Chinatown Block Party Highlights Neighborhood Solidarity

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – San Francisco community leaders and Chinatown residents celebrated the second annual Ping Yuen summer block party on Saturday to spotlight a culturally diverse housing development and strengthen relationships between Asian and black families struggling with economic hardship and racial tensions during the pandemic.

The Ping Yuen public housing project was built in the 1950s, but the Chinatown Community Development Center took it over in 2015.

“I’m a people person, I’ll meet everyone,” said Carolyn Pollard, a resident of Ping Yuen who has lived in Chinatown for 13 years. She was one of the block party volunteers. “Rally everyone, old people – we have to look out for each other. We really do.”

Pollard says some are still surprised to learn that she lives in the neighborhood as an African-American woman, but while the affordable housing complex is mostly made up of people of Chinese descent, it also has many black families. .

“We all have the same goals, we all have the same aspirations, and if we work together as a community to get there, we can get there together,” said Malcolm Yeung, executive director of the Chinatown Community Development Center.

Yeung said unity is continuous work and requires everyone to constantly work to build solidarity among people from different walks of life. Rap performances shared the stage on Saturday with Chinese dancers.

“We are mobilizing, we are uniting, we are condemning hate, we are investing to provide safety and resources for our small businesses to thrive,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

Breed shared the stage with other city leaders, including newly appointed District Attorney Brooke Jenkins, who promised her team would work harder to make the community feel protected.

“Our office is dedicated to the safety of everyone in San Francisco,” Jenkins said. “We will no longer allow people to walk around feeling like they are going to be targeted because of who they are.”

Pollard sees the harmony that can be achieved between different groups living together each week. She regularly volunteers to help families in the housing complex and, as a longtime resident, enjoys seeing her loved ones spend time in Chinatown with others from outside the community. She hopes the block party can continue year after year.

“We should all try to get along and live with each other,” Pollard said.

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