Questions raised by Brooklyn Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo about why large blocs of Asians have been admitted into public housing drew a swift rebuttal from two Asian American leaders.
“I am troubled by Council Member Cumbo’s recent comments regarding Asian Americans who live in public housing within her district,” said Councilwoman Margaret Chin in a statement sent to AsAmNews. “I respect Council Member Cumbo, but I’m concerned about the potentially negative impact that her comments could have on Asian American residents in her district.”
Queen’s Congressional Representative Grace Meng also added to the chorus of condemnation.
“There are more effective and respectful ways to address the shortage of affordable housing and helping those in need regardless of the color of their skin or where they have come from,” Rep. Meng wrote, according to the Observer.
Cumbo posed her questions Thursday to New York City Housing Authority Chairwoman and Chief Executive Shola Olatoye. The Councilwoman wondered whether the Asians admitted into public housing in her district followed proper protocol or were able to jump the line.
“How is it that one specific ethnic group has had the opportunity to move into a development in large numbers?” Laurie Cumbo is quoted in the New York Post as saying.
Olatoye denied Asian received any preferences.
The Post also reported that Cumbo said “There could be some benefit to housing people by culture . . . I think it needs to be discussed.”
Those comments also bothered Chin.
“I also strongly disagree with Council Member Cumbo’s perception that our city could benefit by separating public housing residents based on their ‘culture.’ This is New York City, after all, and it is our responsibility as Council members to do everything in our power to bring our constituents together.