Event Highlights

Tenement Museum Virtual Gala 2020 Recap!

February 3, 2021


We had been planning to celebrate our 2020 Gala on April 23, complete with tribute awards, special tastes from the Lower East Side and moments to reaffirm our support for the Tenement Museum’s ongoing work. While the event, unfortunately, could not happen due to the pandemic shutdown,  this did not prevent us from commemorating the extraordinary work of our esteemed honorees:

David Henry Hwang

  • Watch a clip of “Democracy (Reprise)” from SOFT POWER, a collaboration between David and Jeanine Tesori, which led the field with 11 nominations for the 65th Drama Desk Awards
  • Listen to a 2012 piece on NPR’s Morning Edition in which David illustrates the connection between cultural identity and the search for the ‘American dream’
  • Read a 2019 interview with David in Sixth Tone about storytelling across cultures and the Asian-American identity in today’s political climate
  • Watch David on the Public Theater’s inaugural Digital Duets series centering on the current challenges facing Asian Americans and the importance of bringing activism into art
  • Read David’s biography

Renee Tajima-Peña

  • Watch Asian Americans, a 2020 documentary series produced by Renee on PBS
  • Watch the trailer and listen to a 2016 NPR Interview about No Más Bebés, Renee’s 2015 documentary which tells the story of the coercive sterilization of immigrant women in the 1970s and the resulting class-action lawsuit
  • Read a March 2020 article focusing on the xenophobic—particularly Sinophobic—narrative parallels of COVID-19 and Who Killed Vincent Chin?, Renee’s 1987 Oscar-nominated documentary that recounts the murder of a Chinese-American engineer and the implications of the tragedy
  • Read Renee’s biography

Anita Jacobson

  • Read the 1994 feature from The New York Times about the opening of the 97 Orchard Street for Tenement Museum building tours, six years after the site was founded by Anita & Ruth Abram (hear more about the original building numbers here)
  • Watch a 2018 CBS Sunday Morning segment featuring the newest Museum exhibit, Under One Roof, which tells more recent stories of im/migrant residents who lived in a neighboring building, 103 Orchard Street—a decades-long evolution from the Museum’s founding in 1988
  • Listen to the ‘Relics Left Behind,’ a recent episode of the Museum’s How To Be American podcast, which explores the artifacts found in the tenement buildings, many of which were discovered, researched and catalogued by Anita in the early 1990s
  • Learn more about Anita’s collage artwork in this 2017 Highlands Current piece
  • Read Anita’s biography
  • See Ruth Abram’s special tribute message to Anita below!


We are grateful to David, Renee and Anita for their commitment to storytelling as a means of advocacy and education. Please raise a virtual glass to them.

Ruth Abram’s special tribute to Anita Jacobson

Each year at our gala we also invite local restaurants to participate in the special Tastes of the Lower East Side marketplace, offering guests opportunities to try signature neighborhood hors d’oeuvres. Participants include Essex PearlKatz’s DelicatessenNom Wah Tea ParlorPeetie’s Pie CompanyPickle Guys, Grey Lady and Russ & Daughters. We’ve provided direct links for each of these venders so their menus might tempt you to return to the Lower East Side when the pandemic ends. Some of these local merchants are also delivering now; they can help keep up your spirits even as you help them survive these challenging times.

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