This morning as I walked through Chinatown, I expected to see the usual routines of many Chinatown residents and visitors: grocery shopping throughout Stockton St. and stopping by the occasional bakery or take-out dim sum shops. Normally I would be joining in these activities as I am a frequent visitor of San Francisco's Chinatown for fresh produce and meats. This morning however, I was on my way to a different activity. Today I visited the Community Tenants Association (CTA) meeting and witnessed seniors socializing and sharing community knowledge such as health & wellness information. This morning's meeting included karaoke, an English lesson, and current news. I also had the honor of sitting in on their board meeting as members go through a process of discussing important points and voting on them. I didn't find any signs of Facebook, Twitter, or even internet, this group simply uses the power of their networks to share information and mobilize for campaigns and protests concerning tenants/housing rights. Immediately I understood the significance of their networks because this generation of seniors may not have an understanding of social media like the younger generation, but they too have identified their networks as a strong asset and they organize for community issues via community meetings and phone calls.
Overall what I took away is that CTA is an association that supports community members through housing disputes and they also provide a sense of community and camaraderie for folks. Historically they have already accomplished much for San Francisco Chinatown's residents and they will continue to have many more successes in the coming years as the city continues to develop and as tenants refuse to allow displacement/gentrification.