Newsworthy: Spread Love NYC
NEW “SPREAD LOVE: STOP ASIAN HATE” MURAL BY BIANCA ROMERO AND OUTDOOR CELEBRATION PROVIDE COMMUNITY HEALING AND RESOURCES THIS ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
Thrive Collective, New York Chinese Alliance Church, NYC Mayor’s Office, and the City’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity Partner Host Outdoor Community Event on the Lower East Side to Support the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Community
NEW YORK—This Saturday, May 22nd from 12 PM to 3 PM, Thrive Collective, New York Chinese Alliance Church (NYCAC), the New York City Mayor’s Office, and the City’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity (TRIE) hosted “Spread Love: Stop Asian Hate,” a free socially distanced, community celebration on the Lower East Side (160 Eldridge Street, between Delancey and Rivington Street).
In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), Mental Health Awareness Month, and in response to anti-Asian harassment and violence, and racism across the nation towards communities of color, this free community event featured a new public mural by New York-based Korean and Spanish artist Bianca Romero that holds space for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and the public to heal while providing a vision for a more just city and world.
The outdoor event included free food from Momofuku, Joe’s Shanghai, and Kabisera; performances by emcee and hip-hop artist Heesun Lee, DJ Ty King, and jazz artist Dr. Terry Greene; COVID-19 tests and vaccines, with no appointment needed; healing art; and programs, services, and resources for the community. Additionally, attendees signed an AAPI Visibility Pledge banner onsite to support the national campaign to denounce violence against the AAPI community and elevate Asian voices.
“I’m creating the representation I never saw growing up. Because everyone deserves to feel seen and heard. To have security and feel that they belong,” said Bianca Romero, Muralist, Artist, Producer. “The concept of the mural is to hold space for yourself, for your community. Each person in the mural is holding flowers to represent holding space for themselves and rightfully taking up space. To encourage speaking out, and speaking up, and step into the light, even when it’s been looked down upon within the culture to do so.”
“Art heals. Public art heals the public. In the midst of trauma and pain, projects like this help restore hope by reminding us that beauty flourishes in life’s valleys,” said Jeremy Del Rio, Producer, Executive Director of Thrive Collective.
“Powerful images reverberate within our hearts. Often, they send a message stronger than spoken words,” said Reverend Dr. Stephen Ko, Co-Senior Pastor of New York Chinese Alliance Church (NYCAC). “While writing conveys exact meaning, images cry out for our souls in unique ways. They speak for us when we cannot speak for ourselves—that’s why NYCAC is excited to partner with the City of New York, Thrive Collective, and artist Bianca Romero on this gospel centric, AAPI mural to speak for those without a voice (Proverbs 31:8).”
“Art is God’s creative universal language for His created community to bring healing, restoration and transformation to His creative souls (Psalm 147:3),” said Reverend Gustav Hung, Co-Senior Pastor of New York Chinese Alliance Church. “As the community is experiencing hardships, we are hopeful that the mural’s artistic images will be a light in the community and ignite our hearts to unite and seek God’s hope for better things to come.”
“Art has the power to heal, and that healing power is needed now, more than ever, as our Asian American and Pacific Islander sisters and brothers continue to face violence and discrimination,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “Our answer to hate is filling our neighborhoods with love, togetherness and creating a stronger community for all New Yorkers.”
“There is no place for hate and discrimination in our city,” said Deputy Mayor J. Phillip Thompson. “As we gathered with our many community partners to celebrate the contributions of our AAPI communities, to create space for healing through an inspiring mural, and to share critical resources to support our neighbors, we reaffirmed our commitment to fighting bigotry of all forms not only by speaking out against anti-Asian hate, but by uplifting all communities.”
“COVID-19 amplified long-standing racial disparities within our city,” said Sideya Sherman, Executive Director of New York City’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity (TRIE). “Community celebrations like this that connect communities of color to resources and build solidarity are critical to our City’s recovery. TRIE is proud to support this meaningful and inspiring collaboration between artists, community-based organizations, faith leaders, and city government.”
ABOUT THRIVE COLLECTIVE
Thrive Collective creates hope and opportunity through arts, sports, and mentoring in and around public schools. Through core programs – Murals, Music, Media, Mentors, and Sports – Thrive Collective connects artists, youth workers, and volunteers with local schools as teaching artists, art directors, coaches, and mentors. Project based learning and accredited curriculum integrate life and art skills in four kinds of experiences: in-school electives, after school clubs, seasonal intensives, and weekend warriors. Since 2011, more than 13,000 students and 2,500 volunteers have completed 133 school and community mural projects totaling 60,000 sq. ft. of public art.
ABOUT NEW YORK CHINESE ALLIANCE CHURCH
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, New York Chinese Alliance Church (NYCAC) is one of the largest churches serving the Chinatown in both English and Chinese, located at the intersection of Chinatown and the Lower East Side in New York City. With three services in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, NYCAC reaches New Yorkers with the message of the gospel while serving the vulnerable with educational programs and social justice initiatives.
ABOUT THE NYC TASKFORCE ON RACIAL INCLUSION AND EQUITY
The City of New York’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity (TRIE) works to address deeply rooted racial and economic disparities that have been exacerbated during this crisis by applying an equity-based approach to the response and recovery efforts of City agencies across the Administration. Programs and services are designed to address the specific challenges of New Yorkers in communities of color hardest-hit by COVID-19.