The Asian American Performers Action Coalition will distribute grants covering car service and taxi fares for Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander theater artists traveling to and from work.
The fund, announced Friday, was launched in partnership with Indie Theater Fund/IndieSpace, which organized a similar effort last year. The group is launching the fund with $35,000 and will distribute grants of $250 to individual artists.
These funds are intended for artists who are Asian, Asian American or Pacific Islander and do not feel comfortable taking mass transportation due to record levels of violence against those groups.
The New York City Police Department reported 131 bias-related incidents against Asians in 2021, a 361% increase from the 28 recorded in 2020. Among the many recent reported attacks is a case from February 2022, in which an Asian-American dancer was attacked while traveling to a performance at the Public Theater.
“We are so grateful that our theater community is coming together to help its own,” said AAPAC member Pun Bandhu. “We have to acknowledge that this situation has reached crisis levels. I know several theater workers personally who have been harassed or assaulted; most went unreported. Every institution needs to be thinking about how they can make it safe for their Asian employees to get to and from work.”
In a statement to Broadway News, Bandhu said the group is currently prioritizing artists working Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway, due to the greater economic need, but noted that any Asian theater artists can apply.
The program is supported by funding from the American Theatre Wing, The Actors Fund and Dramatists Guild Foundation. Grant recipients will have the option to re-apply for further grants, subject to availability. The fund is accepting tax-deductible donations through PayPal.