CACF Latest Policy Reports, Press Statements, Advocacy Agendas


Tuesday, June 30th, 2020 
Tasfia Rahman:

CACF Statement on New York City FY2021 Budget


To read the entire statement, click HERE

CACF Statement on New York City FY 2021 Budget

To read the entire statement, click HERE


Friday, April 16th, 2020 
Jean Hon:

CACF Statement on New York State FY2020 Budget


To read the entire statement, click HERE

CACF Statement on COVID-19

To read the entire statement, click HERE


Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 
Vanessa Leung:
Anita Gundanna:

A statement on COVID-19 from CACF


To read the entire statement, click HERE

CACF Statement on COVID-19

To read the entire statement, click HERE





Monday, January 27th, 2020 
Jean Hon:

Response to Gov Cuomo’s New York State Executive Budget FY2020-2021


To read the entire statement, click HERE

Gov Cuomo FY2020 2021 Budget Proposal Falls Short

To read the entire statement, click HERE




Monday, December 9th, 2019 
Vanessa Leung:
Anita Gundanna:

NY State Governor Cuomo Vetoes Bill to Collect Critical Information to Better Serve Asian Pacific New Yorkers

New York, NY - CACF: the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families and our member organizations are deeply disappointed by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s last-minute veto of a bill that would finally begin to acknowledge and collect accurate and critical information about the needs of New York’s vibrant and diverse Asian Pacific American (APA) communities – the fastest growing groups in NY State.  Bill A00677/S3662 required the collection of disaggregated data on APA communities across the State.  Better data means a better chance for our communities to gain the critical resources they need to thrive in New York, which undoubtedly would create a positive impact across all of NY State.

After almost a decade of collaborative advocacy through CACF’s Invisible No More Campaign, New York was poised to be a leader in capturing the inequities and challenges faced by New York’s APA communities.  The Governor’s veto of this bill, which had strong support from APA advocates and community leaders as well as the State legislature, conveys a lack of urgency to invest in the betterment of New York’s APA communities. 

Vanessa Leung, Co-Executive Director of CACF, states, “Asian Pacific American New Yorkers demand a government that is able to understand and meet their needs.  We acknowledge that Governor Cuomo values the intentions behind this bill and plans to begin work with State agencies on exploring ways to collect better data.  But as advocates, we know that there is precedent for this work in other States and localities, and we have been open in our willingness to work with the State on this.  And as New Yorkers, we hold our State accountable to having true progressive leadership.”

Anita Gundanna, Co-Executive Director of CACF, adds, “It is disappointing when APA communities continue to be marginalized and rendered invisible.  CACF is committed to continuing the fight for better data – a better chance – for our communities to gain the resources they need to thrive in New York.  We will continue to work in partnership with our members and partners and be up in Albany to speak out on the necessity of data disaggregation — and to push for passage of a law requiring and specifying a timeline for disaggregated data to be collected for Asian Pacific American communities.” 

Wayne Ho, President and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) said, “CPC is deeply disappointed in the Governor’s decision to veto a bill that would provide critical racial and ethnic data on New York’s growing Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. AAPI advocates, organizations, business leaders, and community members have worked for years to pass this bill, which had overwhelming support from the State Legislature. An eleventh-hour veto represents a deliberate decision to further marginalize New York’s fastest growing racial group by denying disaggregated data collection that would ensure critical resources and services for the diverse AAPI community.”

Chhaya Chhoum, Executive Director of Mekong NYC, said, “Without data disaggregation, the Southeast Asian community will continue to be overlooked and made invisible by New York State despite our community’s vital needs. After years of poverty, trauma, displacement, violence, high incarceration, and lack of social services in languages most comfortable for our communities, the governor is now telling us that he does not want to identify our community’s needs or provide the services to best help our community.”

John Park, Executive Director of MinKwon Center for Community Action, stated, “We are dismayed by Governor Cuomo’s veto of the Data Disaggregation bill, including the reasons outlined against adopting the bill at this time. The cost of being blind to the discrete levels of poverty, educational attainment, or the nuances of health issues including mental health, colon cancer, hepatitis B and many others are dramatically different within Asian American and Pacific Islander subgroups, and is far more costly than the expense of collecting additional data from State agencies that already collect other data. What is not measured cannot be managed, and choosing to be blind to the problem, and not having the tools to measure the real and significant differences between many Asian subgroups, continues to relegate those problems and our communities, as invisible.”

“If our communities are not identified and counted, they cannot be served. They become invisible. The many ethnicities the make up the pan-South Asian and Indo-Caribbean communities have been invisible for too long. We urge Governor Cuomo to reconsider signing the data disaggregation bill,” said Annetta Seecharran, Executive Director, Chhaya Community Development Corporation.






