Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Assemblymember Grace Lee Meet to Discuss Needs of Asian Americans in New York

New York, NY – On July 31, 2023, Assemblymember Grace Lee, Co-Chair of the New York State Assembly Asian Pacific Islander (APA) Task Force, joined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at Mee Sum Cafe, a historic local business in Chinatown. There, they discussed the needs of Asian Americans in New York and the importance of ensuring Asian American communities have access to the vital resources they need to thrive.

Senator Schumer is a longtime supporter of the Asian American community, including as a champion for immigration reform and as a leader in passing the anti-Asian Hate Crimes Act, in partnership with Rep. Grace Meng. Additionally, Senator Schumer has named numerous Asian American legal professionals to the federal bench, including Pamela Chen, Denny Chin, Kiyo Matsumoto and Dale Ho. Senator Schumer has successfully pushed to establish a commission on the creation of the first national museum dedicated to Asian American history and culture, and has appointed two New Yorkers, Joanne Kwong and Kevin Kim, as commissioners. Senator Schumer also led critical COVID relief packages to passage that rescued small businesses, non-profits, and cultural organizations.

Specifically, Assemblymember Lee highlighted public safety concerns in Asian American communities and the need to prioritize educational opportunities for Asian American youth. They also reviewed legislation Assemblymember Lee passed for Asian Americans in this year’s session, including a historic $30 million in funding for AAPI-serving nonprofits in New York and the bill to make Lunar New Year a statewide public school holiday; and they discussed legislation she will continue fighting to pass next year, including a bill she introduced with New York State Senator John Liu to ensure Asian American History is taught in New York’s public schools.

“It was great to meet with Assemblymember Grace Lee in Chinatown to discuss our shared priorities, including combatting anti-Asian hate, the needs of Asian American communities, my commitment to bolstering the federal judiciary with historic nominations that reflect the diversity of our communities, and so much more,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer. “As a first generation American and community organizer, Assemblymember Lee is uniquely qualified to represent the 65th district. I am eager to continue working with Assemblymember Lee to deliver for our constituents.”

“It was an honor to meet in Chinatown with Senator Chuck Schumer, a strong leader and ally to New York’s Asian American community,” said Assemblymember Grace Lee, Co-Chair of the Asian Pacific American Task Force. “This year, my colleagues and I have built a wide coalition of government leaders fighting to address the needs of Asian Americans, and Senator Schumer is a valuable member of this group. Together, Senator Schumer and I discussed some of the most pressing issues facing Asian Americans in New York and my constituents in Lower Manhattan like the ongoing severity of anti-Asian hate, threats to public safety and lack of access to quality, merit-based education. As the fastest growing minority group in New York, Asian Americans need a voice in government, and I am grateful to Senator Schumer for working with me on issues important to our community. I look forward to continuing our work together.”

“We are so honored to welcome Senator Schumer to Mee Sum Cafe today,” said Qingmei Li, a staff member at Mee Sum Cafe. “Thank you, Assemblymember Grace Lee for bringing Senator Schumer to Chinatown to discuss the issues facing our small businesses, such as the decrease of visitors in Chinatown. We thank Assemblymember Lee for being a regular customer and for her service to Chinatown.”