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Support AAPI at IC

May 27, 2021
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Celebrate and support the Asian American and Pacific Islander community through learning, purchasing, donating and hearing from AAPI tenants. Purchase from AAPI owned businesses #ICEats Our Food Hall and beyond offers a variety of eats from around the world. See below for a list of our food vendors and restaurants from Korean, Indian to Japanese.  EjenTaza MktJapan VillageOldiesTadaimaWakuWakuYaso Tangbao #UpstairsAtIC Redthreads: Homewares At the heart of Redthreads are Malaysian-born siblings Yien and Leon Wong. In Asian mythology, it is said that an invisible, unbreakable red thread connects all those who are destined to be together. For Redthreads, it is tying...

Celebrate and support the Asian American and Pacific Islander community through learning, purchasing, donating and hearing from AAPI tenants.


Purchase from AAPI owned businesses


#ICEats

Our Food Hall and beyond offers a variety of eats from around the world. See below for a list of our food vendors and restaurants from Korean, Indian to Japanese. 


#UpstairsAtIC

Redthreads: Homewares

At the heart of Redthreads are Malaysian-born siblings Yien and Leon Wong. In Asian mythology, it is said that an invisible, unbreakable red thread connects all those who are destined to be together. For Redthreads, it is tying the red threads through beautiful home products to form a connection between the user and the products.


D-Haene Studio: Ceramics 

Artist Jane D’Haene was born and raised in Korea. D’Haene draws inspiration from the minimalist forms of traditional Korean pottery, pulling them into the contemporary conversation by introducing an unexpected vocabulary of colors, textures, and design elements. Each of D’Haene’s pieces speak to her heritage while tapping into the here and now, lending an energetic sense of place and power to their surroundings.


Clara Sunwoo: Fashion 

Owners, Clara Sunwoo and daughter Roseann Sunwoo’s mission are to have women not just look empowered and beautiful, but feel it from within. They are a cross-generation, ageless lifestyle brand, who makes clothing fit right so you feel amazing. Every design created must be wrinkle-free, travel-friendly, and effortless. Feeling chic and put together is just as important as looking the part. They make clothing that’s just like you—strong, feminine, and everyday ready.  


Peter do: Fashion 

Born in Biên Hòa, Vietnam, Do immigrated to the suburbs of Philadelphia at the age of 14. He studied Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and was the recipient of the inaugural 2014 LVMH Graduate Prize. The brand has always put family first through its commitment to creating a brand that is rooted in kindness and mutual respect. 


Support + Donate


Heart of Dinner

Founded at the onset of COVID-19, Heart of Dinner works to fight food insecurity and isolation experienced by Asian American seniors—two long-standing community issues heightened by the pandemic. They now serve 1,500+ elders in Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, delivering weekly hot lunches, fresh produce, and bulk ingredients while supporting local small businesses during their COVID-related recovery process.


Art on Campus


After the Rain by Jocelyn Tsaih

The Collision Project utilizes the campus of IC as a diverse and flexible testing ground for artists and visionaries to collaborate and to promote exploration of the grounds. Explore art installations by AAPI artists that are currently on view via the art map here.


Fuel Your Knowledge


Seoul of NY + Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce

Seoul Business Agency and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce together have launched Seoul Made in New York (SMiNY). Their initiative is to build a foundation of mutual support, opportunity, and collaboration between the communities of these two cities.


AAFE

Asian Americans for Equality is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization based in New York City. Founded in 1974 in Manhattan’s Chinatown to advocate for equal rights, AAFE has transformed in the past four decades to become one of the city’s leading housing, social service and community development organizations.


IC Tenant Feature


The AAPI community makes up a large portion of the New York population and its culture, and with the recent movement to #StopAsianHate the community is coming together to offer support to peers and neighbors. Below the AAPI community of IC opens up about traditions, struggles and looking to the future as one.

