“Resistance is a Tradition: Philadelphia Chinatown and the 150-year Fight for Survival”
A Zoom Conversation with with Community Activist Debbie Wei ’79
Co-sponsored by the Network of Oberlin Asian Alumni (NOAA)
Philadelphia Chinatown is a small and legendarily feisty community, that has fought tooth and nail for its right to exist since its inception. Chinatowns across the US have either disappeared or are under threat of extinction. Philadelphia's Chinatown now faces its biggest fight for survival against seemingly impossible odds. A local activist will share information about this battle for Philadelphia's Chinatown and its larger meaning for preserving cultural and spiritual communities.
Debbie Wei ’79 currently works as a social studies curriculum specialist for the School District of Philadelphia. She is a member of the Save Chinatown Coalition and The Chinatown Coalition to Oppose the Arena. Debbie helped found Asian Americans United in 1985 to organize low-income and working-class Asian Americans; its victories include winning reform in the School District of Philadelphia for immigrant students and families, improving language access across the city, tenant and worker organizing, and stopping the construction of a stadium and a casino in Philadelphia Chinatown. She was a founder and founding principal of the Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School in Philadelphia’s Chinatown, which serves as a model for best practices in serving immigrant and refugee families and the annual Philadelphia Chinatown Mid-Autumn Festival. She has been a school principal in Philadelphia, New Delhi, and Los Angeles. At Oberlin she majored in English.