Wednesday, October 9th, 2019 
Vanessa Leung
212-809-4675 x106


CACF with 10 partner organizations will provide In-Person Patient Navigator services in 13 sites across NYC and have the capacity to speak a total of 19 languages

New York, NY — The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) and 10 member organizations celebrate the renewal of a five-year award from New York State to support multilingual and culturally competent in-person assistors or patient navigators to assist health insurance enrollment in New York City, particularly for the diverse Asian Pacific American (APA) community. This is critical for the Asian Pacific American community that experiences the highest rate of linguistic isolation in NYC and a near 15% uninsurance rate.
Contrary to the Model Minority Myth, the APA community suffers tremendous barriers to accessing and affording quality healthcare. APA groups have some of the highest uninsurance rates and as a whole has the highest poverty rate of any racial group at 26 percent. 14.3 percent of Asian Americans are uninsured in New York City. As a highly immigrant and foreign born community at almost 80 percent, navigating enrollment and understanding health insurance options can be confusing, especially in families struggling with language barriers. For example, in New York City, 45 percent of APAs report they “speak English less than very well”.
The New York State of Health awarded another 5-years In-Person Navigator Grant and will enable organizations throughout New York to serve as In-Person Assistors/Patient Navigators for the health insurance marketplace. Of those grantees, the Coalition of Asian American Children and Families is a lead organization and will work with 10 Asian Pacific American led and serving organizations to provide patient navigator services throughout New York City. CACF and 10 subcontractors will join this statewide effort to provide one-on-one enrollment assistance to individuals, families, small businesses and their employees who apply for health insurance through the New York State of Health. Our partners include:
Council of Peoples Organization
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center- Immigrant Health & Cancer Disparities
Mekong NYC
United Chinese Association of Brooklyn
Arab-American Family Support Center
NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health
Japanese American Social Services Inc
Minkwon Center for Community Action
United Sikhs
Together, CACF and the 10 partner organizations will be serving NYC’s 5 boroughs in 13 sites and have the capacity to speak a total of 19 languages such as Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Nepali, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tajik, Tibetan, Turkish, Urdu, Uzbek, and Vietnamese. CACF and our subcontractor/partners will embrace this renewal and this important opportunity to build upon New York’s tremendous work in providing health care access to its residents. CACF looks forward to expanding the number of individuals who have access to quality, affordable health insurance, and reducing the number of uninsured in New York.
“The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families is excited to continue to work with the New York State of Health through the In-Person Assistor/Navigator program. As a lead organization, CACF recognizes the incredible impact Patient Navigators have on the healthcare system and their ability to create healthier communities. Nearly 45% of the Asian Pacific American community speaks little to no English. Linguistically and culturally competent Patient Navigators can serve our APA communities better and meet the needs of community members of linguistically isolated groups. We are proud to help provide access to services and to communities including Arab American, Bangladeshi, Cambodian, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Nepali, Tibetan, Vietnamese and more” said Vanessa Leung and Anita Gundanna, Co-Executive Directors of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families.
Pabitra Benjamin, Executive Director of Adhikaar said, “Adhikaar is the only organization in New York to offer healthcare navigation services in Nepali and Tibetan. Due to our language capacity and proficiency with the navigators program, over 500 people come to Adhikaar every year to receive support. Community members of various language capacities come to enroll in a health care plan and receive support navigating the system. They also stop by for billing questions, payment setup to choosing or making an appointment with a PCP. As a part of our contract, we also provide education for members about the healthcare system and the importance of our health. As a result of our work with the IPA/Navigator Program, over 5000 Nepali-speaking immigrants now have access to affordable care. This has an immense impact on people’s everyday lives from ensuring children and elders get regular check-ups to be able to access emergency health care, receive treatment for an overdue issue and receive long term care. As Adhikaar is seen as a reliable source for health care navigation, we also see a rise of individuals and families with health-related issues like women’s health, mental health, emergency needs and more that gives us a better perspective on what support is needed in the community.”
“The Arab-American Family Support Center is proud to continue partnering with the New York State of Health and CACF to promote well-being among under-resourced communities by enrolling individuals in health insurance and supporting positive behavioral changes. Our culturally and linguistically competent team is equipped to meet the unique needs of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, South Asian, and other marginalized communities throughout New York”, said Rawaa Nancy Albilal, President and CEO of Arab-American Family Support Center.
“Council of Peoples Organization (COPO) is excited to be working with CACF as a Patient Navigator. Through this partnership, COPO will provide free, culturally competent, linguistically appropriate, and ADA compliant enrollment services at our community center on Coney Island Avenue, which serves the diverse neighborhoods of south-central Brooklyn.” Mohammad Razvi, CEO of Council of Peoples Organization.
Chisato Horikawa, the Director of the Japanese American Social Services Inc. said, “We are extremely happy about being a part of this important group to serve our community members. JASSI has been providing health insurance enrollment assistance since 2014 mainly for Japanese-speaking clients. We believe that it is important for us to provide information and convey the importance of health care to the community. As a member of this diverse group, we are excited to expand our work on the enrollment services.”
“This program addresses a dire and growing need in the community to have readily available, trusted, culturally and linguistically responsive insurance enrollers to take them through what could otherwise be a daunting process,” said Francesca Gany, Service Chief of the Immigrant Health and Cancer Disparities,Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
John Park, Executive Director of the Minkwon Center for Community Action said, “The MinKwon Center participates in the Navigator program because everyone should have access to healthcare. During the 5 year period after the launch of the Affordable Care Act in 2013, the nonelderly uninsured rate for Asian Americans in New York dropped from 18.1 percent to 9 percent. It’s a program that has reduced suffering and saved lives, and community partnerships play an important role in outreach, education, and overcoming cultural and language barriers to increase healthcare access in our communities.”
“Mekong NYC values our participation in making sure that New York State residents, including Cambodians, Laotians, and Vietnamese, have access to health care as the safety net of our communities continues to be at risk,” said Chhaya Chhoum, Executive Director, Mekong NYC.
Nadia Islam, Associate Professor at The NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health (CSAAH) said, “In NYC, the Bangladeshi population is more likely to be uninsured, 10.8% compared to 12.4% for the general population (according to data from an analysis by the Asian American Federation Census Information Center). Bangladeshis also have higher rates of limited English proficiency compared to all other New Yorkers. Challenges such as these make understanding and navigating the health care system a complex and daunting task for this predominantly immigrant community. In addition to providing enrollment assistance, our Navigators, who are fluent in English, Hindi, Bengali and Urdu, provide culturally and linguistically tailored outreach and education about health coverage options. Because they are trusted leaders in their community, they serve as a bridge between Bangladeshi community members and the healthcare system. Continuation of this Navigator program is vital for ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to affordable and essential health care.”
“The application process of health insurance is complicated, and people face well-documented difficulties understanding how coverage works both when shopping for a plan and, later,when attempting to use it. At UCA, we aim to provide services that promote one-on-one help in the enrollment process for the Chinese immigrant population in Bensonhurst, in order to better connect people with healthcare coverage and make the community a healthier and happier one!”, said Stephanie Wong, Executive Director and President of the United Chinese Association of Brooklyn.
“We are honored to partner with the Coalition for Asian American Children & Families and its esteemed member organizations to help provide the next level of care for New York’s Asian Pacific American community,” said Hardayal Singh, UNITED SIKHSFounding Member. “As our community remains at risk for a disproportionate burden of preventable diseases in the United States, it is crucial we provide better access to health information, screenings and care. Through this partnership, we are able to make a measurable impact for hundreds of members of the community with an innovative, grassroots approach available in multiple languages that cater to historically underserved populations at gurdwaras, schools, community centers and our local office.”
For more information about the NY State of Health, please call 1-855-355-5777 or For questions regarding CACF’s In-Person Assistor/Patient Navigator program, please contact Vanessa Leung at or call 212-809-4675 x.106.





