunities Fund

Mamta Gurung, Chhaya CDC

Mary Abbate, Queens Community House

Moderator: Steve Flax, M&T Bank


The Opportunity for Comprehensive Immigration Reform – Room 912                     

What is happening with Comprehensive Immigration reform in Washington DC? Hear from leaders working in the immigrant rights’ movement who are organizing communities on the ground and advocating for meaningful policy change in Congress. Panelists will discuss the impact that this legislation will have on detention and deportation, family reunification, DREAMers, path to legalization for undocumented immigrants, workers’ rights as they related to the Asian American community.

Luna Ranjit, Adhikaar for Human Rights

Jacki Esposito, New York Immigration Coalition

Noilyn Abesamis-Mendoza, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families

Mae Lee, Chinese Progressive Association


12:15 – 12:30 pm:  Midday Break


12:30 – 1:00 pm:  Luncheon Keynote AddressEisner & Lubin Auditorium 4th Fl

Darryl Towns, Commissioner and CEO of New York State Homes and Community Renewal


1:00 – 2:30 pm:  Luncheon Plenary Panel  – Eisner & Lubin Auditorium 4th Fl

What’s at Stake for the Asian American Community in the 2013 Local Elections?                                              

In 2014 New York City will, for the first time in over a decade, have a new mayor, major city-wide offices will have new officials, and more than half of the City Council will be freshmen members. Hear from city-wide leaders, journalists and political experts on the policy issues taking center stage in the 2013 New York City elections, as well as what is at stake for  the Asian American community city-wide. We will also discuss institutional strategies the next administration will need to consider such as mayoral appointments, language access with public agencies, ensuring that New York continues to be a leader in providing for immigrants’ needs and opportunities. 

Bill Chong, New York City Department for the Aging

Benjamin Dulchin, Association for Neighborhood Housing and Development

Wayne Ho, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families

Maria Castaneda, SEIU 1199

Moderator: Sewell Chan, New York Times


2:30– 2:45 pm:  Afternoon Break


2:45 – 4:00 pmWorkshop Session II

Leadership and Response to Superstorm Sandy – Room 406

Superstorm Sandy was the most devastating disaster New York has seen since 9/11. Across the city communities organized to support one another with immediate assistance and through the rebuilding process. Governmental agencies, foundations and community organizations mobilized their assets to aid in the immediate recovery and help plan for long-term recovery. Hear organizations from across the city who were leading Sandy response and recovery efforts, and what is next in store from local, state and federal plans to aid in this recovery.

Damaris Reyes, Good Old Lower East Side

Denise Scott, LISC-NYC

Eddie Mark, Brooklyn Community Board 13

Joseph McKellar, Faith in New York

Moderator: Gillian Kaye, Kaye Strategies


Real Talk on Small Businesses – Room 909

While small businesses make up the lifeblood of a neighborhood’s vitality and uniqueness, and provide significant employment opportunities to local residents, they also face daily challenges retaining and attracting customers, accessing working capital, navigating with the city, and dealing with taxes and fees. Panelists will discuss their work with small businesses to build local leadership, advocate for the needs of businesses, and promote the growth of small businesses across the city.

Jessie Lee, CAMBA

John Choe, One Flushing Community Economic Development Center

Jonathan Bowles, Center for an Urban Future

Moderator: Peter Cheng, Asian Americans for Equality


Building Civic Participation from the Ground Up – Room 909

Civic participation drives the life force of New York City, and in recent years communities across the city have mapped out new strategies to build civic participation among those who have been traditionally marginalized from civic life: immigrants and non-citizens, working class families, youth, and communities of color to name a few. An expert panel of leaders in civic participation will discuss innovative strategies for how they are working to build the voice, presence and power of communities from the ground up.

Gigi Li, Community Board 3

Linda Sarsour, Muslim Democratic Club

Nazli Parvizi, Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit

Maurice Mitchell, NY Civic Engagement Table


4:00 pm – 4:15 pm:  Afternoon Break


4:15 pm – 5:00 pm:  Reception and Awards Ceremony – Room 914


Pioneer Spirit Awardees:

Judi Stern-Orlando, Astella Development Corporation

Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York City Council District 8

Deborah Boatwright, NewighborWorks America


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