City Limits: NYC Needs a Mayor’s Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Affairs (Opinion)
By Anita Gundanna and Vanessa Leung, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families
‘AAPI New Yorkers deserve to be heard in the halls of power, and we need a mayor who will recapture our diverse communities’ support and confidence.’
The diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in New York City is finally beginning to receive the focused attention it has long needed, and we deserve City Hall’s concrete commitment.
We call on Mayor Eric Adams to strengthen City Hall’s relationship with New York’s AAPI community by establishing a Mayor’s Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Affairs to effectively address our distinct community needs. While we are encouraged by the fact that the mayor has already appointed several highly qualified AAPIs to positions in his administration, New York City’s AAPI community requires much more in order to reach its full potential and thrive.
The city’s AAPI population—the highest of any U.S. city, at 1.5 million—is the city’s fastest growing racial group and over the past decade has accounted for more than half of the city’s population growth, having doubled every decade since 1970 and expanded into more neighborhoods. Making up nearly 18 percent of the city’s population, our communities are strong economic drivers and more civically engaged than ever before. We comprise the fastest growing voter base in New York City. AAPI New Yorkers deserve to be heard in the halls of power, and we need a mayor who will recapture our diverse communities’ support and confidence.
We hope that the incoming administration will be a proactive partner in City Hall and work with us towards Adams’ vision for a more efficient, effective, and equal city that truly sees and serves all New Yorkers.
Anita Gundanna and Vanessa Leung are co-executive directors of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families. The following organizations are also joining the authors’ call for the city to establish the Mayor’s Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Affairs: A Place for Kids, Academy of Medical & Public Health Services, Inc., Adhikaar, Apex for Youth, ApichaCommunity Health Center, Arab-American Family Support Center, Asian American/Asian Research Institute – CUNY, Asian Americans for Equality, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) NY, CMP, Caribbean Equality Project, Center for All Abilities, Center for the Integration and Advancement of New Americans (CIANA), Chhaya CDC, Chinatown YMCA, Chinese-American Family Alliance for Mental Health, Chinese-American Planning Council, Chinese Progressive Association, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF), Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans (CAPA), Community Inclusion & Development Alliance (CIDA), Council of Peoples Organization, Damayan Migrant Workers Association, Filipino American Human Services, Inc., GAPIMNY—Empowering Queer & Trans Asian Pacific Islanders, Grand Street Settlement, Hamilton-Madison House, Henry Street Settlement, Homecrest Community Services, Immigrant Health & Cancer Disparities Services, MSKCC, Immigrant Social Services, Inc., India Home, Indochina Sino-American Community Center, Japanese American Association of New York, Japanese American Social Services, Inc., Korean American Family Service Center, Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York, Mekong NYC, MinKwon Center for Community Action, NAPAWF, National Federation of Filipino American Associations – NY Chapter (NaFFAA-NY), OCA-NY, Pilipino American Unity for Progress – NY Chapter (UniPro-NY), NYU Center for Study of Asian American Health, Parent-Child Relationship Association, Sakhi for South Asian Women, Sapna NYC, South Asian Council for Social Services, South Asian Youth Action, Turning Point for Women and Families, United Chinese Association of Brooklyn, University Settlement, United Sikhs, Womankind, Women for Afghan Women, Yemeni American Merchants Association, YWCA of Queens, YMCA of Greater New York