Tuesday, August 13th, 2019 
Tasfia Rahman
212-809-4675 x109


New York, New York — The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) is pleased to announce that discretionary funds allocated to Asian Pacific American-led and serving organizations by the New York City Council for Fiscal Year 2020 increased by a little over $500,000 as compared to FY 2019, with a total of $2,927,900. This year, 74 APA-led and serving organizations were awarded discretionary funding, an increase from 56 organizations awarded in FY 2019. However, it is important to note that our organizations only received 4.37% of the total discretionary funding for FY 2020, a decrease from 5.06% for FY 2019. In addition, while more organizations in Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens received higher amounts and percentage of discretionary funds than last year, no organization in Staten Island received any.
Anita Gundanna and Vanessa Leung, Co-Executive Directors of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, stated, “ We are pleased to see an increase in the total amount of discretionary funding to organizations that provide critical services to the APA community and communities across NYC. However, we want to ensure that as our community expands that the level of funding rises to meet our growing needs. Our organizations are frequently the only ones who provide quality language accessible and culturally competent services necessary for our communities’ survival and growth. We are committed to continue collaborating with Council Members to help assess and address the complex needs of the APA communities that make up the fastest growing population, by percentage, in New York City.”
Beatrice Chen, Executive Director of Immigrant Social Services, said, “We are grateful to City Council for the increase in total funding for APA-led and serving organizations and look forward to continue working with Council Members to surface the complex needs and realities of our community that may not be as visible within the dominant narrative and analysis. We believe that enabling APA-led and serving organizations to increase and expand critical services to Asian Pacific American New Yorkers today will result in ever-growing positive returns to New York City for generations to come.”
Jeehae Fischer, Executive Director of the Korean American Family Service Center (KAFSC), stated, “KAFSC is pleased to see the increase in total discretionary funding for Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs)-led and serving organizations by the New York City Council for Fiscal Year 2020. Although we are grateful for the acknowledgement and action taken by the City Council for our community, we know that more work can be done. KAFSC is looking forward to working with our Council Members to increase and expand funding so that we can continue to provide much needed culturally sensitive and linguistically competent programs and services.”
“Although we are encouraged by an increase in overall funding for our communities from the previous year, we are concerned that the percent of discretionary funding awarded to AAPI led and serving community-based organizations dropped,” said John Park, Executive Director of MinKwon Center for Community Action. “As the fastest growing ethnic minority population in the City, which also has the highest rate of poverty in addition to language barriers, we need more resources and funding that scales with the growing needs of our growing communities.”
Sudha Acharya, Executive Director of the South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS), stated, “We are happy to see an increase in discretionary funds for Asian Pacific American (APA) communities across NYC. These funds help immigrant-serving CBO’s provide comprehensive health, social, food security, and community learning services to hard-to-reach immigrant families. It’s important to continue advocating until we receive a fair share of City funds. The South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) looks forward to working with City Council on ensuring that the demands of the fast-growing South Asian community are met.”
“Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) continue to be the fastest growing racial group in the nation, and while CPC applauds the increase in total money that the City Council awarded to AAPI-led and serving organizations, we know that an increase in funding does not always represent an increase in overall spending or a decrease in need,” said Wayne Ho, President & CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council. “CPC celebrates this important win and recognizes more can still be done to meet the needs and tailor services for our communities. We thank our allies in the City Council, particularly the 21 Council Members who have included AAPI organizations in their designations. We look forward to advocating for increased equity and visibility in the year ahead.”
The Asian Pacific American community looks forward to continuing its partnership with the City Council in order to best address the needs of the community.

