SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and each week, NewsChannel 9 will be introducing you to members of the AAPI community, highlighting their contributions to Central New York.
The goal of “Asian Americans Standing Strong,” is to recognize their efforts and how they’re making a difference in our community.
To kick off our weekly series, NewsChannel 9 is featuring Tai Ngo Shaw, a Syracuse business owner and entrepreneur.
Through his many different roles, Shaw shows us all the importance of giving back. He’s a positive force serving not only the Asian American community, but all of us.
Every week at his business, CNY Uniforms Plus on Burnet Avenue, you’ll find Shaw welcoming members of the community inside to take whatever they need.
“When COVID hit here, we’re thinking, ‘hey, since people don’t have jobs and are at home, let’s make this a movement.’ So, we started right here. We have a food pantry right here at CNY Uniforms Plus and we’re serving people every Wednesday,” Shaw explained.
The food pantry is a part of his initiative, the CNY Blessing Box, focusing on the needs of the New American community made up of refugees.
However, founder of the food pantry isn’t his only way of serving. He’s also the president of the Vietnamese Community of Syracuse, founder of World Refugee Day, and Vice President of the New American Forum.
From the beginning, his journey hasn’t been easy and each success didn’t come without sacrifice.
In 1981, I escaped Vietnam by boat. I was in the ocean for six days and landed in Thailand. I spent almost a year there. I was in three different camps in Thailand.
It’s been a lot of steps because when I came to America, I didn’t speak English. So, it was quite difficult. You have to learn the basics, right? You have to go to college, and who I am today is a lot, a lot of steps. A lot of hard work.Tai Ngo Shaw, Founder, CNY Blessing Box & Owner, CNY Uniforms Plus
Though, all of Shaw’s determination paid off and now he’s living his American dream.
“I’m proud to be Asian-American,” — Tai Ngo Shaw
“I’ve been here for 40 years. With my struggle to come to America, I’m very, very proud. All we have to remember is where our origin is, right? In our country, they have a saying which means, when you eat the fruit, you have to remember where the fruit came from,” Shaw said.
Celebrating where he came from and making a difference right here at home.
To learn more about the CNY Blessing Box, click here.
More information on Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month can be found here.
On Saturday, May 15, there will be an Asian American Pacific Islander festival in Syracuse. Details are below.