Youth Against Displacement (YAD) Info Doc
The Jing Fong / Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) Picket Line
Youth Against Displacement is one of many groups on the picket line in front of East Bank and now MOCA. Other groups include the 318 Restaurant Union and the broader Coalition to Protest Chinatown and LES. The picket line first started in March 2021 after Chinatown's biggest landlord and developer Jonathan Chu displaced the heart of Chinatown, the Jing Fong Banquet Hall. The picket moved in front of the Museum of Chinese in America (where Chu is the Co-Chair of the Board) after the Chinatown community found out this Museum received $35 million as part of the City's plan to build a mega-jail in Chinatown (on page 16 of the Jail Plan Points of Agreement)
The picket line has two demands:
- Jonathan Chu, re-open the Jing Fong Banquet Hall.
- MOCA, reject the $35 million of jail money.
Is This Money Really "Jail Money?"
Yes. In an email to New York Magazine, the DCLA was unequivocal: "MOCA got that money as part of “a set of commitments shaped by community engagement and made as part of the City’s broader effort to close Rikers Island No jail plan, no sanqian wubai wan ($35 million in Chinese pin yin)." You can read the full New York Magazine piece below.
This money does NOT come from the Mayor's Slush Fund, the Ford Foundation, or Mackenzie Bezos, which were other donations that the Museum Received
The Real Criminals Policing Our Community
1 year after the picket line started, MOCA repeatedly called the NYPD on protestors and issued court summons to 8 protestors, including former Jing Fong workers, seniors, and community members. This led to hundreds marching from MOCA to the NYPD 5th Precinct demanding they stop criminalizing working people in Chinatown.
More Articles of Interest
Additional articles on Jing Fong workers' displacement
The Nation, “Jing Fong Couldn’t Survive. Will Manhattan’s Chinatown?”Additional resources on MOCA
Protesters Demand the Resignation of Museum of Chinese in America DirectorOpinion: The mayor, the museum and Chu; Unseemly alliance threatens Chinatown community
FIGHT AGAINST THE FOUR PROPOSED MEGA-TOWERS IN TWO BRIDGES (RIGHT NEXT TO CHINATOWN)
A luxury developer called Extell is trying to build 4 luxury mega-towers in Two Bridges, a neighborhood next to Chinatown and the Lower East Side. If built, these towers will drive up the rent and property taxes and displace people in Chinatown and LES. In 2019, Youth Against Displacement, Lower East Side Organized Neighbors (LESON) and others sued the City for their illegal approval of four luxury towers in Two Bridges and we won the lawsuit to stop the towers.
But in 2021, the City and developers filed an appeal that overturned this victory. If these mega-towers are built, they will only worsen the skyrocketing rents and ongoing displacement of working people of color in Chinatown and the Lower East Side. We are filing a second lawsuit to stop these towers for good. We are suing to defend the environmental rights of thousands of people in Two Bridges, protecting our right to clean air, light, and water, and ensuring that the low-income buildings in the area don't have their structural integrity compromised by these dangerous new developments. Our community is not for sale!Donate to our GoFundMe
THE CHINATOWN WORKING GROUP REZONING PLAN
The Chinatown Working Group Rezoning Plan was created by the Chinatown and LES community over 6 years to protect these two neighborhoods from real estate speculation and displacement. It sets limits on the heights of new buildings, limits luxury hotels and big box store in certain areas, and mandates more truly affordable housing. Without a rezoning plan, residents and small businesses in Chinatown and the Lower East Side will continue to be displaced as more of the neighborhoods are flipped for profit. The reason we fight is to tell City officials and luxury developers that Chinatown is not for sale, Lower East Side is not for sale, and New York City is not for sale!