The past few weeks have stress-tested the various global, national, and local systems in place. These inadequacies have left our Asian Elders disproportionately vulnerable and isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic. This demographic is impacted on multiple fronts:
1. Economic front: there is a noticeable decline in Asian-owned businesses, even more so than general business decline. This decline has potential to permanently reduce the Elders’ quality of life as the financial hit to these businesses (and their owners) continue into the foreseeable future.
2. Health front: our Elders are, well, elderly. They are the ones who will be less likely to recover if they were to ever contract the virus, leaving them especially isolated during an already frightening time.
3. Racial front: there has already been countless reports of anti-Asian xenophobia + hate crimes. Fear of violence and harassment further exacerbate the risk to the Elders’ physical safety and self-reliance.
4. Resources front: because of #1, #2, and #3 above, the Elders are the least able to go out to their local grocery store and pay/fight for basic resources.
The funds from this relief will go to support Asian Elders in the Bay Area with food, basic utilities, and/or online access. As the news regarding the pandemic is changing daily, we want to keep the funds flexible to go where they are most needed yet be held accountable to be used in the most effective and impactful ways possible. The organizer will be posting where each dollar goes in the updates below.
The initial high-level budget plan and goals are as listed below:
• We will be partnering with local Asian American community organizations, translators, and advocates who have existing trusted relationships with local businesses and families to identify those in need.
• We will prioritize resolving any food-insecurity of Asian Elders of the community during this time.
• We will ensure that any means of physical distribution are within the CDC guidelines such that the Asian Elders are not at increased risk from our help.
• We will do our best to procure the resources, be it food, groceries or supplies, from local Asian businesses who are seeing severe business decline.
• If food-insecurity and lack of basic resources are resolved and there are still remaining funds, we will prioritize to provide basic mobile/tablet devices (along with education from organizers/translators on how to use them) so that the Asian Elders have means to digital communication channels and hard-to-access information, such as info about the virus, health best practices, and labor rights.
One of our many strengths is a strong sense of respect for our community. Now more than ever, we can leverage that strength. To help beyond donating, please reach out to your local communities/organizations and share this campaign. If you know an Asian Elder in the Bay Area in need, please reach out to the organizer of this fund.
Q: Who is the organizer of this GoFundMe campaign?
A: My name is Esther Hwang, and I am a Asian-American resident of the Bay Area for 15+ years. This work is on a completely volunteer basis. None of the people managing/assisting with this fund (or their household members) will receive money/resources from this fund. I am working with the advice & guidance of organizers from local government and Asian community organizations, such as AACRE (Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality), CPA (Chinese Progressive Association) and APIQWTC (Asian Pacific Islander Queer Women/Transgender Community).
Q: Who exactly are these funds going to, and in what form?
A: 100% of the donations will go to the Asian elderly community who live in the Bay Area who have lost income or access to food/basic resources due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The donations will be distributed in two ways: 1) via direct funds given to local Asian/Asian-American organizations, who have existing, trusting relationships with this demographic and 2) directly to the local, elderly Asian community in the form of food (such as non-perishable grains) and basic needs (such as personal hygiene products and cleaning products).
Q: How will we ensure that the donations are delivered directly to the intended recipient?
A: For any expenditures for food and basic needs, we will keep an itemized record that will be shared in the Updates section. For any funds that are donated to a local non-profit organization (who are able to further distribute money, food, and supplies), we will post the 501c3 donation receipts in the Updates section. Donors will be kept informed of progress in the Updates section of any changes, donations to organizations, and purchases.
Q: How do you know the recipients of your campaign's donations? Are you in direct contact with them?
A: The goal of this campaign is to create a relief fund that will ultimately all go to help support the elderly Asian community in the Bay Area, who are off-the-grid and unlikely to apply online for funds. I am in direct contact with organizers from local organizations (such as the ones mentioned above) who have direct relationships with local Asian businesses and local Asian senior/community centers.