Clara Sunwoo / Roseann Sunwoo together with Clara Sunwoo

  • How has your heritage shaped the person you are today?   

My mother Clara Sunwoo emigrated from Seoul Korea in 1975 to NYC with $1000 and a suitcase. My parents struggled to find work with their limited English.  It was financially hard when I, (their 1st child) Roseann Sunwoo was born, right here in Brooklyn NY.  Being a Korean American child of immigrants, my parents’ work ethic, tight family culture and the must-do, can-do attitude helped shape the person I am today. The no fear entrepreneurial spirit I have comes from my heritage, the Brooklyn Bensonhurst neighbors and friends that both taunted me while growing up yet also raised me, gave me the path to be strong, fearless, and become the proud Korean American I am today. It was a difficult journey and my mother and I had to make everything out of necessity (pillows, curtains, clothing, table cloth, everything…) But, our hands-on experience and unrelenting grit is eventually how we became successful designers and grew our Clara Sunwoo women’s apparel collection into a nationally distributed brand.

Are there aspects of your culture that influence your business? Lessons learned from childhood that you apply? The Korean culture as well as I believe most immigrant cultures in general are extremely family focused and achieving means achievement for the whole family. This mentality is what kept my mother and I working together even through the most difficult times. We could not give up and never let failure or obstacles bring us down. Knowing that you must support and work for your family and not just for yourself has pushed me in so many ways and given me strength that I do not think I could have on my own. When you have purpose and you know others count on your success, whether it be at school as a child or work as an adult, the enormous pressure can either break you or uplift you.  In my case, the belief that the goal of succeeding was never just for myself, suited me.  That aspect is what pushes me through any difficult moments in my life.   

  • Where do you find community with your culture? Are there professional organizations, informal networks, family, etc?  

Community for me are the people that physically surround me and where I like to plug in.  You need to make an effort to create a community whether in family or in your neighborhood.   I have twin boys who are almost 12 and I find myself fortunate to plug into the schools, meet parents, and speak to all of my favorite business owners in my neighborhood in downtown Brooklyn where I currently reside.  At work in Industry City, I pretty much speak to anyone that I see everyday to get to know people and try to attend speaking events (pre-pandemic of course) to support other artists and especially women entrepreneurs.  You can only build community if you are willing to plug in.    

  • The past year has been difficult for the AAPI community. What is your recommended call to action in support of the AAPI community?  

Yes this past year has been really difficult for the AAPI community and still continues to be difficult. We are American as any other American and we have been made to feel like outsiders and fearful in our own communities.  It was shocking to see so much hate in NYC, a place I always felt was more inclusive, exposed, culturally diverse and a positive example for other cities. There is so much unique creativity in NYC because of our diversity. The hate I saw in NYC brought back some difficult childhood feelings and it was really painful and is still very painful. But I know the hate is coming from a small group, they do not represent what NYC is. What we need is everyone stepping up and having the conversation that hate and racism exists for Asian Americans and that we are not the model minority. Asian communities need support and we need non-Asians especially recognizing that this  conversation is important.  We don’t want to be the butt of media jokes and we especially don’t think it’s okay.  We would love for the media to tell our stories, our Asian American history which most people have no clue about.  Asian Americans make up about 15% of the NYC population. We are American and we are NYC!           

  • Share 2-3 things that you love the most about your culture/heritage?

I love the Korean family culture and the sharing of love through delicious Korean food and for me especially, the drinking and comradery.   I also absolutely adore Korean skin care products and Korean fashion designs. If you ever get a chance to visit Seoul, the fashion sense is amazing.  People are not afraid to express and be who they want to be for that day. It’s always a live fashion show. Being clothing designers, it is just the highlight when I am traveling to Korea.    


Yaso / Chi Zhang 

  • How has your heritage shaped the person you are today?

Outside from everyday experiences, my heritage has completely shaped the person that I am today. From the values and traditions that have been passed onto me from my family to the culture that has surrounded me because of where I came from, has all shaped me into the person that I am today.  

