While Governor Pataki was on his way to an Asian-American Heritage Month celebration on Thursday in midtown, 80 protesters rallied nearby to remind him his own welfare plan will hurt Southeast Asians living in New York.
The Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence organized the protest against Pataki’s implementation of the federal welfare reform law, which will take away many immigrants’ Supplemental Security Income and Food Stamps–and mandate workfare jobs for others–starting this fall.
“We should not punish people because they are poor by making them servants,” said Eric Tang, youth coordinator at CAAAV.
According to a CAAAV survey, over 90 percent of the Southeast Asian community in the Bronx, many of whom do not speak English, are receiving some form of public assistance and will be cut off come fall.
The protesters also demanded that the city hire Khmer and Vietnamese-speaking social workers, continued provision of food aid, educational programs instead of workfare and Home Relief or other state cash assistance. Standing outside the ABC studios, they chanted: “Pataki don’t care ecause he ain’t on welfare.”The Governor never heard a single stanza. Although he was expected to arrive at 5:30pm, the gubernatorial entourage didn’t show up until after six, when most of the demonstrators had already gone home.