Wayne Ho, Executive Director of the Coalition for Asian American Families and Children, encourages City Council Members to increase funding for Asian American organizations at a press conference on Wednesday.
Just in time for President's Day, the Asian American Arts Alliance (a4) was engaged in some exciting citizen action.
On Wednesday, 15 February 2012, I joined other members of the 13% and Growing Coalition to advocate on the steps of New York City Hall for a fair share of the city's budget allocation to Asian American-led- and -serving groups. The coalition, formed in 2008, is composed of more than forty-five social service organizations in New York City; together, the coalition is working for fair State and City governments' budgets, protecting the most vulnerable Asian Pacific American New Yorkers. Coalition members employ thousands of New Yorkers and serve hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.
Just this year, the 13% and Growing Coalition--co-led by the Coalition of Asian American Families and Children (CACF) and MinKwon Center--decided to add the arts to its advocacy agenda, which already includes, health, education, human services, and youth. This is a major step in acknowledging the vital role that the arts already play in the well-being of all New Yorkers.
Later that same day, I testified at New York City Council's Committee on Cultural Affairs about the Cultural Data Project (CDP). As many of you may know, filling out the extensive Cultural Data Project reports is a requirement for applying for funding from such agencies as the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council for the Arts, the New York Community Trust, and the Rockefeller Foundation. While the data collected can be, in theory, a useful advocacy tool, individual artists are not included in the count, nor are smaller unincorporated organizations or ones that receive fiscal sponsorship. Which all means that communities of color are even more likely to be left off the grid. Increasingly, funding decisions are being determined but the metrics collected in such surveys as our data-driven world demands--which is a scary thing. It means our voices are not being heard by decision- and opinion-makers.To try and remedy this, I also serve on The Other Side--on the New York State Task Force of the CDP. This does mean that the Asian American arts community does have a seat at the table, and we just have to make the best use of this opportunity.
In my work to represent a4 and our Asian American arts community as part of the steering committee of the New York City Arts Coalition, which advocates for public funding of the arts, my message remains consistent: which is to constantly affirm the active role that our community is already playing in the New York City artistic landscape.
a4 was founded as part of the energetic advocacy that inspired the Civil Rights Movement. I'm pleased and honored that I can support a4 as it continues this important work: advocating for fair funding and representation at city, state, and national levels.
Ideas? Thoughts? Let me know.