Asian Americans have been facing increased violence and racism since the beginning of the pandemic. Across the U.S., anti-Asian hate crimes have increased by 150%. In New York City, Asian-Americans are nine times more likely to experience hate crimes. Additionally, because of xenophobia and racist stereotypes, there is a large decrease in foot traffic through Chinatown, and many local businesses are suffering. Even though New York is reopening and returning to normalcy, this is not the case for Manhattan’s Chinatown, as anti-Asian rhetoric and beliefs leave the hard-working neighborhood stuck in the pandemic.
Through this fundraiser, we hope to provide funds and PPE to small, family-owned businesses in Chinatown that need financial help to pay costs crucial to their longevity. We want to support and uplift the voices of these local residents and businesses who are so vital in preserving Asian culture and the culture of Chinatown.
35 years ago, Kam Hing Bakery was started with the goal of sharing one family’s love for sponge cakes.
Today, the bakery is run by Liz Yee, who grew up working in the bakery alongside her parents and siblings. Because of the pandemic, Kam Hing was forced to close down. After grueling months of lost business and direction, Kam Hing was finally able to reopen once again and preserve the family legacy. However, although they have reopened, Kam Hing Bakery has unfortunately lost many of their employees and are unable to pay any of their family members who are working there.
Despite their struggles, Kam Hing Bakery STILL puts their community first. They provided face masks and even lowered their prices to accommodate the financial hardships many people in their community were going through. This business is not just a family business, but a community business. We want to put Kim Hing Bakery first and support their business.
9 years ago, in 2012, Mr. Lai finally opened Go Believe Bakery after years of pursuing his passion for baking Chinese pastries.
We spoke to his daughter, Connie Lai, about their story. Like many businesses in Chinatown, Go Believe Bakery had to shut down completely at the height of the pandemic. The family was hopeless. Years of hard work and dedication were minimized by the global pandemic, but they kept believing, kept working, and ultimately, opened once more. Business was slow at first, many of their employees felt unsafe coming back to work, and they were only at 20% of their revenue. Worst of all, they couldn’t control any of this.
Today, Go Believe is still running on a revenue deficit and is short on staff. We want to preserve the Lai family's hard work and legacy through their Chinese pastries and assist them with expenses to keep running.
21 years ago, Peter Li opened 47 Division St Trading, a butcher shop, in 1995. Since then, they have been offering quality meats for the best prices.
We interviewed Peter Li’s son, Jefferson Li (aka, the famous “meat boy”), about their situation. After the peak of the pandemic, their sales were down at least 50-60%, since restaurants, who are a large part of their clientele, stopped getting traction. They have also lost many of their employees; at one point, it was only him and his father working.
The pandemic had lasting effects. Today, they are still unable to get back to where they once were: many of their employees are unable to come back, their sales have not recovered, and they have added expenses for PPE and cleaning supplies to keep them and their customers safe.
We want to alleviate the financial and safety struggles the Li family has faced during this pandemic and keep them focused on providing the community with their signature quality meats.
NYC small businesses suffered immensely due to a global pandemic no one could control. There is light at the end of this tunnel as the city is set to reopen fully in July. However, Asian-owned small businesses in Chinatown continue to suffer despite reopening because of anti-Asian rhetoric in the media, hate-based crimes, and the constant disregard of the Asian/Asian-American experience in America. We know it will take time to change legislation, gain more media representation, and make generational change to have these voices heard. But these small businesses: Kam Hing Bakery, Go Believe Bakery, and 47 Division St Trading need us NOW. They need immediate relief and we hope that through this fundraiser, we can provide some support to these Chinatown family businesses that have given so much to this city but have never asked for anything in return.
A special thanks to everyone who made this fundraiser possible:
Dolled Up Spa - Jasmine Nguyen (Sponsor)
Megan B. (Intern)
Amelia M. (Intern)
Ava F. (Intern)
Emme Magliato (COO)
Krishna Koka (CEO)
Phat Nguyen (Graphic Designer)
Jinghao Wang (Translator)