May is Asian American and Pacific Island (AAPI) Heritage Month and we’re celebrating with the Chinese Progressive Association.
Founded in 1972 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) “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.”
San Francisco’s Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia as well as the oldest in North America and, according to the latest census data, residents of Chinese ethnicity make up 21% of San Francisco’s population. The work being done by CPA targets the low income and working class immigrant Chinese community in the city and focuses on community education and organizing, leadership development, and alliance and movement building.
The Tenant Worker Center helps organize tenants to improve their housing conditions, and educates workers to improve their working conditions and achieve economic justice. In 2014, CPA and the Asian Law Caucus helped 280 workers at popular dim sum restaurant Yank Sing win over 4 million dollars in back pay. You can watch this 3-minute video to learn more. To date CPA has helped low wage workers recover over $8 million in owed wages.
CPA also runs a leadership development program for high school students called Youth Mojo (Movement of Justice and Organizing). The work these students do on social issues helps them develop their leadership, public speaking, advocacy and organizing skills.
In 2014, CPA launched Seeding Change, a project designed to grow a national Asian American movement to promote a just, sustainable, and democratic society. Their work includes “building a national pipeline for the next generation of AAPI organizers; creating an infrastructure for AAPI grassroots organizing; and experimenting with building power and scale for our movements toward a vibrant social and economic justice movement.”
Finally, CPA plays an active role in local, statewide, and national alliances to increase the civic engagement of working and immigrant families.
If you’d like to support the work being done by CPA, there are many ways to do so. Volunteer your time, donate your money and help raise awareness of the issues on your favorite social media platform. Follow the Chinese Progressive Association on Facebook, on Twitter @CPASF and Instagram @chineseprogressiveassociation.