Senator Cooney Hosts Sold Out Upstate AAPI Summit

(ROCHESTER, NY) - On Saturday, May 6, Senator Jeremy Cooney (D-Rochester) hosted AAPI leaders and community members from Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany and beyond for the first ever Upstate AAPI Summit.

More than 200 people attended the event that featured workshops on AAPI community visibility, health impacts of discrimination, capacity building, organizing Upstate communities, and economic empowerment, including MWBE certification. 

The summit’s list of featured speakers included Sibu Nair, Governor Hochul’s Deputy Director of Asian Affairs for New York State, Jeannette Moy, Commissioner, NYS Office of General Services, and Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director, Asian American Federation.

Additional programming included performances from AGAPE Black Belt Center in Pittsford, Barharata School of Indian Dance and Music, Korean vocalists from the Eastman School, and the presentation of a proclamation from Governor Hochul by Deputy Director Nair and Commissioner Moy to Senator Cooney proclaiming May Asian American Heritage Month in New York State.  

The Asian population is the fastest growing demographic in the United States, including a 37% increase in New York between 2010 and 2020. 

Senator Cooney is the first Asian-American elected to state-level office outside of the Metro New York City. He was proud to host this summit during AAPI Heritage Month. 

This event was about more than a gathering, it was about ensuring all New Yorkers understand the AAPI community is visible outside NYC and is contributing to our state’s future,” Senator Cooney said. “I am very proud to be part of a growing AAPI Caucus in Albany, but we need more. We need more representation in public office to better support our Asian families with economic and health resources, and to better communicate these opportunities in a spectrum of languages that reflect our state’s diversity. Working across upstate, we will meet these goals.” 

“It was an honor to represent Governor Hochul at the inaugural Upstate Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Summit in Rochester,” NYS OGS Commissioner Jeanette Moy said. This convening is all the more poignant this month, in which we have the opportunity to reflect and uplift the stories of 2.2 million AAPI New Yorkers. The AAPI community is incredibly diverse, with histories that reach back to the early 1800s here in New York, to recent waves of immigration that have made AAPIs among the fastest-growing communities in the State. I applaud Senator Cooney for creating a forum for AAPI community members to meaningfully discuss issues that impact AAPIs, including education, public safety, and economic prosperity.”

"We were grateful to have been invited to participate in the first ever AAPI Upstate Summit by Senator Cooney and his team. The AAPI community is growing fastest Upstate and community-based organizations need to be supported as the first points of access to services for many of our newest Americans," Asian American Federation Executive Director, Jo-Ann Yoo, said. "It's critical that our community has convening spaces like this to discuss issues that are as critical Upstate as they are in New York City, from mental health access to economic empowerment and community organizing. We look forward to further, deeper engagement, this is just the beginning."