Group celebrates $20M investment for AAPI communities

As the AAPI community continues to be targeted as a result of the pandemic, a local coalition celebrated a big win for the community last week.

In the spirit of AAPI Heritage Month, the AAPI Equity Budget Coalition, a coalition of over 50 AAPI community leaders and organizations, commended a historic $20 million investment in AAPI communities in the Fiscal Year 2022-23 state budget.

This investment is significant because the dollar amount in state funding has doubled since last year’s first-ever allocation.

The AAPI Equity Budget Coalition is jointly led by the Asian American Federation (AAF) and the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF).

“The $20 million allocated to Asian-led and Asian-serving organizations that provide essential services and are critical lifelines for our community is another step in the right direction,” Ravi Reddi, associate director of the Asian American Federation, said in a statement.

“We will rely on our state leaders to ensure that the Asian community has access to these funds and that there are further allocations made that will consider that 1-in-4 Asian Americans in New York State live in poverty and that the COVID pandemic combined with anti-Asian hate proved catastrophic for Asian Americans,” Reddi continued. “The work has only just begun, but we’re grateful to have electeds fighting for our community in Albany.”

The AAPI Equity Budget Coalition was founded with the goal of combating anti-Asian hate, the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19, and the historic underfunding of AAPI communities.

The coalition also seeks to expand programs and services related to AAPI education and awareness, as well as create an AAPI State Commission, which would serve to advise the governor’s office on the needs of the AAPI community and examine critical issues like language access among state agencies, departments, and commissions.

“In the face of our communities’ growing challenges impacting the AAPI community, New York State’s commitment to AAPI New Yorkers is a crucial step towards ensuring that our diverse communities are no longer overlooked and under-resourced,” CACF’s Co-Executive Directors Anita Gundanna and Vanessa Leung said.

“Our community organizations know best what our communities need to recover and heal. We are confident that this investment, as shaped by our AAPI coalition, will prove critical in promoting the health, wellness, and safety of our communities.”

The AAPI Equity Budget Coalition also advocates for community issues including gender-based violence, healthcare, senior and youth programs, research, advocacy and legal assistance, as well as multi-service programming such as housing assistance, benefits navigation, small business support, workforce development/job training, food services, legal service, mental health support, violence intervention and prevention, aid to homeowners and tenants, and safety-related services.