Messages from the Executive Director

April 2017

Re-Calibrating at Forty?

On my 40th birthday (decades ago), I remember getting cards and even a hat that read: "OVER THE HILL!" Chinatown CDC has just turned 40 years old and in many ways, we did climb a big hill, but we're much more ready to climb an even taller mountain!

As a Presbyterian minister on the side, I know that the #40 is very symbolic and meaningful as it represents a "generation" or a period of testing and trial (i.e. 40 years in the wilderness) or the idea that it takes at least that long to become "Wise" or "reach a full level of understanding". (Don't worry, I believe in certain situations Youth are wiser than me)

The point being that Chinatown CDC has stood the test of time and has "matured" and grown in many ways to face the trials and tribulations of this new day. It's been said that almost half of the non-profits that began like us in '70's have not survived... Phew! It's been tough but we made it through many crises and have learned from them.

I was in Washington DC a few days after President Trump released his budget blueprint which included so many cutbacks in housing, healthcare, environmental concerns, among the few... and some folks felt hopeless and said they wanted to just "give up". By the end of the week, we were pleasantly surprised when the attempted repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) failed.

One lesson we at Chinatown CDC learned is that when life gets tough, you depend on your friends, family and your local community. Yep - that includes you. Federal funding for social service programs will most likely be cut and we need the community to help us re-calibrate..

Chinatown CDC has been climbing big hills such as ownership of the Pings (public housing) and trying to give hope for better housing for families living in Chinatown's Single Room Occupancy Hotels... We shall never give up with that "Spirit of Community" that keeps us "keepin' on" and that same spirit across the country is what caused the President to back off on cutting health care.

Hope and despair always go together. Life is a struggle. Embrace it! Looking back into our roots, Chinatown wouldn't be here today without that spirit of community. We need to continue to "Think globally, but act locally". As we celebrate our 40th anniversary throughout the year, we will be showcasing Chinatown CDC stories on our YouTube channel and through Facebook.

Click here to view the first video "ROOTS" from our brand new series as we remember the giants on whose shoulders we stand. May the spirit of community give you hope in these volatile times nationally.

Rev. Norman Fong 方小龍
Executive Director

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