University Settlement will host a May 2 press conference for ROAR: Rejoice! Organize! Activate! Reclaim!, a summer festival event series

ROAR: Rejoice! Organize! Activate! Reclaim!, a festival hosted by University Settlement, will take place every weekend May – August 2022 on New York City’s Lower East Side and in Chinatown.

University Settlement and its partners invite interested media to attend a press conference kicking off the initiative, taking place on May 2, 2022 at 10 am, in Sara D. Roosevelt Park, at Stanton Street, between Chrystie and Forsyth (South of Houston Street Playground).

This summer, ROAR will:

  • Energize public spaces including Sara D. Roosevelt (SDR) Park
  • Celebrate the people and cultures of Chinatown and the LES in the year of the Tiger
  • Increase connection, well-being, and joy in our neighborhoods

“It’s time for us to get together again,” said Melissa Aase, CEO of University Settlement. “After years of isolation, and with violence and harassment targeting our AAPI neighbors on the rise, our neighborly connections and spaces need some love and attention. Community is the answer. We need to walk together, exercise together, make art together, dance together, learn together, grow together – we need to ROAR together, collectively revitalizing our neighborhoods!”

“ROAR is for everyone who wants to build connections with their neighbors in Chinatown and on the Lower East Side – we’ll have events for kids, for adults, and adults over sixty, and events will be offered in English, Cantonese, Spanish, and Mandarin,” said Ivan Fajardo, ROAR Program Coordinator, University Settlement. “We are thrilled to partner with organizations across these vibrant neighborhoods to bring joy and community back to our shared public spaces.”

Speakers will include:

  • Melissa Aase, CEO, University Settlement
  • Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director, Asian American Federation
  • William T. Castro, Manhattan Borough Commissioner, NYC Parks Department
  • Brian Chen, Chief Strategy Officer, Chinese-American Planning Council
  • Kenny Chen, Program Manager, Health & Social Services, Asian Americans for Equality
  • Li-En Chong, Co-Founder, The Yellow Whistle Campaign
  • Mae Lee, Executive Director, Chinese Progressive Association
  • Doris Ling-Cohan, bKind bOne; retired Justice of the New York State Supreme Court
  • Ada Lin, Program Coordinator, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF)
  • Coss Marte, Founder, Conbody
  • Veronica Wong, Advocacy Director University Settlement

­­Esther Yang, a Protect Yourself instructor from bKind, will lead a self-defense demonstration.

As the festival ramps up this May, interested community members are invited to stop by the ROAR booth at the Stanton Street walkway every Saturday from 12-5 PM. ROAR programming will also take place every Saturday beginning May 7th:

  • May 7th – Older Adults ROAR! 189 Allen Street, 10 am – 2 pm
  • May 14th – ROAR in Community! SDR Park Bike Polo Court, 12 pm – 5 pm
  • May 21st – Kids ROAR! SDR Park Houston Street Playground, 12 pm – 5 pm
  • May 28th – ROAR as One! SDR Park Bike Polo Court, 12 pm – 5 pm

ROAR programming will take place every Saturday and Sunday beginning on June 4.

A full event schedule will be released on June 1st on Activities will include self-defense classes, Tai Qi, story hours for children in four languages, workout classes including Zumba and yoga, pop up art performances, ballroom dance classes, know your rights workshops, traditional Chinese music, and more!

Neighborhood organizations participating in ROAR include:

  • Anti Violence Project
  • Asian American Arts Alliance
  • Asian American Federation
  • Asian Americans for Equality
  • Bio Bus
  • Bkind
  • Catholic Charities Community Services
  • Chinatown NNORC
  • Chinatown YMCA
  • Chinese Progressive Association
  • Chinese-American Planning Council
  • City Relief
  • Coalition for Asian American Children and Families
  • Design Trust for Public Space
  • Flor Bromley
  • Fourth Arts Block NYC
  • George Tsz-Kwan
  • Good Call
  • Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES)
  • Grand Street Settlement
  • Henry Street Settlement
  • How Our Lives Link All Together
  • Immigrant History Initiaitive
  • Immigrant Justice Corps
  • ImmSchools
  • Infinite Movement
  • Jadis
  • Latin American Intercultural Alliance
  • Loisaida, Inc.
  • Mencius Society for the Arts
  • M’finda Kalunda Garden
  • Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
  • Musuem of Chinese in America
  • New York Immigration Coalition
  • New Yorkers for Parks
  • Office of NYS Senator Brian Kavanagh
  • Sara Roosevelt Park Community Coalition
  • Send Chinatown Love
  • Stanton Street CSA
  • Tech Kids Unlimited
  • Tenement Museum
  • The Performance Project @ University Settlement
  • The Yellow Whistle
  • Think Chinatown!
  • Untapped Storytellers and Yuko Kudo
  • Yoga with Maisah
  • Yuan Lin

ROAR is funded by the State of New York State Department of State.

Download a PDF version of this media alert.

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