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Asian American group to hold event in Ballston next week

Since starting Arlington-based Cozy Cleaning during the pandemic, its co-owners have viewed it as a way to support other Mongolian Americans.

Otgon Altankhuyag and Munkhzul Nergui, who are both Mongolian, decided to start the house cleaning and organizing service after hearing that demand for residential cleaning was up given that many people were stuck at home all day.

“We can also help Mongolian women,” Altankhuyag said. “We pay our employees, so we support Mongolian women who (are) staying home with lots of kids. They can’t work full time.”

The owners are planning to join other local business owners for a fundraiser in Ballston organized by Hamkae Center next Thursday, June 9, to support Asian American communities. It’s the first fundraiser for Hamkae Center since it changed its name from NAKASEC VA, which stood for National Korean American Service & Education Consortium Virginia, in November 2021.

This is the first time the center has organized the event on its own, and it’s the first in-person fundraiser since the pandemic began, said Growth and Operations Team Lead Patrick Canteros. The event was canceled in 2020 and virtual in 2021.

“A lot of our sponsors previously were national organizations,” Canteros said. “This time around, a lot of our sponsors, a lot of the organizations and businesses that are supporting us, this time around with food and auction items, they are all local businesses.”

Altankhuyag had previously worked with Hamkae Center as a translator, as well as donating masks to the organization during the pandemic. Her company decided to join the upcoming fundraiser because she wanted to encourage others and contribute, said Altankhuyag.

“I would like to show the neighbors that everybody has the potential to learn a small business and make a small amount of money and enjoy their (lives),” she said.

As of 2021, there were over 70,000 businesses owned by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the Washington region, which accounted for 12.4% of all private businesses in the area, according to a report from the Virginia Asian Advisory Board.

The fundraiser, called Pursuing Our Dreams 2022, is set to feature around 20 Asian American businesses in the D.C. area, including various restaurants, a rock-climbing gym and the soccer team The Washington Spirit. The event is set to be held between 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Marymount University’s Ballston campus (1000 N. Glebe Road).

Participants can choose to sponsor and donate to the fundraiser, according to its application form. Canteros said Hamkae Center wishes to have 20% of its funding come from community donors.

During the event, Hamkae Center is set to give out a few awards to individuals and organizations for their work in issues in which the center is also involved.

“We definitely selected them based on the work that we’ve done and who have been key instrumental folks in helping us move that needle forward,” said Policy and Communications Team Lead Zowee Aquino.

The four awards this year will go to Del. Kathy Tran (D-42), the Virginia Poverty Law Center, the Vietnamese Resettlement Association and organization member Onion Ha, according to the organization’s Twitter announcement.

The fair is set to include a range of activities such as origami tutorials, tarot card and birth chart readings, and a silent auction. Food and drink will be provided by local AAPI-owned restaurants.

https://twitter.com/hamkaecenter/status/1523055348030275584

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