Photos: The 29th Apex for Youth Inspiration Awards Gala
By: Elizabeth Choi
June 16, 2021
With violence targetting Asians at an all-time high around the world, the work of organisations serving Asian communities specifically has never been more important. Apex for Youth, an organisation that provides mentoring, education, athletics and after-school programs for underserved Asian and immigrant youth in New York City, sets out to turn the lives of youths from low-income families in the city.
Through Apex programs, which serve 1st to 12th graders, volunteers provide guidance and support to youths who may otherwise lack the confidence, exposure and readiness they need to be prepared for college and life beyond.
While Asians and Asian Americans are commonly perceived as “model minorities” who excel academically and have created financially stable livelihoods for themselves, the reality is many Asians in America face far more adversities than certain stereotypes let on.
See also: Stop Asian Hate: How Susie Bubble and Bryanboy are speaking out
Apex for Youth cites that in New York, one in four Asian youth live in a home where no one over 14 years old speaks English, and one in two is born into poverty. Even more shockingly, one in four doesn’t graduate on time or at all. In spite of this, Apex for Youth found that less than one percent of foundation and government funding goes to charities focused on the Asian community despite Asians comprising 13% of the city’s population.
Considering many of New York’s Asian population are immigrants from Hong Kong, and elsewhere in Asia, Apex for Youth’s reach spans far beyond just New York City. To raise awareness and funding, Apex for Youth has been hugely successful in gathering notable figures in the community for its yearly Inspiration Awards Gala. While the 2020 gala was cancelled due to the pandemic, this year attendees both in the US and abroad were elated at the chance to finally reconvene last week on 9 June for the 29th edition of the Apex for Youth Inspiration Awards Gala.
With the #letseatforapex, this year’s Inspiration Awards Gala honored actor Daniel Dae Kim, activist Amanda Nguyen, filmmaker Jon M. Chu, and actress Awkwafina. To present the awards and share speeches, this year’s lineup included actress and former Apex for Youth honoree Gemma Chan, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, Allure Editor in Chief Michelle Lee and President of nonprofit Gold House, Bing Chen.
Hosted by Lisa Ling in New York, this year’s edition was live-streamed to over 10 satellite locations in three cities with over 400 guests attending. In Hong Kong, the limited-capacity event took place at Mott 32 and was organized by Everybody & Everyone CEO Veronica Chou with attendees including co-founder and publisher of Legend Publishing, Anne Lim-Chaplain, founder of Empact28 and sustainability platform 8Shades, Emily Lam-Ho and founder and general partner of S28, Kent Ho.
While the world finally starts to return to a new normal, the opportunities provided by organizations like Apex for Youth remain life-changing and necessary, now more than ever.
See photos from the 29th Apex For Youth Inspiration Awards Gala in Hong Kong:
Learn more about Apex for Youth
See also: #StopAsianHate: How to support the movement and combat anti-Asian violence