New York University, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Economics.
Margaret Chin coordinator
Working with Margaret Chin
Asian Americans for Equality announced August 2008, that the group had purchased a total of 62 units in two buildings, one located on Parsons Boulevard and the other on Sanford Avenue, both just blocks from the heart of Downtown Flushing.
“We are still committed to developing affordable housing, but preserving existing housing is critical as well,” said Christopher Kui, executive director of AAFE.
“We are still fighting for affordable housing in projects like Willets Point, but we are also preserving affordable housing,” added Margaret Chin, deputy director of AAFE. “Now, 60 families will be able to stay in the community.”
Assemblywoman Ellen Young allocated $125,000 to the purchase of the two buildings, funds AAFE said will be used to install energy-efficient windows, upgrade the boiler system, and make roof repairs.
Cuomo housing team
On Dec. 8, 2010, Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo announced his transition team for the areas of human services and housing.
The 15 committee members include Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigrant Coalition; City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has been a staunch defender of rent regulations; and Chuck Bell, program director of Citizens Union and a national advocate for health care and environmental protection.
The three assemblymembers on the panel have all been sympathetic to tenants' rights: Karim Camara of Brooklyn; Grace Meng of Queens; and Carl Heastie, head of the Bronx delegation and part of the anticorruption faction in that borough. Union and nonprofit members are Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union; Christopher Kui, executive director of Asian Americans for Equality, which provides housing, social, and citizenship services in Chinatown and Flushing, Ross Levi, legislative director of New York State Pride Agenda, a leading gay and lesbian advocacy group; and Susan Hagar, president of United Way. Also on the panel is Rossana Rosado, publisher of the Spanish-language newspaper El Diario, whose editorials have not shared the antitenant bias of New York's major English-language dailies, the Times, the Daily News, and the Post.
The committee also includes the CEO of the New York State Association of Realtors.
Flushing Business Retention Loan Program
In June 2011, Renaissance launched the Downtown Flushing Business Retention Loan Program to provide financial assistance to small businesses impacted by the planned mixed use development of a Downtown Flushing, Queens municipal parking lot. The program provides small business loans of up to $50,000 at an interest rate of 3% for terms of up to 5 years.
Since launching the program, Renaissance has made ten loans for over $270,000, with additional applications pending.
To spread the good news about this program to the community, Renaissance hosted a press conference to launch the program, which was attended by various Korean, Chinese, and English media and by representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Ronald Goldstein and Man-Li Kuo Lin, as well as Grace Ku of New York State Assembly Member Grace Meng’s office. Also in attendance were City Council Member Peter Koo, and Christopher Kui and Kevin Kong, Renaissance’s Chair and Managing Director, respectively, as well as Richard Lee from Asian Americans for Equality.
Supporting John Choe
With the goal of planting the seeds for a strong, diverse and sustainable community by empowering small business owners, a new project called the One Flushing Community Economic Development Center opened its doors, December 15, 2012, marking the occasion with an open house on Friday.
As part of its goals, One Flushing, as the project is known, has set out to gather economic data on the small business community, leverage more resources, organize a hiring campaign and build community education and outreach.
The project’s executive director, John Choe, said his role “is to bring people together and connect people to existing resources.”
Choe acknowledged that small business owners are too often in the dark about the training, counseling and low-interest loans that are available to them. He aims to make people aware of the help they can receive to “build Flushing as one community. We live next to each other, but we don’t always communicate.”
In August, he abandoned his career in government, which included a stint as chief of staff for then-city council member John Liu of Flushing, and began working in conjunction with Asian Americans for Equality, a nonprofit organization, on the creation of One Flushing, which has become Choe’s full-time job.
He said he will count on AAFE to help him identify private foundations and government agencies that could provide One Flushing with much-needed resources.
A lucky break came from Simon Gerson, a partner in Gerson Properties, which has offered One Flushing a six-month rent-free lease at 39-01 Main St.
Several elected officials and community leaders attended the open house, including Christopher Kui, executive director of AAFE, who said, “We want to push Flushing forward. Small business is a key” to help the area become a major economic center.
Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing) said, “This is a logical place to help small business people with their problems. They can come to seek help. I hope this office will help business people to solve their problems.”
Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce
In 2014 John Choe was named executive director of the newly formed Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce. Two years in the making, "the chamber will serve as a resource for economic guidance and technical assistance for small businesses in Flushing".
The chamber was formally announced at a launch event on Dec. 11 at Flushing Town Hall. Area politicians and community leaders attended and recruited small business owners in the area.
Choe's One Flushing was expected to continue to work with the new chamber.
The previous chamber of commerce closed in 2012. Choe and his associates have spent the past two years organizing, admittedly longer than he expected. But he’s optimistic and excited about the new chamber.
Choe said that most chambers merely serve as networking tools for businesses, but the new Flushing one will offer tech support and other services.
Choe named Peter Tu from the Flushing Chinese Business Association, Ikhwam Rim from the Union Street Small Business Association, Executive Director of Asian Americans for Equality Christopher Kui, and Managing Principal at Gerson Properties LLC Simon Gerson as other major players.
According to Choe, several officials including Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing), Assemblymembers Ron Kim (D-Flushing) and Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) and Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) are backing the chamber of commerce. 
“A New Beginning”
According to CEO John Choe — Community leaders announced that, “A New Beginning,” the first anniversary celebration of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce will take place Thursday, October 29 2015, 6–9pm, at historic Flushing Town Hall, located at 137-35 Northern Blvd, Flushing NY 11354.
The Chamber’s anniversary celebration is led by an honorary host committee of community leaders, including Borough President Melinda Katz, Congresswoman Grace Meng, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Assemblyman Ron Kim, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, Councilman Peter Koo, the Reverend Richard McEachern, Simon Gerson, Christopher Kui, Don Capalbi, Mike Cheng, Taehoon Kim, Ellen Kodadek, Michael Lam, Alfred Rankins, Maureen Regan, Leo Zhang, Al Harris, Perka Chan, Carmen M. Colon, Alice Lee, Edna Rutledge, Haide Chen, Alfonso Quiroz, Regina Im, Lloyd Cambridge, and John Choe.
The Flushing Chamber is a multicultural membership association of entrepreneurs, business owners, and civic leaders representing the most diverse community in New York.
"We've had an amazing year of community service and invite you to come celebrate our achievements as well as honor those who have provided leadership in bringing us together," stated Simon Gerson, President of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce. "A united community is the only way we can fulfill our potential as the center of small business growth in New York. With thousands of entrepreneurs from around the world, we are the new face of America."
The Flushing Chamber represents the fastest growing and most dynamic business community in the United States. Attracting firms from around the world – two dozen languages are spoken here – we are already an international trade hub and the fourth largest commercial district in New York. As the center of small business activity in the metropolitan region – 90% of our 6,000 firms have less than 10 workers – we are also the new face of American entrepreneurship.
The Chamber will be honoring: Dr. Felix V. Matos Rodriguez of Queens College, Phil Andrews of the African American Chamber, James Chen of FlushingFood.com, and Dr. Uma Mysorekar of the Hindu Temple Society of North America. The keynote speaker will be Comptroller Scott Stringer, New York City’s Chief Financial Officer.
$1.55 million initiative
Asian Americans for Equality kicked off a new $1.55 million initiative March 31, 2017 to support small businesses in Flushing, Queens. The project is being made possible through a Neighborhood 360° grant from New York City’s Department of Small Business Services (SBS). AAFE is the coordinating organization, partnering with the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce (GFCC) and the Flushing Business Improvement District (Flushing BID)
As part of this important initiative, AAFE also announced the formation of a local steering committee made up of community leaders, businesses, local stakeholders, cultural institutions and city agencies. Its purpose if to develop a plan for promoting and supporting Flushing’s vibrant business and cultural community.
AAFE Executive Director Christopher Kui said, “Local small businesses have transformed Flushing into a vibrant economic hub for New York City, providing a retail economy of well over a billion dollars a year. Now is the time to re-invest in Flushing and support the small business owners that have worked so hard to get us here. I’m excited to work with our neighborhood partners—the Chamber and the BID—and SBS to give businesses the necessary tools to succeed and thrive in this exciting new time for Flushing.”
