Chinatown Election
Margaret Chin & Rocky Chin

[Fall 2001]

CUNY Graduate Center
Room 9206


Both Margaret Chin and Rocky Chin (not related) have been activists in the Asian and ethnic communities of New York for close to 30 years. Margaret was associated with LaGuardia Community College and is a member of the Asian American Higher Education Council (AAHEC). Both are running in the 1st District of New York City for a seat on the City Council in an election this fall. Moderator Betty Lee Sung called attention to AAHEC's non-profit status and said as a 501 organization, we cannot support or endorse any political candidate. If we did, we would lose our tax-exempt status, so this meeting is an educational forum, to let the candidates inform us about the issues they are running on, and to relate these issues to the City University of New York (CUNY), AAHEC and higher education.

Margaret spoke about her involvement with the Chinatown community. She attributed her motivation to Betty Sung;s Asian American Studies classes, which inspired her to help the large influx of immigrants pouring into Chinatown nearly 30 years ago. She organized day care for garment workers, got jobs for Chinese employees on the Confucius Plaza project, founded Asian Americans for Equality and now serves as it executive director. She also coordinated English language classes under the auspices of LaGuardia Community College for Chinese students offered right in Chinatown. Now she looks back proudly at all the graduates she has helped to find better jobs because of their acquired language skills.

Margaret is especially supportive of our proposed Asian American Asian Research Institute. She relates that in her service in the community she felt handicapped because of lack of data, which has been gathered or acquired, but no one has pulled the data together. She is working with Queens College on how discrimination affects Asians, and 6,000 Asians are being interviewed. She hopes the Institute will become a reality so that the interviews can be analyzed meaningfully.

In her campaign for election, Margaret is in contact with many community organizations that she can mobilize and lend support to push for our Research Institute. She is running for City Council because Asians desperately need a voice in City Government.

Rocky is a Civil Rights lawyer. He has long been an activist since his days at Yale and UCLA. He helped form the first Asian American Association. He pushed for Asian American Studies. He taught Asians and the American Law at City College, Cornell, and other colleges. He helped found the Chinatown Health Clinic and Museum of Chinese American History. He stressed the need for more research on Asian Americans, which is taking place on the West Coast, but hardly anything is being done on the East Coast. He is also supportive of the proposed Research Institute.

How can City Government help? He asked.

1. Get issues up front on lack of Asian American representation.

2. Identify sources of State, City and Federal Funding for services

3. Mobilize community support

4. Get media attention

5. Organize coalitions.

6. Educate the voters He said voting is a powerful weapon.

Chinatown has 6,000 registered voters, but this is a drop in the bucket compared to our numbers. Politicians know this, so they ignore us.

It was a very rainy night. However, that was not an excuse for many of our members not to show up. After all, the two candidates sacrificed their time and effort to come make a presentation and we should have provided larger numbers to hear them. We thanked the speakers, and extended our apologies for the poor attendance.

Synopsis by Betty Lee Sung






Lecture Archive

Fall 2009 - Spring 2010

Fall 2008 - Spring 2009

Fall 2007 - Spring 2008


Fall 2006 - Spring 2007

Fall 2005 - Spring 2006

Fall 2004 - Spring 2005

Fall 2003 - Spring 2004

Fall 2002 - Spring 2003

Fall 2001 - Spring 2002


Asian American / Asian Research Institute 2016

25 West 43rd Street, Room 1000, New York, NY 10036   
Phone: 212-869-0182 / 0187   
Fax: 212-869-0181 | E-mail: