Bay Area Asian Community Unites in Chinatown to Heal through Art, Calls for Immediate Action and Support


March 20, 2021


Sam Lew

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area

Tiffany Louie

Chinese Progressive Association



Bay Area Asian Community Unites in Chinatown to Heal through Art, 

Calls for Immediate Action and Support

San Francisco, CA – Chinese Progressive Association (CPA), Community Coalition for Safety and Justice (CCSJ), and nearly 1,000 Asian American community members and allies gathered at Portsmouth Square today for an art and healing event to mourn the eight people murdered during the mass shooting in Georgia, six of whom were Asian women, as well as acknowledge the ongoing attacks of Asian elders and community members in the recent weeks.

Participants painted butterflies representing lives lost and created kites, both representing symbols of release and flying to freedom in the spirit of Qing Ming Festival. Community members also wrote letters and hung them with white ribbons along the Dr. Rolland and Kathryn Lowe Community Bridge, and came together in a community healing circle to grieve, acknowledge the anger, and be in community to honor those who have been harmed by anti-Asian violence.

“Today’s powerful gathering and outpouring of support demonstrated that the community is ready to unite for solutions to racism, violence and safety for all, and we need our governments and leadership to stand with us.Whether we are grandparents, workers, women, or young people, we all deserve safety and it is clear the current systems are not working. We need to fight racism, economic inequality and sexism/gender-based violence with effective community-based solutions if we are to achieve true safety for our communities,” shares Shaw San Liu, Executive Director of the Chinese Progressive Association.

“Poverty and financial desperation are not happening by accident, either; immigration policy, the deliberate lack of legal and well-paying work for the most vulnerable of us, and rampant workplace abuses in the industries where most Asian migrants are finding work produce dire consequences. Until we can holistically address these issues, we will only continue to see targeted violence escalate against the most marginalized of us,” shares Hyejin Shim, Community Organizer at Survived and Punished.

“One first step we could take is to annualize and fully fund the Community Coalition for Safety and Justice to provide in-language service and support to survivors and victims, build the community-based safety education and violence prevention programs needed, and hold cross racial healing and dialogue to address racial tension, humanize all of us and end scapegoating of communities of color,” says Liu.

Chinese Progressive Association and the Coalition for Community Safety and Justice are calling on all levels of government, from the City of San Francisco to the state of California and federal government, to fund community-led solutions and resources, including in-language support for mental health, legal, employment, and immigration services; comprehensive victim support, prevention and intervention, and cross-racial healing and dialogue. They are also calling for community support to call out and oppose any who would stir up fear of Asians, devalue the lives of women, or abuse working people, and join with all people impacted by racism and misogyny in saying “no more”!

The program was emceed in English and Cantonese by Lai Wa Wu and Mabel Teng, former San Francisco Assessor-Recorder. Community members were joined by Mayor London Breed, City Administrator Carmen Chu, Assemblymember David Chiu, Assemblymember Phil Ting, District Attorney Chesa Boudin, Public Defender Manohar Raju, SFUSD Board of Education Commissioner Jenny Lam, Supervisors Catherine Stefani, Gordon Mar and Ahsha Safaí, representatives from Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Myrna Melgar, BART Board Director Janice Li, and former Supervisor Norman Yee.

For a list of event sponsors please see the Facebook event page.


About the Chinese Progressive Association:

Founded in 1972, the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) is a nonprofit that educates, organizes and empowers the low income and working class immigrant Chinese community in San Francisco to build collective power with other oppressed communities to demand better living and working conditions and justice for all people.

About the Coalition for Community Safety and Justice:

The Coalition for Community Safety and Justice (CCSJ), comprises of four organizations including Chinese for Affirmative Action, Chinese Progressive Organization, the Community Youth Center, and the New Breath Foundation to address the inter-ethnic violence, anti-Asian racism, and build our city’s capacity to create alternatives to safety and justice.