Chinatown Community for Equitable Development is a relatively up and coming organization of community leaders, business owners, and residents of Chinatown in Los Angeles. Their membership spans multiple generations of a wide range of ethnicities. Founded in May 2012, CCED’s formation was during the development of a new Wal-Mart in Chinatown, which threatened the survival of small businesses in the surrounding area and displaced many tenants who could not keep up with the skyrocketing rent due to the gentrification, or the shift toward wealthier residents and businesses thereby increasing the values of property in the area, that ensued.
CCED is, at its very core, an organization fueled by grassroots power. Using community-based resources, CCED seeks to educate people on the issues that affect the Chinatown area, to organize events and protests to demonstrate that the people of Chinatown do indeed hold power and weight in the discussion of issues that affect their neighborhood, and to foster a sense of mutual help and cooperation among residents in Chinatown. CCED has many tenets to which they adhere but some prominent ones include preserving the cultural integrity and maintaining the preservation of the neighborhood, ensuring that Chinatown residents have access to quality jobs, education, and affordable housing, and ensuring that Chinatown residents have access to municipal services that are culturally competent and in-language.
While the organization is still ever-growing, it has achieved much in the few years it has been active. It had received the support of over 65 businesses in Chinatown in their opposition toward the Wal-Mart in Chinatown and garnered over 1000 signatures on their online petition against the Wal-Mart on Change.org. The organization also regularly canvassed to residents and small business owners in the neighborhood, keeping residents in the know about the issues that are pertinent to them by providing them with one-on-one conversations in-language about issues that residents and business owners care about such as the rising rent prices and gentrification in Chinatown.
Today, CCED continues the momentum it gained from the opening of Wal-Mart in Chinatown. With the gentrification of Chinatown becoming a reality, CCED continues its fight to preserve the beauty and history of the neighborhood through creative and artistic programming. This summer, CCED will open a photography exhibit entitled “The Streets Between Us”, which tells the story of various community members in Chinatown. The exhibit contains snapshots of the daily lives of nine CCED members. While these participants represent a diverse range of identities, the exhibit culminates to a unifying image of home.
By bringing accessible resources to the members of the Chinatown community, by informing the community members of the issues that affect their home, and by organizing events and actions to help amplify the voices of an often silenced community, CCED is a beacon of hope, nourishing the community at large.
Keep checking back for our next spotlight article as we continue to spotlight other organizations and individuals who have helped nourish our community!
Written by APC’s Community Outreach Coordinator Jimmy Nguyen