Asian Culture Day: Guest speaker discusses Chinatown

The Newtonite

by Nicky Kaufman
During G block today, the Asian Culture Club brought in Kim Situ of the Chinese Progressive Association to discuss the history and current events of Boston’s Chinatown.
Situ’s organization works in Chinatown to advocate for its residents and to encourage projects that would benefit the area.
Situ began by discussing the history of Asian Americans in America, who now make up about 5.6% of the United States’ total population according to the 2012 census. In addition, Asian Americans make up 7.3% this school’s student body make up. Situ focused particularly on the immigration of Chinese people to America.
The Chinese immigrated primarily from southern Chinese ports and before settling primarily on the United States West Coast, they helped build the Pacific Railroad and partook in the Gold Rush. Some, however, settled near Boston’s South Station in Chinatown.
According to Situ, this area, while not wealthy (the median income is $17,000), remains a vibrant cultural center.
“Not only is the food there great, but you have a diverse group of people that makes it a wonderful area,” she said.
Many students commented that they often venture to Chinatown to eat at its many popular restaurants, but Situ also pointed out the many other events that are held in Chinatown, including the recent Chinese New Year celebrations.
Situ’s Organization has pushed for Chinatown to receive, among other things, affordable housing, increased green space, and a public library. The group asked the candidates from last year’s Boston Mayoral election to sign a pledge to push for a library in Chinatown, which current mayor Marty Walsh did sign while running for office.
Situ feels that the preservation of Chinatown should be prioritized because of it’s lively attractions and the community it provides to Asian immigrants and families.
“This area means so much to many people,” said Situ. “It’s a place that should matter to everyone and it should be preserved.”