discrtionary budget front image

Read the full FY 202 Analysis of City Council Expense Discretionary Funding (Schedule C) and the Asian Pacific American Community HERE




Monday, August 12th, 2019


New York, New York– The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) condemns the finalized changes to the public charge rule, announced today by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). These changes disproportionately punish immigrant families who are on a pathway to a greencard, and who are eligible for and obtain vital public health care coverage, food assistance, and housing assistance.
CACF, along with many of our member organizations, submitted comments to DHS earlier this year to oppose the rule, with 23,000 comments (out of 250,000 in total) from APA advocates nation-wide. Despite the strong opposition, the finalized rule discourages families that are eligible for health insurance programs like Medicaid from using them thereby threatening the well-being, health and safety of all immigrants, including Asian Pacific American (APA) immigrant children and families.
In New York City, half of all children under the age of six have an immigrant parent, and almost 25% of all children in immigrant families are APAs. These children live in hard-working homes, where many struggle to make ends meet. This inhumane rule can serve to exacerbate the fears in our communities that isolate immigrant families and prevent them from accessing needed health and other services.
Vanessa Leung, Co-Executive Director, states: “As a lead agency of an APA Patient Navigator program working with 10 community organizations across NYC providing health insurance enrollment services to increase access to health care for New Yorkers, CACF has already seen the threat of public charge discouraging thousands of APA families away from applying for health care coverage for which they are eligible.  This newly finalized rule will only worsen conditions for APA New Yorkers.”
“This rule is yet another attack on immigrant APA families. Our immigrant APA families and their children have suffered enough. These deplorable tactics are designed to instill fear, disrupt families, and create barriers that deprives those in need of basic necessities.  This rule will cause a great deal of harm to our communities,” states Anita Gundanna, Co-Executive Director.
CACF will continue to fight against this and other hurtful policies, ensure protections at the City and State levels to APA immigrant families, and work with our member organizations to help ensure access to quality and affordable health care for APA New Yorkers.
If litigation does not prevent the rule from taking effect, this policy will become effective in 60 days on October 15th, 2019.  For more information and resources on this ruling, please click HERE.






Thursday, August 1, 2019 
Vanessa Leung
212-809-4675 x106

CACF Applauds NYC DOE Commitment to Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education

CACF applauds the Department of Education (DOE) for adopting a definition of culturally responsive-sustaining education (CR-SE). By having a shared definition and language across our school system, our students, parents, educators, and administrators will also have a shared understanding. This will help transform our schools and this is how we help fix our K through 8.
CR-SE backed by decades of research, provides the framework for how our schools support our children to learn about themselves, about their community, and about other communities. When our educators know how to support all our children through CR-SE, our children will have a strong sense of their own identity as well as our shared humanity. We will see our students engaged in their learning and gain the critical thinking skills they need for success.
The Asian Pacific American (APA) community is the fastest growing group in New York City. We are diverse, but together we have to fight the harmful impacts of the model minority myth which prevents our needs from being recognized and understood. CACF supports the DOE’s commitment to culturally responsive-sustaining education as APA students would truly benefit from being seen for who they are and given the tools to connect their learning to their lives and identities.






Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 
Jean Hon
212-809-4675 x102


