Aug 2023 Newsletter: Building Up Grassroots Leadership

Above Photo: Our members, families, Activists, staff, OGs, Eva Lowe Fellows, and friends at John McLaren Park for CPA’s Summer Outing 2023.

Dear community,

And just like that, summer has wrapped up at CPA! As we send off our amazing summer Eva Lowe Fellows, and transition to a new season- my heart is full from witnessing the power of transformative relationships and community. 

With 2024 coming up, a year that will set the stage for the next decade, it is critical that we continue building a people-powered future with our communities. We’ve already seen big moves from the conservative right, from attacks on LGBTQ+ youth, to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down affirmative action. Locally, we have been troubled by continued efforts to criminalize young people and homelessness, instead of focusing on real solutions.

We also see organizing efforts growing across the country, from Asian American communities voicing our support for affirmative action, to Starbucks workers, teachers unions, hotel workers, and the SAG-AFTRA labor strikes. Amidst grassroots fights at home, we also see communities across the world rally to reject APEC and the exploitation of workers by global corporations. 

Photo: This summer, CPA Staff met with new and old partner organizations all over the country, as we strategize and gear up for 2024!

This is the organizing spirit that drives our work at CPA. In June, hundreds of our members and SRO families gathered at City Hall to win back local funding. We traveled to Sacramento alongside CCWP and CDWC to advocate for anti-retaliation protections and domestic workers rights. Our youth leaders advocated for transit justice with Poder SF and Bicis de Pueblo. They set self-transformation goals and engaged with personal practices to achieve them, and launched their resource & awareness zine “Ama-Zine Mental Health.” CPA also partnered with our sister organization, CPA Action Fund, to conduct a deep canvass campaign to hold hundreds of empathetic, deep listening conversations around public safety concerns and solutions.

As we gear up for 2024, I wanted to share an official announcement…CPA’s Office is relocating! At the end of the year, we will be moving to a new office on Kearny Street – a street filled with Asian American movement history including CPA’s. 50 years ago, CPA’s first storefront was on the ground floor of the I-Hotel just blocks away from our new location. (See photo below.)

In a way, we are returning to our roots. Our new Red Door will be wide open, where we’re excited to launch the next 50 years of powerbuilding with more space to develop grassroots leadership, voice, and power.

In Solidarity,

Shaw San Liu

Executive Director

Meet Our Outreach Organizers

This summer, CPA kicked off a new outreach organizers program, where two of our grassroots leaders, Chunmei Cao and Ailan Xie, joined us to continue their workers rights outreach as part-time staff! Both of them reached out to workers during the pandemic to provide resources and educate them on their COVID-19 workplace protections.

Through our new program which runs until November, they will continue to reach out to thousands of Chinese-speaking workers in Chinatown and the Excelsior District about labor rights.

Photo: Outreach organizers Ailan and Chunmei sharing workers rights information outside of CPA’s lobby.

Chunmei, who first heard of CPA through a friend, said, “There is not always an available space to understand labor law collectively, but at CPA there is.” After learning her labor rights, she began to do outreach to share with other workers.

Ailan is an immigrant worker and shared from doing outreach, “.. I learned that some workers encounter problems such as wage errors, reduced working hours, and getting fired without just cause. As workers, we should learn more about workers’ rights and labor laws to better protect our rights and interests.”

Both shared through their work, they are glad to be able to talk to friends and strangers about their rights. Chunmei reflected, “I hope CPA can continue to be more and more powerful to advocate for stronger labor enforcement- so all workers and industries can be protected.

 When we know our rights, we can better protect ourselves and each other!

Youth MOJO Mental Health Zine

Over the summer, Youth MOJO leaders launched “Ama-Zine Mental Health”- spreading mental health awareness and resources for San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) students. The zine aims to create youth solidarity around mental health and promote collective healing.

The zine is available on the CPA website! 

P.S. If you are an SFUSD Student, Youth MOJO would love to hear from you about mental health! – Take the Survey Here!

Youth MOJO Profile

Simon Lum is an 11th grade student at Thurgood Marshall Academic High School. He joined MOJO this past summer through a friend. Over the summer, Simon and his peers learned about mental health and political education on systems of oppression, and our relationships to power. He felt especially supported by other members while he tended to his recovery of a broken leg while working on the zine. 

At the zine launch, Simon reflected on his learnings: “What I learned about mental health is that it takes a lot of time, effort, and sometimes, it can be really different for everyone how they take care of themselves, and that’s really okay…. everyone just needs to find their own way when it comes to taking care of themselves.” He hopes that Youth MOJO’s zine will support others in learning about their mental health. 

As Simon shared, the journey may look different for everyone- but by supporting ourselves and each other, we grow stronger communities and fight for a future where all of us thrive.

Our City, Our Budget

In early June, Mayor London Breed announced plans to cut funding to programs that are vital to everyday working people and families. After weeks of activating our members, turning out to City Hall with our allies, meeting with Board of Supervisor offices, and making working-class voices heard – together, we won back funding amounting to $5.2 million for CPA!

Our members and coalitions turned out to advocate for essential services for working-class families, homes, and workplaces. As we gear up for the upcoming year, these victories remind us what is possible when we come together.

Photos: CPA Members, SRO Families, Sisterhood Gardens Members, and hundreds of community members made our voices heard at City Hall- that we deserve a say in the decisions impacting our everyday lives!

Read & Watch 


    • Sisterhood Gardens launched their first youth program! In this zine, SOIL Stewards Cindy, Vincent, and Vivian share their learnings & commitments to environmental justice through growing local food, intergenerational community, and learning the peoples’ history.



ICYMI: CPA is Hiring!

CPA is currently hiring for 4 positions – Operations Manager, Organizing Director, Development Manager, and Community Organizer. Visit our website to apply and share widely:

Fall 2023 Youth Applications are Open!

If you are a high-school student who’d like to join Youth MOJO (Movement of Justice and Organizing), Enoki Collective, and/or Young Men’s Circle – our Fall applications are now open: Please share out and email if you have any questions!