CPC Joins Community Partners for Asian Pacific American Advocacy Day at City Hall
On March 15th, 2017, CPC joined leaders, staff, students, and clients representing 45 Asian-led and Asian-serving organizations on the steps of City Hall for the 9th Annual Asian Pacific American (APA) Advocacy Day as part of the 15% and Growing Coalition, which seeks to garner equal social services funding for its constituents through focused, purposeful, and continuous advocacy.
15% and Growing Coalition Member Organizations at City Hall
With appeals echoing The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) Interim Executive Director Henrietta Ho-Asjoe, who stated that “The needs of our community are growing, and we need resources to meet the demands that our communities deserve, so that we can all thrive in New York City," the rally sought to bring to light the sheer lack of equal funding to our populations. CACF is a member organization who served as the lead organizer for this year’s APA Advocacy Day. Their mission is to improve the health and well-being of Asian Pacific American children, youth and families through programs and policy campaigns, as well as conducting concentrated advocacy for better policies, funding and access to services.
Community organization leaders, including CPC, stood in solidarity with one another in a consolidated effort to advocate for a change in the huge disparity in government funding for the Asian Pacific American populations of our city. Long plagued by the model minority myth, the generalized idea that Asian Pacific Americans are simply immune to any need of assistance, our populations are equally as affected by socio-economic barriers as any other group. The diaspora of our communities represents over 15% of New York City residents and is the fastest growing population according to census data.Yet, APA organizations receive only about 3.2% of discretionary funding and 1.4% of NYC ‘s social services contract dollars. The gap in funding reinforces the barrier for our constituents’ access to educational, health care, employment, child care, and other social services resources that could bring them closer to economic self sufficiency.
CPC staff Kay Xie prepping meeting materials with an Adult Literacy Student
The 15% and Growing Coalition held a planning session lead by CACF at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center in the weeks leading up to the event, which featured a full house of staffers from its member organizations all lending their perspectives, input, and concerns in light of the recent political climate. Many spoke of the paramount need and duty of our organizations to stand by our communities during these troubling times fraught with high racial tensions, threats of deportation, anxieties over the potential loss of the Affordable Healthcare Act, all compounded with the realities of living in one of the most financially burdening cities in America. The group went over the main asks we planned to advocate for during APA Advocacy Day, which are:
1) Increase discretionary dollars to APA -led and -serving organizations
2) Expand initiative funding for the Communities of Color Nonprofit Stabilization Fund & Access Health NYC
3) Stabilize and expanding immigrant-serving initiatives
4) Preserve services associated with funding for sanctuary cities.
For the past 2 fiscal years, the New York City Council has dedicated $2.5 million towards the Communities of Color Nonprofit Stabilization Fund, which aims to build organizational capacity through investing in leadership development, information management and gathering technology, evaluation procedures, and new program planning in order to better serve our demographics. These funds, while an amazing catalyst for growth and development, should be increased to $5 million in order to support the continuing innovation and outreach efforts of our fellow community organizations, whose populations are ever increasing with each passing year.
Access Health NYC is a city-wide initiative that funds community organizations to provide education, outreach, and assistance to all New Yorkers about accessing health coverage. With the uncertain outlook of the Affordable Care Act, the importance of finding proper health care for this city’s residents should be be at the forefront of these budgeting conversations.
New York City, intrinsically and historically paved with the the hard work of our immigrant families, has been a haven for those simply looking for a better life for their themselves and loved ones for centuries. Our mayor, Bill de Blasio, has joined arms with other major metropolises across the nation in declaring New York a sanctuary city, and thus the Coalition joined our efforts to advocate for increased funding to expand our immigrant-serving initiatives and preserving sanctuary city services.
CPC staffers Kevin Tse (right) and Bryan Lucero (left) go over their talking points
The group, many of whom were first-time advocaters spurred into action by the overwhelming needs of our communities, familiarized themselves with the city’s budgetary processes and the Council Members that they would ultimately meet with, coming up with action plans to utilize our speaking time to the best of our abilities. And on the morning of March 15, APA Advocacy Day,
CPC staff members Lauren Yu, Jay Qiu, Kevin Tse, Sachaly De Leon, Alexander Pence, Bryan Lucero, Shuk King Cheng, Kay Xie, Emily Gorbach, Amy Torres, and Brian Chen united with our coalition allies on the steps on City Hall prepared to make our constituents’ voices heard.
CPC Staff met with Council Members and staffers from the offices of Julissa Ferraras-Copeland (District 21), Carlos Menchaca (District 38), Margaret Chin (District 1), Deborah Rose (District 49), Antonio Reynoso (District 34), Vincent Gentile (District 43), and Ben Kallos (District 5) over the course of the day. Many of these officials have been long-time proponents and supporters of both CPC and the array of APA organizations in attendance.
Council Member Reynoso staff with CPC's Amy Torres and Kay Xie
While we honor and thoroughly appreciate the contributions and continuing support of our officials, many of whom consistently stand by our efforts year in and out, the fact remains that our services must continue to be enhanced and improved in order to keep up with our ever growing populations and changing needs. CPC alone serves over 8,000 individuals and their families on a daily basis across the city. Added with our Coalition members’ service areas, the number of people that need services is staggering and funds are a perennial concern. We do our utmost to support their advancement, but we are always looking to do more.
Coalition members meet with Council Member Kallos
While we await the outcomes of City Council budgetary hearings and discussions over the course of the next few months, CPC, the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, and all of its member organizations will continue to work for our communities and strive to further their advancement to reach economic self sufficiency and beyond.
The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, who serves as the lead agency for the 15% and Growing Coalition, and their member organizations can be found here