Honoring 6 Outstanding Individuals Changing the APA Community
New York, NY (July 16th, 2019) The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) recognizes its honorees today, Tuesday, July 16th 2019 at the second annual Asian Pacific American (APA) Change Maker Awards Reception, hosted in TD Bank (155 Canal Street, NYC) beginning at 5:30 pm. Bringing together close to 100 community advocates, youth leaders, and professional across industries, and NYC Council Members, CACF recognizes six outstanding individuals for their community vision and leadership impacting the APA community.
From left to right: New York City Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Elmhurst, Jackson Heights & Elmhurst); Shyda Rashid, Sakhi for South Asian Women; Vanessa Leung, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families; Sadaf Omar, New York City Mayor’s Center for Faith and Community Partnerships; Rehan Mehmood, South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS); Shuk King Cheng, Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc. (CPC); Eunhye Grace Kim, Korean Community Service (KCS) of Metropolitan NY; Anita Gundanna, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families.
“We are excited to honor 4 dedicated and passionate APA Change Makers, 1 ASAP Legacy Distinction Honoree and 1 Community Champion. Their everyday leadership and commitment to community change serves as an inspiration to us all. We can all play a role in the collective movement for equity for APA children and families”, said Anita Gundanna, Co-Executive Director of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families.
Vanessa Leung, Co-Executive Director of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, said, “CACF is thrilled to celebrate our second annual Change Maker awards reception to highlight individuals whose efforts have often go unnoticed. Their work not only impacts individual lives but connect to the larger systems change we need. Our 2019 Change Maker Honorees are helping us build a community too powerful to ignore.”
Please see below for the 2019 APA Change Maker honorees:
Council Member Daniel Dromm has been a progressive leader in Queens for over 20 years. Dromm was elected to the New York City Council in 2009 and represents District 25 (Jackson Heights & Elmhurst). He serves as the Chairperson of the Finance Committee. He has been a tireless advocate with a proven record of delivering for the community. Some of his many achievements include: bringing $4 million to Elmhurst Hospital to create a Cardiac Care Unit and expand the Emergency Room; delivering more than $860 million to build new schools for our community and fight overcrowding; passing Paid Sick Leave’ defending workers from unfair employers and protecting consumers from the spread of contagious illness and much, much more.
“I am honored to receive this award from the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families,” said NYC Council Finance Chair Daniel Dromm (D-Elmhurst, Jackson Heights). “From advancing legislation that helps service providers and policymakers understand the nuances between different API ethnic groups to establishing the first Fred T. Korematsu Day in the City of New York, it has been a pleasure to work alongside CACF to advocate for our city’s API communities. Together we have also fought to ensure that these New Yorkers receive their fair share of city dollars. I look forward to continuing our work together in the years ahead.”
Shuk King Cheng, is the Program Supervisor for Manhattan Youth Programs at the Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc. (CPC). Shuk oversees various youth programs including the Learn and Earn afterschool program, Summer Youth Employment Program, Work Learn and Grow Employment Program, and YMI Mentorship Initiative. Under Shuk’s leadership, her team was awarded the second highest rate of participation, best facilitation skills and best activity across all Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) Learn and Earn contracts.
“Thank you to the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families for uniting all of us at the Change Maker Awards Reception. It is an honor and a privilege to be recognized among a group of highly passionate and devoted leaders! I am humbly accepting the 2019 CACF’s Change Maker Award on behalf of the Chinese American Planning Council Inc., my amazing team, and CPC’s leadership team! Together we can Effectively Accomplish our Missions”, said Shuk King Cheng of the Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc.
Eunhye Grace Kim is the Assistant Director at Korean Community Service (KCS) of Metropolitan NY. She currently oversees Affordable Care Act Health Care navigator programs in NY and NJ, Independent Consumer Advocacy Network (ICAN- managed long term care related), Access Health NYC, and participates in many advocacy activities regarding immigrants and health issues. Since 2013, her healthcare access team has successfully helped over 5,000 Korean Americans with health insurance assistance and enrollments in NY and NJ.
Eunhye Grace Kim of Korean Community Service (KCS) of Metropolitan NY said, “I am humbled and honored to receive this award. In the beginning of my journey as an advocate, advocacy was ambiguous and challenging to me. I was frustrated and overwhelmed at times. However, over the course of time working together with fellow advocates, I witnessed how our voices become more solid, stronger, and feasible, and able to create change. I hope this award encourages and empowers more advocates to step forward and speak up for the needs of APA communities. I am thankful to KCS for giving me an opportunity to be an advocate for our community and appreciate CACF for recognizing me for my advocacy efforts.”
Rehan Mehmood is the Director of Health Services at South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS). He joined SACSS as a Program Manager in 2012, working on various healthcare access programs at SACSS, which included connecting families to essential health-care and helping them with post-enrollment issues. Presently he oversees all of SACSS’ healthcare access and education programs including the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Navigators, the Community Health Advocates (CHA), and the Independent Consumer Advocacy Network Program.
“I am honored and humbled to be chosen as one of CACF’s 2019 Changemaker along with colleagues from other CBO’s whom I have long admired and respected for their work. While we all work on different social issues what brings us together is our commitment in ensuring that our communities have access to essential benefits such as healthcare, food security and senior services among others. CACF has always supported SACSS in its mission of providing essential services to underserved New Yorkers. Being part of the larger APA community, I would like to thank CACF for recognizing CBO staff and congratulate my fellow recipients,” said Rehan Mehmood of South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS)
Shyda Rashid joined Sakhi for South Asian Women in December 2015, and is currently the Domestic Violence Program Manager & Advocate. Shyda was selected as one of the 2018 Advocates of New York City by the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV). This award is an honor recognizing Shyda’s tireless advocacy and support for Domestic Violence Survivors and Community. While at Sakhi, she has developed and implemented very popular survivor-centered programs which break isolation, build community between survivors, address internalized stigma, and lift survivors’ voices. Shyda is a Social Worker, an activist, and an advocate for people facing gender-based violence.
Shyda Rashid of Sakhi for South Asian Women said, “I am passionate about supporting women by encouraging them to use their experiences as a source of strength and empowerment. I do this work because working with my community and creating value is something that gives me satisfaction beyond what words can express. I know that the women of my community look up to me as their voice and hope, someone they can trust. As a recent immigrant, Sakhi for South Asian Women has given me a space in which I was able to build a very strong foundation to support myself and my community. I have been selected to receive a 2019 Change Maker Award by CACF. This is an honor to me but more importantly, to recognize the great work that Sakhi for South Asian Women does.”
Sadaf Omar is a Community Coordinator at the New York City Mayor’s Center for Faith and Community Partnerships housed under the Community Affairs Unit. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Sadaf served as the Deputy Director of Scheduling for the Honorable Melissa Mark-Viverito. In addition to her community organizing role, she serves on the Board of Muslim Writers Collective (MWC), a grassroots national initiative dedicated to reclaiming the Muslim narrative through storytelling. Muslim Writers Collective has been featured in Vice, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, The Daily Beast, and many more media publications. MWC has active chapters in seven cities across the country, and has been credited with providing “a space for young Muslims to honor their humanity” by Vice. She is a current fellow with the JCRC-NY “We are All New York” Fellowship. Sadaf truly believes that “change begins with me”.
“The Coalition for Asian American Children & Families has been at the core of my dedication for civic and community engagement for over a decade. It was through their mentorship that I felt empowered to make sure that every voice is heard and counted at the table. This is the legacy I want to leave behind- change begins with me”, said Sadaf Omar of the New York City’s Mayor’s Center for Faith and Community Partnerships.
The event includes a reception and awards ceremony.
The following New York City Council Members and staffers joined CACF’s 2019 Change Maker Awards Reception in celebrating the honorees and their dedication to the APA community:
Council Member Daniel Dromm
Sebastian Maguire, Budget and Legislative Director, Council Member Daniel Dromm
Carolyn Tran, Chief of Staff, Council Member Daniel Dromm
Stella Chan, Speaker Corey Johnson
Lorena Lucero, Chief of Staff, Council Member Carlos Menchaca
Proceeds benefit CACF’s social justice leadership programs and policy and advocacy campaigns. CACF is grateful for the support of TD Bank.




