Sep 21, 2020
To see how deep the impacts of COVID19 and racial inequity go, take a look at Flushing, Queens. With a population that is 70% Asian, it is also New York City’s fourth most congested business district. It appeared, pre-pandemic, to be a bustling neighborhood of working people. In reality, incomes for many were so limited they relied on food pantries to feed their families. Many now have no incomes at all. The truth, as John Park, executive director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action explains, contradicts the widely held model minority myth, a construct that has persisted for generations. He points out that Asian Americans have the highest level of poverty within working age populations of any major ethnic group in New York. And while the impacts of the pandemic have been cataclysmic, there is reason for hope and inspiration. Despite a loss of lives and jobs, the community is engaged and resilient. MinKwon is leading a campaign to overcome a waterfront development plan and young community members are testifying at public hearings to save their community. This is, as John says, hard emotional work, and it is essential.