Hochul Appoints Local Activist to State AAPI Commission Hochul Appoints Local Activist to State AAPI Commission

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) — The Asian American Pacific Islander community makes up the third largest ethnic group in Syracuse. In the last 10 years, the number has grown by over 1,500 people.

Due to this growth not only in Syracuse but statewide, Gov. Kathy Hochul saw a need for Asian representation at the state level and signed a bill in 2023 to establish the first ever New York State Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Commission.

Tai Shaw, newly appointed chairman of the AAPI Commission for Syracuse sees the needs of the community first hand.

“The basic needs are the language barrier and culture sensitivity. It’s hard for them to survive because they don’t speak the language,” said Shaw.

For Shaw this has been a life long mission. Coming over from Vietnam at the age of 10 his goal has been to help immigrants transition to life in America. Name a board and Shaw most likely sits on it, because he believes having a seat at the table is vital.

“I’d rather be at the table than be on the menu, because I’d rather eat than be eaten. What does that mean? It means if you don’t speak up, and don’t say what you need to say, you’re on the menu,” said Shaw.

With the help of his children, Shaw also created food boxes called CNY Blessing Boxes to provide food for refugees across Syracuse. It started out small but has grown immensely over the years. The Blessing Boxes now provide food for people of all different backgrounds and religious beliefs.

Shaw wants to remind people of one thing. It takes a village.

“Don’t thank me with words. If you truly thanked me for where I’ve been and what I’m doing, stand behind me,” said Shaw.

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