Wednesday, June 12th, 2019 
Anita Gundanna
212-809-4675 x105
Vanessa Leung
212-809-4675 x106

CACF Applauds NY State Legislature for passing

APA Data Disaggregation

New York, New York — CACF, the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, applauds the New York State Legislature for passing the Asian Pacific American (APA) Data Disaggregation bill  (Assembly A00677/Senate S3662), which requires the collection of more accurate APA demographic information by State agencies, boards, and commissions. CACF commends the leadership of the bill’s sponsors, NY State Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou and Senator Julia Salazar.  We are also thankful to Assemblymember Ron Kim, who worked with CACF years ago to introduce the bill and who championed data disaggregation for many years.
CACF has been advocating for APA data disaggregation in NY State for nearly a decade.  This win was made possible by the collaborative advocacy of a diverse group of CACF’s organizational members and partners who are part of CACF’s Invisible No More Campaign.
Vanessa Leung and Anita Gundanna, Co-Executive Directors of CACF, said, “Asian Pacific American (APA) communities across New York State embody much diversity in ethnicity, and also in experiences of poverty, immigration, and in languages, cultures, and histories.  With the passage of this bill through the Assembly and Senate, we are one step closer to dispelling the model minority myth and providing a better understanding of the real challenges facing New York’s fastest growing population. CACF calls on Governor Cuomo to sign this bill into law, and we offer our support to the State in the implementation of this legislation for better and more accurate data collection.  Such data is critical to understanding the unique social, educational, and economic difficulties in our communities; and to ensuring that NY State APA communities’ needs are met through improved resources and services.”




To read the entire letter, click here: An Open Plea to New Yorkers

SHSAT Dear New York image

To read the entire letter, click here: An Open Plea to New Yorkers

To read the entire letter, click here: Open Letter SDAG Orgs and Parents 

Open Letter SDAG Orgs and Parents

To read the entire letter, click here: Open Letter SDAG Orgs and Parents 


CACF Statement on

New York State Senate Committee on NYC Education School Diversity & Specialized High School Admissions Community Forum

New York, New York– Last night’s Queens community forum held by the NYS Senate Committee on NYC Education was supposed to create a space for community engagement and discussion on school diversity and the specialized high schools in NYC. However, the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) was deeply disappointed and saddened by the divisive language and the fear-driven rhetoric against other communities of color in arguing to keep the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) as the sole criteria for admission.  We are also disappointed in the persistent lack of inclusion in this debate of the voices of those in the Asian Pacific American (APA) community pushing for educational equity and educational reform.

Perpetuating ‘positive’ stereotypes about Asian American students and falling prey to the model minority myth not only hides the wide range of issues we face in the education system (lack of language access, cultural competency, xenophobia etc), but also serves to blind us to how we are being used to further marginalize communities of color.  We, including the APA community, need constructive and inclusive dialogue and solutions to create integrated learning communities and we should not be satisfied with the status quo.

