U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) today issued the following statement responding to the comments made by New York City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D-Brooklyn) about Asians moving into public housing units and housing people by culture.
“I am deeply troubled by the Councilwoman’s statement at the NYCHA hearing yesterday. As public servants, there are more effective and respectful ways to address the shortage of affordable housing and provide assistance to those in need.
Access to affordable housing is a crisis that spans all cultures and ethnic communities. Despite popular stereotypes, there are Asian Americans living in poverty with a great need for affordable healthcare, fair-paying jobs, and a good education for their children.
The suggestion that NYCHA begin to block housing based on ‘culture’ amounts to a thinly disguised segregation based on race, color, creed, or national origin. Fortunately, we live in the State of New York, that has strong human rights laws that protect against exactly this type of discrimination.
The diverse mosaic of our city – and all the different cultures living together – is what makes it so great, and gives it its strength. That should never be tampered with, and segregating Asian Americans or any other ethnicity must never, ever occur.”
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