  • Are there aspects of your culture that influence your business? Lessons learned from childhood that you apply?

Asians are very family oriented, especially when it comes to food. We constantly have gatherings together that are based around a huge meal. Even within operating a business we try to keep a family feeling because that is where it all originated from. Lessons that I learned from my childhood that we apply in our business is that no matter what happens we are a family and the importance that our food is made with love and brings people together. 

  • Where do you find community with your culture? Are there professional organizations, informal networks, family, etc? 

We are lucky enough to call New York City home. A place with such diversity and community. It makes finding communities, organizations, and families easy as long as you are seeking it.

  • The past year has been difficult for the AAPI community. What is your recommended call to action in support of the AAPI community? 

Spreading awareness is easy and free to do especially now with the digital age, if time is available to you then volunteering is also an option, and finally donating monetarily if you have the means to do so. It is so comforting knowing that others are standing with us especially during this time. 

  • Share 2-3 things that you love the most about your culture/heritage

The endless amount of culture there is to discover is one of my favorite parts of my heritage. There is always a new story, new food, or new place to discover. I love the traditions that we have when celebrating certain holidays that bring me closer to my family and ancestors. 


Tadaima / Ayaka Ando

  • How has your heritage shaped the person you are today?

 I lived in a rural town in Japan until I was 18 years old. Having lived in a very small community, it was natural for me to be considerate of others and to act accordingly, and I think it was an essential element for me to survive there. After graduating from high school, I left home and moved to Osaka and then to Tokyo, and I vividly remember being overwhelmed by the sheer number of people and their different ways of thinking. When I arrived in New York at the age of 26, I felt that same feeling in a different way. Whenever I change the base of my life, I always feel a sense of love for the hometown where I was born and raised.

As my family is involved in farming, the sense of cherishing and nurturing what is there without going against nature is firmly rooted in my identity. I was able to know this because I had the chance to get involved with people living in a completely different environment. Especially in New York, there are many times when you are asked “why?” for the actions and ideas you have been doing and thinking naturally. For the other person, it is often because they genuinely want to know more about you. However, there are times when I cannot answer well. Each time I am asked a question, it gives me a chance to think about the country of Japan and what my own identity is, and I think I am able to understand myself and the environment around me more deeply. I hope that these experiences will help me to see things from a slightly different angle and make decisions that will be of use to the people around me and my home country.

  • Are there aspects of your culture that influence your business? Lessons learned from childhood that you apply?

Be grateful for the environment you have. Even when it comes to making sweets, there is beautiful nature, there are people who produce delicious ingredients, there are chefs who prepare them, and there are customers who enjoy them. I am grateful for everything involved in that cycle. The environment is always changing. Especially in a big city like New York, and in today’s world, things are constantly changing at a rapid pace. There are times when I lose sight of myself and suffer. Even at such times, I believe that if I can find even one thing that I can be grateful for in my current environment, it will give me the strength to move forward.

  • Where do you find community with your culture? Are there professional organizations, informal networks, family, etc?

I feel strongly about Japanese culture in the food industry, which is also my business. When I leave the small island nation of Japan and meet people who are living in a different culture, but who are expressing themselves through food with a strong sense of sincerity, I am very inspired and feel a strong sense of passion. It is a feeling that pushes me to do my best as well.

  • The past year has been difficult for the AAPI community. What is your recommended call to action in support of the AAPI community?

I believe that uniting as a community will be a great strength and a step forward to move forward. However, I think it is important for each and every one of us to face this issue first, not just as a community.

When two people face each other and try to learn about themselves and each other, they will notice the differences in nationality, skin color, gender, age, religion, and many other things. You may be surprised at the differences between you. There may be many things that you cannot understand. However, the other person in front of you feels the same way. I believe that everything begins with each of us thinking about how we can understand each other’s differences and create a new world together.

 


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