This summary was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.
When attacks on Asian-Americans began ramping up at the start of the pandemic, Kenneth Tam, an artist, decided to document these incidents on a Google spreadsheet named “We Are Not COVID.” The spreadsheet gained a wide audience and filled up with even more reports over the last few months. The increase of attacks inspired Asian Americans throughout the U.S. raise awareness on social media, protest, and discover new grounds for solidarity with each other. Some Asian Americans also began making art to combat the racism, including a series of posters and displays that went up around New York City and a series of projections from the Chinatown Art Brigade. The New York Times
In other local immigration news…
Documented Talks: The Future of Chinatown
📍 Documented Event
Documented will be hosting a panel discussion on Thursday, April 29 to talk about how Manhattan’s Chinatown has suffered throughout the pandemic. Rong Xiaoqing, a reporter for the Chinese-language newspaper Sing Tao Daily, will discuss the events of this past year and will shed light upon what the future may hold for Chinatown residents as they cope with loss of employment, declining business and rising rent dents, along with other issues. We’ll hear from three New Yorkers involved in Chinatown’s affairs, including:
Wellington Chen, executive director of the Chinatown BID, with knowledge of how hard Chinatown businesses have been hit.
Joanne Kwog, president of Pearl River Mart, who can discuss heritage and cultural appropriation and rent pressure.
Yin Kong, founder of Think! Chinatown, who fought against geographic inequality in some city programs meant to help businesses during the pandemic.
Register here for our free Zoom event on Thursday, April 29 at 4:30 pm.
NY Lawmakers Visit U.S.-Mexico Border
A group of New York legislators have recently visited the U.S.-Mexico border as shelters fill up amid a rise in crossings. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island) said she was upset by the overcrowded facilities. “Children basically laying right next to each other, zero social distancing, crammed into pods,” Malliotakis said. She is one of many Republicans who have criticized the Biden administration’s response to the border. Meanwhile Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Democrat representing parts of Queens and Long Island, said people need to stop pointing fingers. “This is everybody’s fault for decades. So if you want to say it’s a crisis, yeah it’s a crisis, but it’s been a crisis for decades,” he said. Spectrum News
NY Public Defender Explains Process of Getting Marijuana Record Eradicated
New York legalized recreational marijuana last month, expunging the criminal records of anyone who’d been arrested for certain cannabis-related crimes as well. Emma Goodman, a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society of New York, said about 200,000 individuals already had their records eradicated under the 2019 decriminalization laws, while about 150,000 will be eligible with this new law. But it’s a different story for immigrants with marijuana convictions. “Their record will still be automatically expunged, but that might not be enough for the immigration authorities to recognize it,” said Goodman. Immigrants may need to hire a lawyer to file a 440 application to help ensure their record is cleared. Gothamist
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