BY KARI LINDBERG | With passionate chants of “Racism No More,” “New York City Not For Sale” and “De Blasio, Step Down,” members the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and Lower East Side kicked off their protest outside City Hall last Wednesday.
Around 100 protestors, mainly older Chinese and Latinos, came out alongside activists, wearing signs in English, Spanish and Chinese saying “De Blasio, Step Down” and “Stop Ethnic Racism.” They called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to leave office for failing to protect Asian, African-American and Latino communities from being displaced.
Tucked behind Toronto City Hall’s curved towers, on Elizabeth Street, is a modest patch of greenery outfitted with bright red benches and blossoming tulips. It’s from this spot — once a parking lot— that historian Arlene Chan reconstructs an image of Toronto’s first Chinatown.
Chan draws on a mix of personal history and research to inform her audience, who joined her Heritage Toronto tour of Old Chinatown on May 14. A librarian turned writer, Chan offers a glimpse into the lives of the city’s early Chinese immigrants.
“Why was there a Chinatown? Why was there such a tight-knit community?” asks Chan, before answering her own question. “It was because the Chinese were isolated. ”
America’s cities may be home to individuals belonging to thousands of cultural groups and myriad socioeconomic statuses. But these urban centers are surprisingly no melting pot. As Nate Silver pointed out in several infographics,diverse cities are often the most segregated, especially at the neighborhood level.
To add to this gloomy reality, today’s urban developers often use subtle tactics to keep cities economically and racially divided. “The fair housing laws passed in the last half-century have forced racists to devise whole new methods of discrimination, subtler but serving the same purpose: to keep people of color out of ‘white’ spaces,” author Daniel Kolitz wrote on the online culture publication Hopes & Fears.
As Prime Minister Trudeau apologizes for a horrendous act of racism in the past, are we creating the conditions for more of them in the future?
On Saturday, September 7, 1907, my great-grandfather Kumazo Nagata was visiting Vancouver from the family homestead on Mayne Island. It was a hot night. He never told his daughter-in-law, my grandmother, why he was in Chinatown that evening, though she speculates it had to do with his fondness for games of chance. Kumazo didn’t know he’d be gambling with his life by night’s end.
Following last week’s protest of three hundred Chinatown and Lower East Side residents, workers and supporters, the 83 & 85 Bowery tenants have made a breakthrough in holding their landlord Joseph Betesh accountable for allowing the buildings to fall into disrepair.
Yesterday, a housing court
judge ordered the 83 & 85 Bowery landlord to repair major violations including a sloping staircase and sloping floors within 60 days. If the repairs are not
done, the landlord could face arrest and jail time.
Asian-Canadian literature pioneer talks about the ongoing struggle of identity in this short-doc
For minorities in North America, the divide between racial identity and cultural identity has always been an issue. What makes someone Canadian (or American)? What does it mean for someone to feel out of place in a country that he or she should consider home?
In this Straight short-doc, Vancouver poet, author, and editor Jim Wong-Chu explains how the experience of alienation is much stronger for those who were born into a Canadian minority community than for those who have immigrated here. Continue reading →
Apr. 12, 2016 – Democracy Now! (Video) – Mission District, San Francisco
We look at the case of Alex Nieto, a 28-year-old Latino man fatally shot by San Francisco police in March 2014. The police officers accused in the killing claimed that Nieto pointed a stun gun at them, which they mistook for a pistol. Officers Richard Schiff, Nathan Chew, Roger Morse and Lt. Jason Sawyer fired dozens of shots at Nieto. According to the medical examiner, he was hit by at least 10 bullets. Last month, a jury unanimously found that the police did not use excessive force in responding to Nieto. Nieto’s family had filed a federal wrongful death civil lawsuit in August 2014, arguing in court that Nieto did not act aggressively and was carrying the weapon for his job as a security guard. We speak with Adriana Camarena, a writer, community advocate and co-founder of the Justice for Alex Nieto Coalition; and author Rebecca Solnit, who wrote a piece for The Guardian headlined “Death by gentrification: the killing that shamed San Francisco.” Camarena also talks about last week’s San Francisco police killing of a homeless man, Luis Gongora, within 30 seconds of their arrival. Continue reading →
NEW YORK CITY — As the city’s public housing authority adds more Asian language services to its customer service phone system in response to pressure from elected officials, tenant advocacy groups say the city still is not doing enough.
The New York City Housing Authority has added Mandarin and Cantonese language options to its automated customer phone system, a week after Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez wrote a letter to the agency requesting the change — but tenants who speak Korean and Bangla are still deprived of language resources, according to activist group CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities,which has previously criticized the authority for its limited language services.