(NEW YORK) — New York state is giving $10 million to organizations that serve Asian American communities.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian Americans across the country have had to cope with discrimination and violence against their communities.
The funding comes at a crucial time for organizations like the Asian American Federation (AAF), which have served as a safety net for many throughout the pandemic.
“People are not leaving their homes, there’s tremendous anxiety and we’re just on edge all the time,” Jo-Ann Yoo, the executive director of Asian American Federation, told ABC News. AAF is one of several organizations that will receive and distribute the funding.
According to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office, this is the largest investment in the Asian American community in the state’s history.
“This news is a really big deal … because nobody’s ever invested money like this in our community,” Yoo said. “This is the governor saying to our community: ‘I heard you. I want to help you. I want to help you to build infrastructure because your community needs it.'”
The money given to AAF will be distributed to local groups that have seen a major increase in demand for programs concerning financial assistance, case management, mental health support, youth programming and more.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on so many vulnerable and marginalized communities across New York State,” Hochul said in Sunday’s announcement. “The Asian American community was especially hard hit, not only by the virus, but by an increase in hate and violent crimes.”
Hate crimes against Asians in New York City have risen by about 361% since last year, from 28 to 129, according to the NYPD Hate Crime Review Panel.
Nationwide, a total of 10,370 hate incidents against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) persons were reported to Stop AAPI Hate from March 19, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021.
Groups like AAF, the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) and the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) have played an integral role in unifying the community during this collective time of grief.
“The siege against Asian Americans continues unabated, as does our need for additional resources,” said New York state senator John Liu in the announcement. “We must address a range of needs such as community safety, services for youth and senior citizens, mental health support for Asian New Yorkers, and the implementation of AAPI curriculum in public schools.”
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