NYC cel­e­brates Asian-Amer­i­can her­itage

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By AMY HE in New York

The New York City Comptroller’s of­fice hon­ored four com­mu­nity lead­ers on Tues­day for their con­tri­bu­tions to the lo­cal Asian-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity in the city, in cel­e­bra­tion of Asian Amer­i­can and Pa­cific Is­lan­der Her­itage Month.

Welling­ton Chen, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor at the Chi­na­town Part­ner­ship Lo­cal Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, was hon­ored along­side Ron Kim, New York State As­sem­bly mem­ber, Theres Ro­driguez, CEO of Apicha Com­mu­nity Health Cen­ter, and Maf Mis­bah Ud­din, trea­surer of Dis­trict Coun­cil 37.

“Asian Amer­i­can and Pa­cific Is­lan­ders make up an im­por­tant part of the multi-eth­nic fab­ric of New York City,” Scott Stringer, New York City comptroller, told China Daily prior to the cel­e­bra­tion Tues­day evening.

“Asian Amer­i­cans have built up our neigh­bor­hoods and have be­come a pow­er­ful force in our city life,” he added.

Chen was rec­og­nized for his work at Chi­na­town Part­ner­ship, a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that works with the Chi­na­town Busi­ness Im­prove­ment Dis­trict to help keep the neigh­bor­hood clean so that peo­ple are en­cour­aged to visit and con­trib­ute to the lo­cal econ­omy. Chen has been work­ing with the Chi­nese-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity for 40 years, since the 1970s.

“It’s al­ways an honor and a priv­i­lege to be rec­og­nized. The Chi­na­town Part­ner­ship is not just one in­di­vid­ual, so it’s recog­ni­tion of what we have done,” Chen said.

Chen said that it’s im­por­tant for the city to rec­og­nize AsianAmer­i­can com­mu­nity lead­ers be­cause the Asian-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity’s sto­ries are still un­known to the main­stream public.

“Many years ago, the New York Times Mag­a­zine had an ar­ti­cle about an Asian-Amer­i­can kid look­ing for an AsianAmer­i­can hero and role model, but he couldn’t find any. The only role model he could find was Bruce Lee, who was al­ready dead,” he said. “I think that’s a recog­ni­tion of the fact of how much of our story is not told. So any time any Asian Amer­i­can is rec­og­nized, our sto­ries are be­ing re­vealed bit by bit. It will be help­ful to the gen­er­a­tions.”

Chen has been ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor at the Chi­na­town Part­ner­ship since 2006, and was a con­sul­tant of the Plan­ning Ad­vo­cacy Group and a com­mis­sioner at the Board of Stan­dards and Ap­peals.

“I un­der­stand in life that you’re meant to do cer­tain things. This is meant to be my role. I spe­cial­ize in this area, I have been in­vested, I have re­ceived count­less train­ing, I’ve been in the trenches, I’ve done side­walk sur­veys, I’ve mea­sured traf­fic, I’ve mea­sured car turns,” he said.

“All of that con­trib­uted to what I am to­day, so I am a well-sea­soned vet­eran of this cam­paign. I know how steep this hill is, still, and that’s why I keep on want­ing to come back to that hill,” he said.

Stringer said that his of­fice has tried to en­gage with the eth­nic com­mu­nity by ap­point­ing the city’s first chief di­ver­sity of­fi­cer.

New York City

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