CHINESE PROGRESSIVE ASSOCIATION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 30, 2011
- Alex Tom
- Emily Lee
CHINESE COMMUNITY HOLDS EDUCATIONAL EVENT ABOUT WHY THEY ARE THE 99 PERCENT
On Sunday, October 30th, 150 members of the Chinese and broader
community in San Francisco gathered at Portsmouth Square in Chinatown
for an educational event as part of the “We are the 99%” movement. The
event highlighted what being part of the 99% means for the Chinese
community, and what solutions can address the country’s growing wealth
inequality where the richest 1% own 43% of the wealth in America.
Budget cuts to education, healthcare, and other public services have
been threatening to destroy the American Dream of everyday people,
while big corporations and millionaires keep making huge profits and
dodging their responsibility. This inequality is why thousands of
Americans are joining the 99% movement, from New York’s Wall Street to
San Francisco Chinatown.
A community member, Mrs. Rong, spoke about her experience in America,
saying, “I used to be a restaurant worker, but because of a work
injury, I haven’t been able to work for the past 4 years. We rely
entirely on my husband’s income. My daughter already graduated from
college, and although she already found work, she has to pay students
loans every month. We don’t know how long we will be paying those
loans. We don’t have anything. We are the 99% and we have to work
Chinese immigrants came to this country because they believed in the
American Dream. They came for the opportunity to have better job
opportunities, to give their children access to higher education, and
to have financial security. But for many low and middle income
Chinese, this American Dream has not become a reality. Even before the
2008 economic recession, Chinese people have been part of the 99%,
facing high unemployment, lack of healthcare, and less support from
government services because of budget cuts. Young people especially
are worried about whether they can go to college due to increasing
tuition rates over the past few years.
Stephanie Chan, a high school student, says “My dad works for more
than 13 hours a day, and my mom works two jobs, but my family is still
low-income. I currently have healthcare, but I will lose it once I
turn 18. I can’t help but wonder, what will happen when it is time for
me and my little brother to attend college? How will we afford the
high price of college tuition? That’s why people are protesting right
now, and why we are the 99%.”
As part of the 99%, members of the Chinese community came together to
address wealth and income inequality. Solutions discussed included
restoring taxes on the richest 1% and corporations, making sure our
elected officials are not controlled by corporate interests, and to
stop spending millions of taxpayer dollars each year in war spending.
After the event, 50 community members marched down Clay Street to join
the Occupy San Francisco camp at Justin Herman Plaza.
Photos are available upon request.