Oakland Chinatown Summer Festival celebrates community strength against COVID, anti-Asian hate

  • The Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council (OCIC) is organizing the Oakland Chinatown Summer Festival, a street fest meant to celebrate the community’s resilience against COVID-19 and anti-Asian hate.
  • The event will take place on 9th Street (from Franklin to Alice Streets) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 30.
  • The street festival will also celebrate the upcoming Chinese Valentine’s Day, regarded as the most romantic of all traditional Chinese holidays.
  • Stage performances, free COVID-19 testing and vaccination, more than 20 food vendors, over 50 businesses, and a photo exhibit on anti-Asian hate will be featured during the event.

The Oakland Chinatown Summer Festival is taking place July 30!

Nearly three years since COVID-19 arrived and negatively impacted residents and businesses in the Chinatown neighborhood of Oakland, California, community members are coming together for a historic street festival to celebrate their resilience against anti-Asian hate and the ongoing pandemic.

The Oakland Chinatown Summer Festival is organized by the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council (OCIC), a nonprofit dedicated to helping local businesses, residents and the community become safer, cleaner, more vibrant and welcoming.

Official announcement posters for the Oakland Chinatown Summer Festival in English (left) and Chinese (right). Image via Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council

The festival will take place on 9th Street (from Franklin to Alice Streets) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 30. Aside from highlighting the community’s renewed vigor, it will serve as an advanced celebration of Chinese Valentine’s Day, or the Qixi Festival, which falls on Aug. 4 this year. The Qixi Festival, also known as the Double Seventh Festival, is considered to be the most romantic of all traditional Chinese holidays. 

 

At least 10,000 people are expected to attend the event which will feature more than 20 food vendors and over 50 businesses that represent Chinatown. Local artists will also hold stage performances throughout the event.

The festival will include free COVID-19 testing and vaccination, according to the event organizer.  There will also be a photo exhibit depicting solidarity against anti-Asian hate.

Oakland’s Chinatown has seen numerous anti-Asian incidents throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations such as the Mental Health Association for Chinese Communities (MHACC), Korean Community Center of the East Bay (KCCEB) and Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) – which are also co-sponsoring the event, among other groups – are currently at the forefront of combating hate and violence in the community.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused chaos nationwide, but the Asian American community here and around the nation bore the brunt of this pandemic the hardest,” the OCIC said in a statement. “This pandemic and subsequent anti-Asian sentiments that followed have caused tremendous harm, not only to our residents, but our businesses and livelihood were also significantly impacted.”

Left to right: OCIC Treasurer Carol Liao, OCIC President Dr. Stewart Chen, OCIC Vice President Dr. Hal Gin, OCIC Director and 2022 Summer Festival Chief Commander Elaine Peng and OCIC Director Major Esther Lin Hsu. Image via Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council

The OCIC describes the event as a safe space for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans to “gather and freely express themselves without worries of physical harm or attacks.” The organization said it has made it a goal to collaborate with community members to ensure that Chinatown “maintains strong cultural and economic cohesion in these challenging times.”

“APIs from all over the Bay Area also come to Chinatown to dine, shop, bank and visit. This inadvertently helped us form our own small economic community to help us not only thrive, but provide support to those who need it,” the OCIC added.

Featured Image via Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council

This post was created in partnership with OCIC.

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