Benefit dinner celebrates new Women’s Center

It would take more than a couple of tornados to derail a festive benefit dinner commemorating the opening of the Center for Asian Women Crime Victims (CAWCV) on September 16 at the LaGuardia Sheraton in Flushing.

The victim’s center is located in Elmhurst, which is home to more than 40,000 people of Asian descent, making up 31 percent of the neighborhood’s total population. Executive director of the New York Asian Women’s Center (NYAWC), Larry Lee, said that it is about time a true Pan-Asian agency stepped forward to protect Asian women’s rights.

“We are branching out and dealing with crimes including sexual assault, stalking, harassment and others mostly because a lot of Asian women don’t report crimes, especially domestic violence,” said Lee. “We have to find a way to give them a voice and encourage them to talk.”

Most of the guests and special speakers at the benefit dinner were late arriving due inclement weather that left roads, subways, buses and trains at a stand-still, but that did not dampen the spirits of those in attendance. After opening remarks by Lee and committee member Veronica Tsang, guests were treated to a performance by the New York Chinese Chorus, who sang Chinese folk songs. Other entertainment included belly dancing extraordinaire Tandava and PURE (Public Urban Ritual Experiment), an international community of dancers and musicians. Guests were encouraged to buy raffle tickets for prizes ranging from bottles of wine to a trip to Orlando, Florida

The main focus of the evening was to raise money and awareness for the CAWCV – located at 83-02 Broadway in Elmhurst – which officially opened its doors on August 2. The CAWCV provides comprehensive domestic violence and human trafficking services, assessments and referrals, as well as assistance with crime victims’ compensation claims, immigration and other legal issues.

“It’s a place where women can come in and know we speak their language and understand their culture,” said Julie Kim Richards, director of client services. According to Lee, the center’s 50 staff members can speak 12 languages, collectively.

To learn more about the NYAWC, visit nyawc.org or to contact the center’s emergency hotline to talk about abuse, call 888-888-7702.

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