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Asian Americans Today and Community Activism
Yen Le Espiritu
“The Fall of the I-Hotel”
Assignment for Thursday1. Reading Espiritu and Park2. Bring in or identify something that you think is an example of an Asian American cultural production (art, music, performance, video, cartoons, etc.) to share with the class . . . You will be invited to share what it is and relate it to ideas from the readings.
Per Capita Income in 1999 by Ethnic Background
*NHPI is abbreviated for those who identified themselves as Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Table 1. Per Capita Income by Ethnicity in 1999 Source: U.S. Census Bureau Summary File 4, SF4-PCT 130. http://www.aamovement.net/viewpoints/ninjasdragons2.htm
1907 – rebuilt after 1906 earthquake
1920s-1930s – Manilatown spanned 10 blocks along Kearney Street from California St to Columbus Ave; off-season home to 20,000 Filipino immigrants, Filipino-owned restaurants, barbershops, pool halls
1960s – the Financial District takes over much of Manilatown; elderly Chinese and Filipino live in residential hotels for $50 per month
1979 – I-Hotel demolished; International Hotel Citizens Advisory Committee appointed by Mayor Feinstein, opposes commercial building that excludes low-income senior housing
Two blocks of Kearney dedicated to honor Filipino immigrants.
The site of the original hotel, at Jackson and Kearny streets, sat empty from 1979, when the hotel was razed.Chronicle file photo, 1997, by Brant Ward / h ttp://www.sfgate.com/cgibin/object/article?o=2&f=/c/a/2005/07/22/WBGOHDPSQH1.DTL&type=printable
International Hotel Senior Housing will provide 88 studio apartments, and 16 one-bedroom apartments for a total of 104 units of quality Section 8 federally subsidized which allows occupants to pay only 1/3 of their monthly gross income. Housing developed by Chinatown Community Development Center.Courtesy of Chong Partners Architecture
1994 – The Chinatown Community Housing Corporation secures funding from the Housing and Urban Development to build and operate 105 units
1994 – The Roman Catholic Archdiocese purchases the property and sells rights to build I-Hotel to Chinatown Community Development Center (property mgmnt grp)
1995 – International Hotel Senior Housing, Inc is formed by International Hotel Citizens Advisory Committee and CCDC
The 14-story New International Hotel Senior Residences is under construction at Kearny and Jackson streets.Chronicle photo by Kim Komenich
1960s-1970s: commercial expansion torn down more than 4,000 low-income units in favor of high-rise buildings (including the famous Transamerica Pyramid and the Bank of America's world headquarters) and parking lots; 4 out of every 5 low-cost residential hotels in the area were gone by end of the 1970s.
Low-income seniors will find a home at the rebuilt hotel, which also gives a nod to its Manilatown roots. Chronicle photo by Katy Raddatz
I-HOTEL RETURNS / The new International Hotel rises 15 stories on Kearny Street and includes 88 studio and 16 one-room apartments. Construction took two years.Chronicle photo by Mike Kepka / http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?f=/c/a/2005/08/27/BAGEJEDHSN20.DTL&o=1
“The civil rights and ethnic studies movements of the late 1960s were training grounds for Asian American cultural workers and the development of oppositional projects. . .unified by a common goal of articulating cultural resistance.” Espiritu (98)
“Given the historical distortions and misrepresentations of Asian Americans in mainstream media, most cultural projects produced by Asian American men and women perform the important tasks of correcting histories, shaping legacies, creating new cultures, constructing a politics of resistance, and opening spaces for the forcibly excluded.” Espiritu (98)
So to fight such oppression, one must also challenge the ideological dimension (“cultural symbols” or “controlling images”)