The Chinatown/International District has faced many challenges to its survival as a thriving neighborhood including urban blight, commercial development, and racial discrimination. The newly created Friends of the International District brought together veteran community activists with emerging leaders to discuss, document and share successful community organizing strategies. The key outcome of the project is the development of this training manual, describing key organizing strategies and personal stories for work in immigrant communities.

The goal of the training manual is to serve as a first step in beginning conversations between generations of community organizers.

Procuring content for this training manual was two-fold: (1) Researchers and writers interviewed community activists from different generations and points of interest; and (2) four dialogue forums were coordinated to stimulate conversation between generations and extract personal stories from panelists. The dialogue sessions also served to begin conversations regarding the future of community organizing.

This training manual has been broken up into four separate sections. Each section represents different fields of focus in community organizing, but does not represent all of them. There are numerous interests and causes within organizing, but for this project, we’ll focus on a few. Within each of those sections, are four featured elements: two “Spotlights on a Community Leader” from a veteran and younger activist, a “Case Study,” “Perspectives,” and practical “Tips.” The “Spotlights” offer personal insight into a particular activist’s motivations for their organizing work. The “Case Study” highlights an effort or movement surrounding the preservation of the Chinatown/International District or empowerment of the Asian Pacific American community. “Perspectives” shares an activist’s point of view on a specific topic, and “Tips” offer suggestions from a community member on organizing.

On the last page, you’ll find a Resource List, a list of project participants, and a Conclusion ­written by younger organizers and steering committee members.

Thank you to all of our project participants for their time and contribution to this effort. And thank you to the readers of this manual. We hope it gives you an opportunity to start a dialogue and help continue the work.

This project was supported with funds from




And a special thank you to Garry Owens

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