Drawing inspiration from the Mekong River that connects Vietnam and Cambodia, Mekong NYC is a Bronx-based community organization that strives to build deep connections between these 2 Southeast Asian communities. Many Vietnamese and Cambodian immigrants to NYC in the last few decades settled in the Bronx, where housing was cheap and often substandard. This new and marginalized immigrant population was often left without economic, social and linguistic support, resulting in a closed-off Southeast Asian community in the area that has remained disconnected from the surrounding borough and city for years. Mekong NYC aims to improve the quality of life of these communities in the Bronx and throughout the city by achieving equity through community organizing and healing, promoting arts and culture, language training, and creating a safety net through greater access to social services.
Mekong NYC envisions a Mekong Community Center to fill a void in support services for this population and to ensure that the needs of both the elderly and youth can be addressed in one space. The Mekong Community Center will bring children, adults and seniors together to ensure that new skills are learned and that their collective heritage is not lost. Mekong NYC has engaged Hester Street as a technical assistance provider to facilitate the planning, design and development processes of this critical capital project. Throughout 2019, we will be working with staff and board members of Mekong NYC to prepare them for the Center’s pre-development process and to help them define their short and long term space needs, prioritize their options and make informed decisions.