Super storm Sandy hit lower Manhattan hard over the night of October 29-30. Floodwaters spilled over doorsteps in Alphabet City, cars floated through Battery Park, and power went out for almost all of the residents of the island below 39th street. Electricity remained off for those residents on Thursday, four days after the storm struck, and was expected to remain off for at least another day.
Municipal and federal aid to neighborhoods populated by low-income residents and people of color—such as Chinatown and the Lower East Side—has been largely absent. On Thursday The Nation spoke with staff members of the Chinatown-based organization CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities about the resource center they have set up at their offices to fill that void. Since Wednesday, CAAAV has provided a generator, food and water, and translation services for residents in need of both sustenance and up-to-date information on the storm’s ongoing effects. CAAAV additionally continues to deploy volunteers to canvass the neighborhood and check in on elderly and disabled residents who have not been able to leave their apartments since the onset of the storm.
To learn more or to volunteer visit CAAAV.org.
On August 16, AABANY, through its Executive Director Yang Chen, gave testimony at a public hearing convened by the City Council Districting Commission. AABANY testified as a member of ACCORD, the Asian American Community Coalition on Redistricting and Democracy, and urged the Commission to draw lines that kept communities of interest together in Manhattan. Citing the Voting Rights Act and applicable Supreme Court precedent, AABANY indicated that the current district lines in Chinatown and the Lower East Side may not comport with legal requirements. As part of its testimony, AABANY submitted a copy of its March 2003 letter to the Department of Justice, which dealt with the same issue. To read the testimony and the letter, go to bit.ly/blog_Testimny_CityCnclDstrctngComm