Of the countless venues in New York City—restaurants, shops, museums—some extend far beyond four walls thanks to their impact on the surrounding community. That includes many created by and for the AAPI population, which makes up over a million residents across the five boroughs.
At the helm of these enterprises are business owners who are foundational to their neighborhoods: they themselves are fixtures, pushing the culture forward while providing safe places to gather. What We’ve Built is a series focusing on AAPI community leaders and their spaces, including a queer Asian dance party, a distillery that houses motorcycles, a food stall turned incredibly popular lunch spot and the first Sri Lankan museum outside of Sri Lanka.
These leaders tell us—and help define—what it means to be Asian American in New York City today and to hold space for their community.
What We’ve Built: Leaders in the AAPI Community
About the photographer
Tommy Kha (b. 1988, Memphis, Tennessee) is a Chinese-Vietnamese American art photographer working in New York City. Kha received his MFA in photography from Yale University. He likes to think he takes after his great aunt, who “read too many books and went crazy.” Kha is interested in post-immigration experiences and snapshots from the family album, often using humor to approach themes of racial identity, sexuality and representation. He joined Higher Pictures Generation in 2022, and his first major publication will be published by Aperture in February 2023.