6th Annual Asian American Community Development Conference Part I

By William Kustiono

Asian Americans for Quality presents 6th Annual Asian American Community Development Conference at New York University’s Kimmel Center. The aim of this conference is to spur a dialogue with leaders in community development, government, advocacy, philanthropy, and the private sector about groundbreaking work to preserve and develop our neighborhoods, to build power and influence for our communities, and to increase the civic participations of Asian Americans in New York City.

This year’s conference is focusing on solving local issues and providing solutions that will be benefit all of us. The discussed issues in the conference are:

  • What does the Asian American community look like in New York City and New York State?

  • What are economic development and anti-poverty strategies that will transform local neighborhoods and small business?

  • What is at stake for the Asian American community in the 2013 election and the broader movement for comprehensive immigration reform?

The conference has five important topics: Demographic Change, Immigration, Economic, Housing, and Civic Participation. The conference is divided into two panels and two workshop sessions. The morning plenary panel covers the topic “Growth, Challenges and Opportunities: Asian Americans in New York City and New York State”. Speaker Howard Shih, Census Program Director at the Asian American Foundation in New York, opened the conference with an introduction to the morning panelists. The panelists are The Honorable Daniel Dromm, City Council Member District 25, Allison Sesso, Human Services Council, Seema Agnani, Chhaya CDC, Isabelle Leighton, Asian Americans and Pacifics Islanders in Philanthropy and moderator Lisa Hasegawa, National CAPACD.

The panel raises important issues regarding the future of the Asian American community in New York City and across the State. As our population shifts to new neighborhoods, how will government agencies and community service providers respond to the needs in our community? With the growing number of Asians actively participating in our political process, whether as candidates, voter or donors, how will Asian Americans negotiate the new challenges and responsibilities of their new place at the table? Increasing economic contributions of Asian New Yorkers bring up questions of how Asian small business, which are more likely to have paid employees, expand and grow from local to regional to even international markets.

Following the morning plenary panel, we continue to the Workshop Session One with three different topics: “Adaptive Re-Use as a Strategy for Community Revitalization”, “Innovative Strategies for Poverty Alleviation”, and “The Opportunity for Comprehensive Immigration Reform”.

The first topic in the workshop is “Adaptive Re-Use as a Strategy for Community Revitalization.” New York City and metropolitan areas across the United States have experienced significant shifts in their demographic, key industries, financial resources, and aging infrastructure in recent decades. The panelist are: Josh Shelton, El Dorado Inc. and Hardesty Renaissance, Meta Brunzema, Meta Brunzema Architects PC, Joan Byron, Pratt Center for Community Development, and Moderator Boome Jung, Enterprise Community Partners.

The second topic in the workshop is “Innovative Strategies for Poverty Alleviation.” This panel discussed about innovative strategies to address poverty in this city, including workforce development, asset-building, human capital development, and social impact bond financing. The panelists are: Kristin Morse and Mark Levitan, NYC Center for Economic Opportunity, Wendy Fleischer, Neighborhood Opportunities Fund, Mamta Gurung, Chhaya CDC, Mary Abbate, Queens Community House, and moderator Steve Flax, M&T Bank.

The third topic covered in the first workshop is “The Opportunity for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.” This topic discussions is about the impact of new immigration legislation will have on detention and deportation, family reunification, DREAMers, path to legalization for undocumented immigrants, and workers’ rights as they relate to the Asian American community. The panelists are: Luna Lanjit, Adhikaar for Human Rights, Jacki Esposito, New York Immigration Coalition, Noilyn Abesamis-Mendosa, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, Mae Lee, Chinese Progressive Association, and moderator Yuh-Line Niou, Office of New York State Assembly Member Ron Kim.

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