Updated: Aug 25, 2022
Submitted by email to PublicTestimony@redistricting.nyc.gov
August 22, 2022
Dear NYC Districting Commission:
Asian Wave Alliance is a grass root nonpartisan organization that is helping the growing Asian communities in New York City be educated and informed in the political process and elect representation that reflects our values and priorities. We are public school families, small business owners, taxpayers who live in the communities we represent. We are all volunteers. We are not reliant on funding by elected officials, beholden to a national movement or aligned with political administrations; we have no conflicts of interest regardless of how the districts get drawn. Our priority is to represent our local communities with strength and integrity. New York City is our home and our future.
We would like to thank the Districting Commission for creating the first majority Asian district, District 43 in Brooklyn. The proposal is a fair representation of our growing community and serves our right to be relevant and influential in the electoral process. We wholeheartedly support the NYC Council Districts Preliminary Plan released on July 15 and believe it will give us fair representation in electing leaders who will serve our communities well over the next 10 years.
Asians are the fastest growing group in NYC, and now comprise over 15% of the 8.8M residents. Sunset Park and Bensonhurst’s predominantly Chinese population has surged by 42% over the past 10 years. Even with this explosive growth, the interest of our community continues to be marginalized, ignored, and worse, subjugated to favor the interest of other communities.
Chinese families in Brooklyn in need of political support for public safety, business prosperity, and educational opportunities have been routinely ignored by current and past representation. While Asians are the plurality of the current D38, low voter registration and an inexperienced electorate has been long-exploited by politicians. Electeds have gone as far as undermining our community to please ideological special interests. Just this spring, the D38 councilmember partnered with anti-merit activists to remove auditions for a new performing arts school. This was in direct opposition to the pleas of low-income Chinese families who advocated and requested audition-admissions to support a high quality public arts school.
Incumbents have also ignored other urgent concerns including traffic modifications on 8th Avenue that have directly impacted the Chinese business artery. They’ve shown no interest in our public safety concerns on a homeless shelter cited close to our schools, parks and the main subway station in Sunset Park. Our emails, phone calls on these issues all went unanswered.
There are others here, including other Asian groups, who will rally to keep the status quo and suggest dividing Brooklyn’s Chinese neighborhoods into plurality in more districts. Call us cynical, but history has shown that the status quo or even simple plurality will deprive us of another 10 years of equal and fair Voting Rights, allowing the interest of other communities to be prioritized above ours. We will not stand for that. We will not appeal to politicians who want to stay in their cribs.
We bring with us today 7,000 signatures collected in a petition to support the Commission’s proposed D43 map. Our grass root movement speaks authentically for our community.
With an Asian majority in D43, we strongly believe we will have the best opportunity of electing and holding electeds to serve and be accountable to the priorities of the local Chinese community and the Asian community at large. Our growing community already extends beyond D43 and with a thriving community supported by our public officials, we hope for another Asian majority district in 10 years.
President, Asian Wave Alliance