Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, Murray Hill) and Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan), Co-Chairs of the Asian Pacific American Legislative Task Force, this hosted the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration & Advocacy Day in Albany.
They were joined by over a hundred community members and advocates, members of the FDNY Phoenix Society, the NYPD’s Jade Society and other supporting groups to celebrate the achievements of New York’s Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Kim officially introduced the annual Legislative Resolution commemorating May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month while Niou formally introduced the visiting firefighters and police officers on the assembly floor and also spoke on the Asian American and Pacific Islander resolution.
Other participants included representatives from the Chinese-American Planning Council, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, Asian Americans for Equality, Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, as well as AARP and AT&T — the primary sponsors of the event.
In the afternoon, the Asian American advocacy groups in attendance met with lawmakers to advocate for the legislation and issues that most directly impact their communities — including the need for data disaggregation to ensure that the disparities among different ethnic groups in the APA community are truly recognized and fully addressed.
“When I joined the Assembly, I was the only Asian American in the entire state legislature. I never imagined that just a few years later, Assemblymember Niou and I would be co-hosting an APA Heritage event as founders of the Asian Pacific American Legislative Task Force,” said Kim.
“Representation matters — for those in and out of the public spotlight. Today we are honoring men and women from our communities who represent the best of New York, serving their state as dedicated civil servants for the NYPD and FDNY. We are joined by advocacy groups and community leaders from across our state, who are here not only to celebrate the extraordinary impact Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have had on our country, but to continue to advocate for issues that define our communities,” he added.
Niou said she was honored to have the opportunity to introduce the members of the F.D.N.Y Phoenix Society and the N.Y.P.D. Jade Society on the Assembly floor.
“These individuals serve our communities every single day, and they deserve to be recognized for their work. Our community is proud to have growing numbers of Asian American and Pacific Islander first responders and law enforcement officers in New York. More Asian American and Pacific Islander firefighters, police officers and medical technicians means that members of the community are more likely to be able to communicate with first responders in their own language and who understand their culture. This can make all the difference during times of need,” said Niou.
Also joining in the celebration were Assemblymembers Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria, Long Island City) and David Weprin (D-Richmond Hill, Fresh Meadows).
“As a founding member of the Asian Pacific American Task Force and as the representative of one of the largest Asian-American populations in the State; I am honored to welcome the community leaders, advocates, first responders, and other members of the Asian and Pacific Islander community in Albany today,” said Weprin.
“Diversity is New York’s greatest strength and I am grateful to the Co-Chairs of the Asian Pacific American Task Force, Assemblymember Ron Kim and Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, for their work to showcase the many accomplishments and contributions of New York’s Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration & Advocacy Day,” he added.
FDNY Phoenix Society President David Lin said the Association’s objective is to be united in the effort of promoting the interest and welfare of New York City Fire Department’s personnel who are Asian, Asian-American or those of Asian descent.
“Our society also seeks to enhance the relationship between the Asian community and FDNY by networking amongst those interested in professional and personal development, while emphasizing the preservation of Asian American identity. The society provides resources and guidance that inspires, empowers, develop and support professionalism within FDNY to become community-oriented leaders,” said Lin.
“Our most recent example of this is our Mandarin class at Flushing High School, where our members come each week to learn one of the languages in the Asian community and learn more about Asian culture. The class is sponsored by the FDNY Foundation, it’s in its third year, and we’re very pleased with its success. Our society believes it’s important to share our culture with the Department and welcome the Asian community into the Department,” he added.
Eugene Canapi, President, NYPD Asian Jade Society, Inc. said that as an organization they feel it’s important to know that the community they serve appreciates the work and effort that each and every member strive to achieve on a daily basis.
“The Society is the epitome of Diversity with a grass roots focus on community interaction and collaboration. We want and need your help to continue to change the face of the NYPD, to ensure that diversity, equity, inclusion and fairness is at the forefront of the Departments Policy,” said Canapi.