San Francisco Chinatown Renaissance 2021 Initiative Kicks Off May 4th

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San Francisco Chinatown Renaissance 2021 Initiative Kicks Off May 4th

Community Leaders Unite to Save Communities Devastated
by COVID and Economic Downturn

30 April 2021 – San Francisco, CA: A consortium of San Francisco business, community and civic leaders have come together to revitalize Chinatown post-COVID and develop a unified grant proposal seeking new and incremental foundation funding for Chinatown revitalization projects in San Francisco and other major American cities. The kick-off event for the San Francisco Chinatown Renaissance 2021 Initiative will take place on Tuesday, May 4, 12pm at the Victory Memorial Hall (827 Stockton Street, San Francisco). COVID protocols will be strictly enforced including mandatory mask wearing, socially distant seating and temperature checks.

“The impact of COVID shutdowns, ‘China-virus’ scapegoating, and anti-Asian xenophobia has had a disproportionate economic impact in Chinatown,” said Buck Gee, longtime Committee of 100 member.  “In the past few months, we have seen exciting and innovative ideas from many individuals in Chinatown.  But now it is time for the community to acknowledge that this is a collective problem, and that we need to work together to build a better Chinatown.”

According to Gee, in February 2020, immediately before the pandemic hit San Francisco, 15% of Chinatown business storefronts were vacant.  Six months later, it was 48%.  Along Grant Avenue, the main tourist district, empty storefronts rose from 16% to 58%.  Along Clay, vacancies among small businesses mostly serving local residents climbed from 11% to 66%.

“While there have been a few new businesses opening along Grant recently, it will take an extraordinary effort to replace the 180+ businesses shut down in the past year,” said  Jane Chin, Board co-chair for the Chinatown Community Development Center: “COVID-19, China scapegoating, and anti-Asian hate have devastated businesses in Chinatown.”

The ad hoc consortium is being sponsored by the Northern California Region of The Committee of 100 in partnership with the Chinatown Community Development Center, and the Asian Pacific Fund. The initiative seeks to work with a wide range of community groups and organizations, collect their ideas to revitalize Chinatown post-COVID, and develop a unified grant proposal seeking new and incremental foundation funding for Chinatown revitalization projects.

“This initiative is intended to assist the renaissance and renewal of Chinatown,” said Audrey Yamamoto, President and Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Fund. “It will bolster support from the state and local government to maintain Chinatown as a safe and sustainable environment for residents and community businesses.  We’re honored to be part of this historic effort, given the devastating impact that the pandemic has had on our Asian American and Pacific Islander community, especially the businesses and nonprofits in Chinatown.”

In addition, the San Francisco Chinatown Renaissance 2021 Initiative is exploring partnerships with leaders in other large urban Chinatowns to see whether the regional concept could be expanded into a National Chinatown Renaissance initiative.  In addition to Gee, Chin and Yamamoto, other Initiative leaders include David Lei with the Chinese American Community Foundation, Dennis Wu, Cally Wong, and Dan Lee.

MEDIA ADVISORY / REQUEST FOR ONSITE COVERAGE:
TUESDAY, MAY 4 – 12PM

WHAT:
Kick-Off for San Francisco Chinatown Renaissance

WHERE:
Victory Memorial Hall, 827 Stockton St, San Francisco
ONLINE ACCESS: TBD.

WHEN:
Tuesday, May 4
12pm doors open, temperature checks, mask check, assigned (socially distanced) seating
12:30pm program startsWelcome: David Lei
Covid’s impact on Chinatown: Jane Chin
Impact to Chinatown business: Nancy Yu Law (Chinatown Merchants United Association)

Chinatown Renaissance Consortium: Buck Gee
Consortium objectives: Dan Lee (Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association)
1:30pm Meeting ends, box lunches distributed