Chinese-American Planning Council rallies for seventh city ‘Advocacy Day’

The nonprofit called for more funding towards programming that addresses the needs of Asian American, immigrant and low-income New Yorkers.

Grace Wang during the Chinese-American Planning Council's advocacy day in Foley Square

Grace Wang during the Chinese-American Planning Council's advocacy day in Foley Square Angelique Molina-Mangaroo

The Chinese-American Planning Council, the largest Asian American social services organization in the nation, held a rally in Manhattan’s Foley Square for its 7th Annual City Advocacy Day, to advocate for more funding for programming that addresses the needs of Asian Americans, immigrants, and low-income New Yorkers.

Council members Carmen De La Rosa, Rita Joseph, Lincoln Restler, Susan Zhuang and nonprofit leaders such as Michelle Jackson, executive director of the Human Services Council, joined the rally to highlight the Council’s priorities for city spending. These include restoration of early childhood education, adult literacy and mental health programs; expanding summer youth employment programs and CityFHEPS eligibility; increasing funding to the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Community Support Initiative and language access services; investing $10 million to emergency legal services for immigrants and $20 million for undocumented childcare funding. 

"Despite being 18% of New York's population and the city's fastest-growing group, the AAPI community remains underfunded, while our challenges multiply. Insufficient resources have led to long waitlists, rising costs, and inadequate support for critical services," said Wayne Ho, president and CEO of the CPC. "We stand united with our allies and elected partners to advocate for the restoration and enhancement of funding to essential community programs, such as senior services, child care support, and literacy programs, to ensure equitable access and support for all members of our diverse communities.”

Currently, Mayor Eric Adams’ administration plans to make cuts to city parks, libraries and city services, including emergency food programs. “In Mayor Adams’ two-plus years in office, he's imposed seven rounds of budget cuts. He has defunded our parks. He has defunded our schools. He has defunded our social services. He has defunded our senior centers. He has defunded our early childhood education centers,” said City Council Member Lincoln Restler. “With the support of amazing partners like CPC, the city council is fighting back.” 

City Hall provided a statement to New York Nonprofit Media in response to Restler's comments.

“With responsible, effective fiscal management, Mayor Adams closed an unprecedented $7.2 billion budget gap and balanced the budget while facing skyrocketing asylum seeker costs and budget holes left by expiring stimulus funds that had been used to support long-term programs,” a City Hall spokesperson responded.

“Our administration is the first city in at least a decade to meaningfully address budget cliffs and unfunded known needs — while simultaneously achieving a record $6.6 billion in savings across two fiscal years, maintaining near-record reserves, and improving budget transparency. Although we are not yet out of the woods — we announced a $111.6 billion budget that invests in child care, education, public safety, cultural institutions, and so much more that is making New York safer and more livable. We look forward to partnering with the Council to pass a budget New Yorkers deserve.”

Speakers at the rally included community members who said their lives have been impacted by the services offered by CPC.

“When I first came to New York City, I couldn't speak a word of English,” Liu (Luke) Xing, a student from CPC’s adult literacy classes.“In order to make a living, I had no choice but to work as a handyman in a Chinese restaurant. I worked 11 hours a day, six days a week, and I got paid very little.”

“When I saw that CPC had a free English class, I made a decision to come to CPC to study which changed my destiny,”  Xing added. “After several years of study, now I have become a sushi chef and I can communicate more (with) my co-workers and our customers. And I can also communicate with people in the community. I'm very grateful to CPC and our English class for helping me improve my English and changing the quality of my life”

The Council has 35 sites in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens and recently opened its new affordable housing and community center, CPC One on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. CPC offers over 50 programs to over 80,000 New Yorkers annually, including adult literacy classes, early childhood education programs, and more.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a statement from the Adams Administration.