AOC celebrates new Jackson Heights community center

From left to right, Jackie Huey, AAFE board member; Fang Shu Tui, AAFE client and local resident; Lydia Tom, AAFE board president; State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky; Thomas Yu, AAFE co-executive director; U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; State Sen. Jessica Ramos; Prabir Barua, AAFE client and local resident; and Eusebio Veras, AAFE client and local resident. Photo courtesy of AAFE.

From left to right, Jackie Huey, AAFE board member; Fang Shu Tui, AAFE client and local resident; Lydia Tom, AAFE board president; State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky; Thomas Yu, AAFE co-executive director; U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; State Sen. Jessica Ramos; Prabir Barua, AAFE client and local resident; and Eusebio Veras, AAFE client and local resident. Photo courtesy of AAFE.

By Jonathan Sperling

Social services agency Asian Americans for Equality celebrated the opening of its new Jackson Heights community center alongside several local leaders Tuesday.

AAFE members were joined by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and State Sens. Jessica Ramos and Toby Ann Stavisky as the group cut the ribbon on their newest outpost, located at 37-61 84th St., near Roosevelt Avenue.

“I’m just proud to be a part of this community,” Ocasio-Cortez said before the ribbon-cutting. She too opened a district office in Jackson Heights, located at 74-09 37th Ave.

“We just moved in a couple blocks down,” Ocasio-Cortez added. “What is lovely is that we’re really generating a beautiful ecosystem of advocacy here in Jackson Heights.

In the 45 years since its founding, AAFE has assisted community members with securing affordable housing, completing U.S. citizenship applications, applying for government benefits and obtaining affordable health care. The organization also has offices in Flushing and Lower Manhattan.

AAFE’s small business affiliate, the Renaissance Economic Development Corporation also

offers services in the Jackson Heights office, including low-interest loans and technical training.

“When there are so many forces trying to divide us,” Ramos said, “I think it’s more important than ever that we support the expansion of community-based organizations that have done such great work and that work to help everyone find the dignity in themselves.”

The Jackson Heights office will host an array of events throughout the spring and summer, including:

April 25, 6:30 p.m.

Tenant Rights Workshop

Topics to be covered include fair housing requirements, options for affordable housing, strategies for coping with rent increases and maintenance issues in your building.

May 9, 9:30 a.m.- 12 p.m.

Senior Benefits Day:

Community members will be able to access reduced fare Metrocards, learn about naturalization applications, receive help with Medicare and Medicaid applications, and ask questions about other common issues.

May 2, 6 p.m.

REDC Small Business Series

This three part class, offered in Spanish only, will provide training for local entrepreneurs. Topics include: accessing capital, social media/marketing and running an online store.

To register for the Tenant Rights Workshop and Senior Benefits Day, residents should call

718-316-9993. For the Small Business Series, contact Elizabeth Au-Hing at

212-964-2288.