Back in February, we shared how one dedicated New Yorker, Huge Ma, created an online platform to help residents navigate the complicated Covid-19 vaccination appointment system. Now, Ma is working to make his title of a civil servant more official with his candidacy for New York’s Assembly.
Running to represent the 37th District, Ma not only created an instrumental public service website during the pandemic, but also worked to combat discrimination and violence towards Asian Americans.
Following a wave of racist attacks against AAPI community members in New York, Ma shut down his vaccine site, called TurboVax, for two days. He told ABC, “I wanted to illustrate, through this action of taking the site down for two days, that if we as a country don’t listen to the concerns of Asian Americans, then we risk losing the contributions of Asian Americans as well.” For those two days, the site instead directed visitors to donate to Welcome to Chinatown, a community-based group supporting Asian Americans.
“When the mayor and governor couldn’t come together to deliver a single website to find a vaccine, I used my technology background to deliver a platform that helped hundreds of thousands of teachers, grocery store workers and other regular New Yorkers get the vaccine,” Ma wrote on the TurboVax website. “But with the eyes of New York on TurboVax, I decided to use its moment to bring attention to another epidemic: the wave of anti-Asian hate.”
Ma announced his candidacy on Monday of this week. He is running on a platform focused on slowing climate change, investing in public transit and affordable housing, and building technology infrastructure to solve problems and empower New Yorkers.