Governor Visits Afya to Thank Volunteers

On March 17, Governor Hochul paid a visit to the Afya headquarters in Yonkers to thank the volunteers that are packing critical medical supplies to be sent to Ukraine.


“I’ve been to many Ukrainian communities, we are the largest Ukrainian population in the nation, the majority in New York City, but we have populations in Rochester and Buffalo and Syracuse. I’ve gone to visit them over the last couple of weeks. I’ve worshiped in their churches, I’ve shown our support. But I also want to say we can do more as a state,” said Governor Hochul. “And I did announce an executive order saying that the state would not be doing business with any Russian entities, but I want to take that a step further here today.


“We’re going to be announcing an executive order that we’re going to be strengthening in our sanctions against Russia as well and we’re going to have additional blockchain analytics technology to make sure that we’re being very vigilant about what they do. We’re now going to prohibit any state agencies and authorities from contracting with any entities that are still doing business in Russia. So, this is not just directly with Russian companies, it is with American companies Can companies that are continuing to do business in Russia in light of what’s happening? So that is the message that we’re delivering to our state agencies and authorities today to cease business, to not have no more future contracts with those entities.


“We’re continuing to put the pressure on and I saw this as a young college student when we were trying to stop apartheid in South Africa. And it was when people started divesting holdings in companies that were doing business in South Africa, we finally created the economic pressure that resulted in change, and we got our university and other universities across the nation to divest their holdings. So, I know the impact of what even a college can do, but I certainly know the power of New York State and the ability that we have to have influence in our own way as well.


“I also want to talk about an organization here, Afya, which means simply “health” in Swahili. And what is going on in this room is a dedicated group of individuals who have decided they will not sit on the sidelines. These volunteers right here, young people who’ve come together to help gather tens of thousands of pounds of critical medical humanitarian supplies – surgical pack, wound care kits, stretchers, emergency hospital beds, first aid supplies – and they’re all putting them together to be able to send where they’re needed the most.


“I want to thank this organization. I also want to thank Ken Raske. They did this. They brought together all these medical supplies together here today so they could be sent. Ken is the President and CEO of Greater New York Hospital Association. So even still dealing with what they went through during the pandemic and all the stress on the system and the scramble for protective equipment and masks and gowns, they, at a time of crisis for another country, still show the heart of New Yorkers and our healthcare industry to help people. We may never see their faces, but we know here today, standing in this warehouse in Yonkers that we’re about to ship out, literally 200 pallets of supplies desperately needed, over 100,000 pounds. And we’re going to continue doing this and we’re continuing ramping up our efforts to do what we can to support these individuals, not just with our prayers, not just with our thoughts, but real supplies that we hope will save lives.”