On Wednesday, April 27th, several AAFSC staff members joined more than 25 other organizations from all over New York City to participate in Asian Pacific American Advocacy Day – a day that included legislative meetings with City Council representatives, a rally on the steps of City Hall, and networking with hundreds of representatives from other organizations.
“We live in every council district, we drive economic activity in every council district, we vote in every council district.” CEO Wayne Ho speaking about equity for #APA communities @cacf #15percentandgrowing pic.twitter.com/h6odmnz5uu
— CPC (@cpc_nyc) April 25, 2018
APA day focused on the 15% And Growing Campaign, which advocates for city officials to allocate funds to Asian Pacific American needs and organizations – Asian Pacific Americans make up 15% of New York City’s population, and it’s also the fastest growing immigrant population in the city. The campaign strives to increase the amount of the city and state budget that is distributed to the APA community – especially to small, community-based, culturally-specific organizations. The APA community has a 25% poverty rate – the highest of any in the city, and low rates of English proficiency, but funding has not changed to suit the needs of the community.
Members were also advocating for more funding for the Communities of Color Nonprofit Organization Stabilization Fund. Started in 2015, the CCNSF has assisted more than 70 New York City Nonprofits develop programming, train staff, volunteers, and leadership, and develop communications and financial plans. 25 organizations have benefited from the Fund since 2015 – including AAFSC.
— Arab-American Family Support Center (@AAFSC) April 25, 2018
Led by volunteer team leaders from 15% And Growing, teams met with City Council members or their representatives to discuss the need for more funding for APA organizations – including for children and youth services, immigrant services, older adult services, housing and economic security, and violence prevention. The importance of culturally specific organizations is incredibly important in such meetings – while other organizations may be able to provide a wide range of services, specific populations hold specific needs, and those needs may not be met in a general-service program. For example – AAFSC is the only Arabic-speaking healthcare navigator for the New York State Department of Health in all of New York – providing a necessary service for Arabic speakers all over New York State. Some organizations provide culturally-specific food pantries for immigrants seeking out familiar food, and most are able to provide services in a variety of languages.
Thank you @VinceFang from @CM_MargaretChin for meeting with the 15% & Growing Campaign members for a fair and more inclusive budget for NYC's APA communities #15percentapa #15percentandgrowing @cacf @SakhiNYC @iamwomankind @cpc_nyc @AAFSC @CAFAMH and JAANY pic.twitter.com/wDZIeSVy4f
— CMP New York (@CMPNewYork) April 25, 2018
At noon, the organizations and some of their clients assembled on the steps of City Hall to rally for funding – AAFSC’s own Maha Attieh, the director of our health program, spoke on the steps about the importance of funding for culturally-specific nonprofits.
Check out the hashtags #15percentandgrowing and #apaadvocacyday to see more posts and photos from APA advocacy day, and to learn more about the goals and accomplishments of 15% and Growing