Governor Cuomo Announces Virtual Town Hall and Series of Listening Sessions for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Virtual Town Hall on May 13 for Asian American Pacific Islander Community
New York State Agencies Will Hold Weeklong Series of Listening Sessions

May 3, 2021 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that, in celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, New York State will host a virtual town hall and a weeklong series of listening sessions with state agencies to discuss issues impacting the AAPI community. New York State agencies will also launch a multi-agency social media campaign throughout the month of May to celebrate and spread awareness about Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month with #NYSCelebratesAAPI.

"Asian American and Pacific Islander New Yorkers have made tremendous contributions to this state and a part of the mosaic that make up the family of New York," Governor Cuomo said. "After all of the unwarranted and disgraceful hate and violence directed towards this community over the past year, we want to make clear that we stand united with our friends and neighbors and have zero tolerance for those who seek to divide and harm our fellow New Yorkers." 

A virtual town hall will be hosted by the Division of Human Rights on Thursday, May 13 at 6:30 PM featuring a discussion led by Interim Commissioner Johnathan J. Smith, MTA Long Island Rail Road President Phil Eng, New York State Liquor Authority Commissioner Lily Fan, New York Power Authority President & CEO Gil Quiniones.

The town hall will also feature: 

  • Department of Civil Service 
  • Department of Financial Services  
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of Health  
  • Department of State, Office for New Americans 
  • Office for People with Developmental Disabilities  
  • Office for the Aging  
  • Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence 
  • Office of Mental Health 
  • Office of Temporary Disability Assistance, Bureau of Refugee Services 
  • Office of Victim Services
  • New York State Police

Registration for this virtual town hall is open here:  

New York State Division of Human Rights Interim Commissioner Johnathan J. Smith said, "Members of the Asian American Pacific Islander community are our neighbors and friends, and are critical members of the New York family.  The Division of Human Rights is proud to join with our partners in state government to make sure we are doing all we can to support the AAPI community during this challenging time."

New York State Liquor Authority Commissioner Lily Fan said, "This year's celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month is vitally important in light of the disturbing rise in Anti-Asian sentiment throughout the country. I am delighted to join with state leaders as we demonstrate solidarity with New York's diverse AAPI communities, whose contributions have enriched the economic and cultural strength of our state and of our nation." 

New York Power Authority President & CEO Gil Quiniones said, "As a proud Filipino-American, I know full well that Asian-American & Pacific Islanders have brought their skills, their passions, their imaginations, their beliefs, and their creativity to this country. We see their innumerable contributions all around us, as they advance our technology, science and engineering and expand our literature, music and art.  As a result, this nation and its culture are enriched."

MTA Long Island Rail Road President Phil Eng said, "I'm proud to stand united against hate as we acknowledge the invaluable contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. It is the cultural diversity that makes New York so great and it is an honor to lead the LIRR as we connect communities and bring people closer together."  

Following the town hall, New York State agencies will host lunchtime sessions with state agencies from Monday, May 17 through Friday, May 23 at 12:30 PM.  Further details are available on the registration page here:  

Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo launched a new website at with resources to address the recent rise in anti-Asian bias incidents. Governor Cuomo also announced that the state's language access policy would expand to include four additional languages to ensure that all New Yorkers are able to receive state services.