Early this morning many students, teachers, parents, Chinatown and other immigrant communities celebrated a major victory in our 30 year fight for a high quality community college campus in Chinatown.
With other SF State and City College teachers, students and leaders, my colleagues from the Chinese Progressive Association and Chinese for Affirmative Action and the SF Labor Council, I waited along with dozens of my SF State students for the outcome of the long college board meeting which began at 6pm at the Chinatown/Northbeach campus. At 1:30am the college board finally voted to approve construction of a permanent City College Campus in Chinatown! Key to the victory was massive community support: over 25,000 petition signatures, 10,000 individually completed postcards, and 3,500 emails sent in three days.
The new Chinatown/North Beach Community College campus will be constructed next door to the historic I-Hotel site which was rebuilt in 2005. We just celebrated the 30 year struggle to rebuild the I-Hotel and the Manilatown Center. So, the new Chinatown College Campus which is scheduled to open in 2010 will be a nice addition to our community.
Summarizing last night's victory Keith Kamisugi of the Equal Justice Society wrote:
This represents a major win for a broad coalition, coordinated by Vin Pan and Susan [Hsieh] at CAA, of over 100 community organizations and leaders in support of the campus has collected over 23,000 petition signatures and over 10,000 individual postcards demanding appoval last night.
While many longtime activists were involved in the coalition like Henry Der and Ling-Chi [power to the people] Wang, I developed tremendous admiration and respect for City College leaders in the CCSF Asian Coalition and folks like Prof. Minh-Hoa Ta and Andrew Hom for their tremendous leadership as well.
For over 30 years, the San Francisco Chinatown community has fought for a permanent campus to provide generations of immigrant students with equal access to educational opportunities, such as learning English, preparing for citizenship exams, and acquiring job skills. Classrooms are currently scattered throughout a dozen deteriorating and inconvenient spaces, and at the primary location, students and faculty suffer debris falling on their heads and are forced to use child-size toilets.
Unfortunately, owners of the nearby Hilton Hotel, desperate to preserve their guest-room views, continued to dispatch high-priced lawyers and lobbyists in a ruthless campaign of opposition. Long on cash and short on scruples, they proclaimed “support” for a campus, while at the same time financing endless schemes to derail its progress.
More info: Friends of Educational Opportunity in Chinatown
FEOC has a Good Media List of Articles on the issues .
Also see: Chinatown Campus – One Building or 2 Buildings? Samson Wong Asian Week 10/12/07
CAA Director Vincent Pan – from the SF Chronicle 7/30/07