Asian Americans for Equality cancels Lunar New Year Banquet amid coronavirus fears

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Following the statewide ban in effect on all public gatherings exceeding 500 people, the Asian Americans Federation for Equality (AAFE) has cancelled its Lunar New Year Banquet on March 19 to avoid putting guests and staff at risk unnecessarily. 

AAFE is placing all of the proceeds from the event into an Emergency Small Business Relief Fund to assist all community small businesses on the brink of closure, according to Jennifer Sun and Thomas Yu, co-executive directors of AAFE. 

Following the cancellation of the banquet that was to be held at Jing Fong, AAFE will be presenting a check to the venue. It has been a mainstay convening place for Chinatown major events, galas, cultural gatherings and community activities, as well as providing local jobs. 

“All around us, our neighborhood shops and restaurants are shuttering, and jobs are being lost. Not only are we gravely concerned about the health of each and every person, we are also concerned about the health of our community’s economic fabric and its ability to bounce back from crisis,” Sun and Yu said in a statement. 

According to AAFE, the Emergency Small Business Relief Fund is administered by AAFE’s affiliate, Renaissance Economic Development Corporation. 

“As small businesses across New York City anxiously await details of other city, state, and federal emergency funds, we decided to move ahead immediately with $1.5 million of our own funds, made possible by you all, so that we can start saving many of those businesses already on the brink,” Sun and Yu said. 

“We hope that our tireless elected officials leading the fight and government agencies now fine tuning their emergency fund programs will collaborate with us at AAFE Renaissance to broaden our impact for neighborhoods in need,” Sun and Yu added. 

AAFE is continuing to accept donations towards the Emergency Small Business Relief Fund. To make a donation, visit: www.aafe.org

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