November 3, 2012, Saturday, 307

Community Based Organizations

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Community based organizations are business, cultural, and social organizations that provide services to the Chinese community in the three Chinatowns. They are privately maintained and funded through the association of many small business owners or through the efforts of community activists. These businesses are intended to cater only to the Chinese community, and include community centers, business and professional organizations, and watchdog groups that advocate for the Chinese community to the the city and state government. They are institutions that cater to the smaller Chinese community within the greater metropolis.

Historically, these organizations provided a conduit through which Chinese people could express their opinions about the development of their community. It also allowed them to protect their interests from the larger community that excluded them.[1]

Chinese-American Planning Council

The CPC was founded in 1965 as a grass-roots movement to provide social services to the Chinese community in the Manhattan Chinatown. After the Hart-Cellar Act, many women and children joined the mostly male population, and the CPC expanded its services to include day care centers, ESL classes, after-school programs, job training, and senior services.[2] Today, the CPC has expanded to over 29 centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, and offers more than 70 social services to its community.[3]

Brooklyn Chinese-American Association

The BCA was established in 1987 to address the needs of the Chinese business community in Sunset Park. The Chinese in Manhattan Chinatown were moving into other boroughs due to skyrocketing rents and overcrowding, and Brooklyn was one of their destinations.

Chinese residents were moving into the mainly Scandinavian neighborhood and opening up businesses that include groceries, restaurants, laundromats, and bakeries; 12 Chinese businesses expanded to over 36 in 1988. Paul Mak, project manager of a non-profit, realized that the growing Chinese community had difficulty in conveying their concerns to the city and state governments. He formed the BCA as a Chinese business advocate and intermediary between the government and the people. As the community grew, so did the services offered by the BCA. The BCA now offers social services, including applying for citizenship and Social Security, senior citizens services, early childhood services including day care,youth and adult services, and community development programs. It has expanded to other Brooklyn offshoots of Sunset Park, including Bensonhurst and Avenue U.[4]

Flushing Chinese Business Association

The Flushing Chinese Business Association is representative of later community organizations, and is comprised of a well-educated, English-literate group of owners. Their goal is to not only to represent Chinese businesses, but also make sure that they are well received by non-Chinese residents. To this end, they have taken on the the renovation costs of the Main ST/Flushing subway, as well as the costs of parades during the Lunar New Year.[5]

New York Chinese Cultural Center

The NYCCC was founded in 1974 and is concerned mainly with preserving and presenting traditional Chinese cultural arts. The center includes the School of the Arts and Dance China NY. The School of the Arts is accredited by the China's premier dance institution, Beijing Dance Academy, as a traditional Chinese dance school, while Dance China NY is a professional troupe of performers that present traditional dances to audiences all over the US. The center is pivotal in preserving Chinese folk dances and garnering respect and acknowledgment for Chinese culture.[6]

Chinatown Working Group

Looking forward, the Chinese diaspora in New York City is changing rapidly. The Chinatown in Manhattan, formerly the highest concentration of Chinese immigrants in New York City, is giving way to the rising Chinese populations in Flushing, Queens and 8th avenue, Brooklyn. Rising rents for apartments and small businesses in Manhattan’s Chinatown have forced its residents out and into its Queens and Brooklyn based counterparts.

The Chinatown Working Group (CWG) is currently trying to rectify some of the issues that are causing the slow deterioration of Manhattan’s Chinatown. Founded in 2008, the group comprises of “43 member organizations and representatives from the three community boards covering the area — whose goal is to help local residents and stakeholders determine the neighborhood’s future.” Of the issues they are currently tackling, gentrification, the gradual loss of Chinese culture and the floundering garment industry are the most prevalent issues. The CWG has offered up some suggestions to fix these issues in a draft soon to be offered up to government officials. To combat the issues of gentrification, a limit on the amount of luxury high-rises that can be built has been suggested. The CWG has also proposed more flexible zoning regulations for the garment industry to minimize the costs of rents and help get the struggling industry back on its feet. CWG also calls for a greater deal of respect to be shown to Chinese cultural centers and their preservation for future generations to come. You can contact the CWG at [1]

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  1. “Brooklyn Chinese-American Association.” BCA. 2009. 22 Mar. 2010 <>.
  2. "Whom to Exclude, Whom to Prefer: The Immigration Reform Act of 1965." 18 April 2010 <>. Print.
  3. “Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc.” CPC. 2003. 20 Feb. 2010 <>.
  4. “Brooklyn Chinese-American Association.” BCA. 2009. 22 Mar. 2010 <>.
  5. Chen, Hsiang-sui. "Chinese Organizations in Queens." Asian/American Center. Jan. 1991. <>.