New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced a $10 million fund for Asian Americans disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund, which will be distributed to over 100 groups, is the largest investment the state has ever made for the Asian American community, according to the governor’s office.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on so many vulnerable and marginalized communities across New York State,” Hochul said in a statement. “The Asian American community was especially hard hit, not only by the virus, but by an increase in hate and violent crimes.”
Across major U.S. cities, New York recorded the most anti-Asian hate crimes in 2021. From just 30 in 2020, total cases soared to approximately 133, with experts believing that many remain unreported.
Violence persists less than two months into the current year. Just last week, Christina Yuna Lee was fatally stabbed in her Chinatown apartment, less than a month after Michelle Go was shoved to her death in front of a train in the Times Square station.
“With this $10 million in funding, we are sending a strong message that hate has no home here, and we will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our sisters and brothers in the Asian American community,” Hochul said. “My administration is laser focused on continuing to help communities that have for too long been forgotten, not only as we recover from this pandemic, but for years to come.”
Hochul first broke the news in a Lunar New Year parade held in Chinatown on Sunday. Mayor Eric Adams, who recently visited Albany, was also present at the event.
Of the $10 million fund, $6.8 million will be given to the Asian American Federation (AAF), which will then direct it to 59 community organizations that provide direct services, case management and mental health support.
Another 40 organizations that serve a wide range of communities will receive $1.4 million in legislative aid from the State Assembly.
The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) will receive more than $1 million, which will be used in partnership with several organizations to enhance youth services focused on social emotional development and mental well-being.
Finally, the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC), a social services organization, will receive almost $700,000 to help empower Asian American, immigrant and low-income communities by ensuring equitable access to resources and opportunities.
Recipients thanked Hochul for the critical funding.
“We thank Gov. Hochul for her investment and commitment in providing the resources that New York’s Asian American community needs now more than ever. With the tragedies that our community has experienced since the start of the pandemic, and painfully so over the last few months, many Asian Americans are fearful for their own lives when stepping out of their homes,” said AAF Executive Director Jo-Ann Yoo.
“The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families is so grateful to the Governor’s Office for their support of our innovative healing-centered youth programming to address the social emotional needs of our young people,” said Anita Gundanna and Vanessa Leung, co-executive directors of the CACF. “Through this crisis intervention funding, CACF with eight of our organizations have collaboratively developed a curriculum to support young people’s healthy sense of self, community connection and belonging, and self-agency.”
“We would like to thank the Governor’s Office and State legislators for critical funding to support the Asian American and Pacific Islander community,” said CPC President and Chief Executive Officer Wayne Ho. “CPC looks forward to receiving this funding from the State to continue addressing our community members’ health, economic, and safety needs.”
In her Lunar New Year speech, Hochul likened the Asian American community to the tiger.
“When I see this crowd, it says to me one thing, that New York is as strong as the tiger. We are tough, courageous, resilient, and we always fight back,” she said. “Let us roar like the tiger as we continue to fight our way back, claw our way back, because we are New York!”
Adams also encouraged the community to “roar back.”
“This community was devastated by COVID and anti-Asian violence. This is the Year of the Tiger, and you’re going to hear the roar all over this city as we roar back in a strong way. We’re coming back and we will support you in a real way.”