At the Senate Forum last night, the perspectives of APA community members were again dominated by those who want to keep the single test. The community needs to stop seeing reform to the specialized high school admissions policy as a zero sum game. We ALL lose if we continue down the path we are on, placing such high stakes on a single test. It hurts ALL of our children because we define their ability by a single score – one imperfect measure with a cut-off score that fluctuates year to year.  And we ALL lose out on the best education possible with an inequitable education system.

CACF is calling all communities to fight collectively for educational equity. We need diverse and inclusive school environments; investments in schools and new schools across the City, especially targeting those schools and communities who are still impacted by historic under-investments; and creating opportunities that not only bring about the academic excellence of our students, but also support them in their social emotional growth. We also need reform of our single test admissions policy and the entire high school selection process.   

CACF calls for the NYS Senate Committee on NYC Education at the upcoming borough forums to lay out clear rules of decorum at the start of the event to ensure that all voices are respected and heard, but also that the language used is respectful of the diverse communities of New York.


New York City’s Specialized High School Discovery Program is a Step in the Right Direction But is Not Enough

The SHSAT Single-Test Must Be Reformed

New York, NY –  New York City’s schools are the most segregated schools in the entire nation and the City’s specialized high schools are no exceptions, even with the addition and expansion of the Discovery program. The Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) is a single-measure admissions’ policy that perpetuates the segregation. Current efforts at improving diversity include the Discovery Program.

However, as seen by today’s Discovery program announcement, we need a much bolder and more effective plan for integration.  Black student enrollment increased by 109 seats and Latinx student enrollment by 169 seats. This brings the total percent of Black students who received offers to specialized high schools at 5.2% and Latinx students at 8.5%.

For Asian Pacific American students in the system, the Discovery Program did not limit the number of seats as argued by plaintiffs suing the City for the expansion of Discovery.  In fact, the number of seats offered to Asian Pacific American students increased by 498 seats, and we hope it has added to the diversity of neighborhoods from where our Asian Pacific American students come.  

The Discovery Program is a small step towards change,  but falls grossly short in its ability to truly support integration because of its heavy reliance on one imperfect measure.

The Discovery Program, which offers admissions to low-income students who score just under the cut off score, would be expanded to 20% of seats at each specialized high school by 2020. In addition, the expansion targets students from high poverty schools across the City.  Now that Discovery is an official mandate, schools are unable to elect out of the Discovery Program, as Stuyvesant High School, The Bronx High School of Science, and High School of American Studies at Lehman College have done in the past.

“The Discovery Program is limited in its ability to bring diversity to the specialized high schools. Integration and equity in education benefits all students, including APA students. Research is showing greater racial diversity in education exhibits smaller test score gaps between students,” said Anita Gundanna, Co-Executive Director of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families.

Vanessa Leung, Co-Executive Director of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, said, “Racially inclusive and representative education cultivates an increasingly positive and healthier learning environment for students. We are doing our children a disservice if we do not work towards greater integration in our schools.”

SHSAT is a single-measure test that limits the specialized high schools’ ability to create integrated, high performing schools.  Even with the implementation of the Discovery Program, we still call for the need to reform the specialized high school admissions policy.

New York DREAM Act 2019

CACF is proud of the New York State Legislature’s passage of the DREAM Act, which will provide hundreds of thousands of undocumented students the opportunity to afford and pursue higher education with New York’s tuition support, including TAP and the Excelsior Scholarship. The DREAM Act offers an outlet for impoverished, foreign-born Asian Pacific Americans (APA) to improve their income situation. More importantly, it honors our APA parents; who sacrificed and contributed to this country’s wealth by toiling in back-breaking jobs in farming, fast food service, housekeeping and factories to name a few, to send their kids on a path towards achieving the American Dream. Special thanks to the DREAMers and countless other advocates who worked tirelessly over the last several years to make this dream finally a reality for our immigrant community.

Join us and many others in support of the José Peralta New York State’s DREAM Act for education equity #DREAMAct.

CACF joins NYC DOHMH Health Care Open Enrollment Day of Action

The New York State Health Open Enrollment period ends on January 31st, 2019. To encourage enrollment, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH), is launching a Day of Action for January 17th 2019 and CACF, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, is joining this effort to increase enrollment, particularly in the Asian Pacific American (APA) community. With the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) still in effect alongside Medicaid expansion, NYC is seeking to enroll over 50,000 New Yorkers in low or no-cost health care.

CACF is working with its member organizations and Patient Navigators by providing additional outreach tools and resources to grow enrollment within the APA community. New York’s APA community comprises of 15% of New York’s population (1.3 million people) and over 40% of APAs qualify for and receive Medicaid. However, almost 15% of the NYC APAs remain uninsured.

CACF’s Patient Navigators have shared how difficult it is to enroll members of the APA community. Many APAs experience language barriers as almost 45% of New York’s APAs speak little to no English and the linguistic needs are highly varied with well over 20 languages such as Urdu, Tagalog, Taishanese, Hindi and Bengali.

