MinKwon Community Center receives $100K for Flushing Hate Free Zone initiative

The MinKwon Center for Community Action in Flushing received $100,000 from state Assemblyman Ron Kim in support of their Flushing Hate Free Zone campaign that was established in response to Asian hate crimes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Assemblyman Kim’s office)

State Assemblyman Ron Kim announced on Tuesday, April 19, that he has secured $100,000 from this year’s state budget to support the Flushing MinKwon Community Center’s new initiative: the Flushing Hate Free Zone. 

During a press conference held at the center, located at 133-29 41st Ave., Kim said he was honored to support the important work that the organization and its partners are doing for the community.

“There is nothing more powerful than joining arms to root out bigotry and hate. With this funding, we hope that we are one step closer to realizing these goals through the Hate Free Zone in Flushing, and ensuring that our neighborhoods remain inclusive, tolerant and welcoming,” Kim said. 

State Assemblyman Ron Kim speaks at a press conference at the MinKwon Community Center for Action on Tuesday, April 19. (Photo courtesy of Assemblyman Kim’s office)

The Flushing Hate Free Zone was established as a response to the overwhelming increase in Asian hate crimes since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In early February, the MinKwon Center partnered with the Greater Flushing of Commerce and other community organizations to announce the initiative. 

The program will utilize a multifaceted community-based approach to root out all forms of hate. It will include “Know Your Rights” canvassing around cross-cultural solidarity and safety for immigrant families; a hotline providing limited victim assistance services to people directly impacted by hate violence; and a new safe space for LGBTQIA+ high school youth based in Flushing, along with multilingual upstander/bystander instructional information. 

Other organizations participating in this initiative include the Flushing Chamber of Commerce, Flushing Interfaith Council, Macedonia AME Church and the Flushing Free Synagogue.

To date, 350 small businesses in Flushing have agreed to post “Hate Free Zone” flyers on their storefronts, according to Hailie Kim, housing organizer at the MinKwon Center. 

Recently, the center helped raise $10,000 to cover the medical costs for Chang Lim, who was attacked outside of Flushing Motel in March. They also raised more than $100,000 for another victim, Eun Hee Chang, who was attacked outside of a pizzeria in Elmhurst. 

“Ms. Chang said what made her feel safe was knowing that two of her neighbors were willing to step in and help her when she needed it the most. We hope to bring a sense of care and respect for one another into Flushing through this project,” Kim said. 

John Park, executive director of the MinKwon Center, said they will continue to follow the Flushing tradition of protecting people’s religious rights and welcoming everyone to the community. 

“If people know the history of Flushing, it’s a long history of protecting religious rights. This is what Flushing has always been about and we welcome anyone regardless of who they are, where they come from, who they love and what their faith is,” Park said. 

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