Dian Yu, executive director of the Flushing Business Improvement District said, “The Flushing BID is a nonprofit that works for the small businesses within the Downtown Flushing area, and we truly understand our immigrant community’s needs. We believe that the Neighborhood 360° grant will have the ability to make a direct impact on small businesses’ bottom line.”
Congresswoman Grace Meng said, “It is essential that we do all we can to help small businesses grow and thrive, and this ambitious initiative will go a long way towards promoting the many vibrant businesses in Flushing. As the daughter of small business owners, I know firsthand the important role that small businesses play in driving our economy, and this plan will help ensure that Flushing entrepreneurs have the help and support they need to succeed.”
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said, “A program like the Neighborhood 360º Program is important – it will support the local area and help it keep pace with the many new developments and investments that are growing up around us. Special thanks to Asian American for Equality, Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, Flushing Business Improvement District and NYC Small Business Services for working to strengthen and revitalize the community through the infusion of $1.55 million and the implementation of this program.”
Rally for DACA
New York City: October 5, 2017, the Asian American Federation held a rally at Trump Tower with our member agencies and leading immigrant advocacy groups to speak out in support of Asian American Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, who are being impacted by the dissolution of the DACA program under the Trump administration. Twenty-three organizations and nearly 200 New Yorkers, including Congresswoman Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation, Grace Meng, Council Member Margaret Chin, Assemblymember Yuh-line Niou, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and Comptroller Scott Stringer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Nydia Velazquez, Mayor Bill de Blasio Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Assemblyman Ron Kim, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Member Daniel Dromm, Council Member Rory Lancman, Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, Margaret Fung, executive director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Christopher Kui, executive director of Asian Americans for Equality, Annetta Seecharran, executive director of Chhaya Community Development Corporation, Mae Lee, executive director of the Chinese Progressive Association (New York), Wayne Ho, executive director of the Chinese-American Planning Council, Kavita Mehra, executive director of Sakhi for South Asian Women, Robina Niaz, executive director of Turning Point for Women and Families, joined hands with the Federation to defend the future of our DREAMers.
Rally Co-Sponsors: Adhikaar, Alliance of South Asian American Labor, Arab American Association of New York, Asian American Arts Alliance, Asian American Bar Association of New York, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Asian Americans for Equality, Chhaya Community Development Corporation, Chinese-American Planning Council, Chinese Progressive Association (New York), Council of People’s Organization, Desis Rising Up and Moving, Japanese American Association of New York, Japanese American Social Services, Inc., Korean American Family Service Center, Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York, MinKwon Center for Community Action, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, New York Immigration Coalition, OCA-NY, Sakhi for South Asian Women, Turning Point for Women and Families, University Settlement.
- Asian Americans for Equality, Special Issue 1986, page 1
- http://www.queensledger.com/pages/full_story/push?article-Off+the+Market+for+Luxury+Housing-%20&id=215492-Off+the+Market+for+Luxury+Housing-&instance=lead_story_left_column, Queens Ledger, Off the Market for Luxury Housing by Shane Miller, Sep 05, 2008]
- Metropolitan Council on Housing, Cuomo Names Housing Transition Team. By: Kenny Schaeffer Published: December 2010
- REDC newsletter, Fall 2011, Downtown Flushing Business Retention Loan Program Provides over $270,000 in Financial Assistance
- Queens Chronicle, New group helps small businesses, December 15, 2011
- A boost for small business owners CHOE TO HEAD UP NEWLY FORMED CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN FLUSHING by Matthew Ern, Chronicle Contributor | Posted: Thursday, October 30, 2014
- Community John Choe Executive Director at Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce
- AAFE, Flushing Chamber, Flushing BID Kick Off Small Business Program
- [http://aafederation.org/press/pressrelease.asp?prid=366&y=2017Asian American Federation, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10/6/2017 CONTACT: Jo-Ann Yoo, Asian Americans Rally in Support of DACA and TPS]