Additionally, growing but unfounded fears regarding Public Charge have negatively impacted enrollment. CACF denounces Public Charge, where the receipt of public cash or assistance may deny a person’s admission to the United States or lawful permanent residence status. CACF reminds all that Public Charge has not taken into effect and does not legally impact one’s immigration status. These unwarranted fears should be ignored and all New Yorkers should apply for Health Care coverage.

“We recommend all New Yorkers continue to seek the help you need to protect you and your family’s health and well being. Remember, you are not alone. CACF and thousands of other organizations all over the country are defending the Affordable Care Act. Please sign up for Health Care before January 31st, and encourage others to do so as well.

-Vanessa Leung and Anita Gundanna, CACF Co-Executive Directors

With roughly two weeks remaining in this Open Enrollment period, CACF and its Patient Navigators are working hard to enroll New Yorkers in Health Care.

If you are interested in Health Care coverage, please visit


CACF’s Education Policy Brief 2018

Overemphasizing a Test, Oversimplifying Our Children: An APA Perspective on Specialized High School Reform towards Educational Equity

New York City is one of the most segregated school systems in the United States. The specialized high schools themselves, though a small percentage of the public schools, reflect the gross lack of diversity, inequity, and inclusion in the larger system. The Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) as the single measure of admissions is unfair and a barrier to diversity in these schools.

Therefore, CACF believes in eliminating the SHSAT or any single test as the sole measure for admission to the specialized high schools in favor of adopting a multiple measures policy. In addition to these reforms, we also offer several recommendations on how the City and the Department of Education can better promote diversity and inclusion in the school system and ensure all students have equitable access to a high quality education.

As the nation’s only pan-Asian policy advocacy organization, CACF has a responsibility to the APA community to advocate for educational policies that benefit all APA students, including and especially those most marginalized. This responsibility is critical as APAs continue to be left out of educational reform efforts and policy decisions, further perpetuating the harmful effects of the model minority myth. With this brief, we hope to highlight the important role the APA community plays in the broader fight for educational equity.


Download full brief here.

Download press release here.


The Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC)CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF), and the undersigned organizations call for unity and condemn the violence that occurred on Friday at New Red Apple Nails in Brooklyn and the unrelated vandalism that happened to small businesses in South Brooklyn. As organizations that serve and advocate for the Asian American community of New York, it is our responsibility to call out and stand against anti-immigrant rhetoric and anti-Blackness and work with other communities of color toward racial justice.

Please read full statement here.

Asian Pacific American Organizations Respond

to NYC SHSAT Reform

Please read the response developed with community based organizations in the Asian Pacific American community that puts forward our common values and beliefs in education:

  1. Diverse and inclusive school environments are beneficial to all students.
  2. The NYC Department of Education (DOE) needs to address inequities in education across Pre-K through 12th grade and examine current processes and admission policies. 
  3. No family or parent from any community should be shamed in discussions around education and schooling.  
  4. Families need more easily accessible information to be better informed about the full variety of opportunities for their children’s schooling at all levels. 
  5. ALL children have the potential to succeed and excel in schools when given the right support and environment because no student goes to school wanting to fail. 
  6. ALL communities should be involved in constructive dialogue, especially when critical decisions are being made about schools, not just certain communities.

Please read the full response here. Any questions, please contact Tasfia Rahman, Policy Coordinator.

New York City Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Analysis

The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) is pleased to announce that discretionary funds allocated to Asian Pacific American-led organizations by the New York City Council for Fiscal Year 2019 increased by a little over $200,000 as compared to FY 2018, with a total of $2,426,240 for FY 2019. The highest total discretionary award received by an APA-led organization was $269,000, an increase of $11,000 compared to FY 2018. Total discretionary awards made to APA-led organizations increased by 1.00%, bringing the percent of total discretionary funding to APA-led organizations up to 5.06% for FY 2019. Specifically, Manhattan and Staten Island saw an increase in percent of total discretionary funding given to APA-led organizations. However, it is important to note that, without including speaker funding, 30 Council districts individually gave less than FY2018 of total discretionary funding.

To view full report: FY 2019 Schedule C Funding Report

To view press release: FY 2019 Schedule C Press Release


APA Social Justice Institute
Spring 2018 Cohort – A Case for a Cause

A Case for a Cause: Connecting Service to Social Justice is open to community-based organization staff who work with children and/or youth and are interested in making deeper connections to APA community issues in New York City. Participants will conceptualize and connect with various community needs and larger social change efforts, locally and nationally, for our diverse APA communities. We are excited to invest in the collective power of our organizational members. We are excited with our inaugural cohort.

Fatima Rahmati Women for Afghan Women
Hyeongeun Ashley Ahn The Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York
Kevin Cho The Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York
Palwasha Sharwani Grand Street Settlement
Joanna Huang Grand Street Settlement
Caitlin Ho Hunter College AANAPISI Project (HCAP)
Farzana Karim Sakhi for South Asian Women
Mimi Ko Chinese American Planning Council
Yijing (Grace) Wang Chinese American Planning Council


The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) aims to improve the economic security and well-being of Asian Pacific American children and families in New York City.