Frank Chin, a beloved community activist in Boston’s Chinatown, has died peacefully at the age of 91.
A trailblazer’s passing: Chin, affectionately known as “Uncle Frank” within the community, passed away in his Boston home on Monday evening, his family confirmed with NewsCenter 5. Upon his death, the political trailblazer left behind a legacy of leadership and tireless dedication to his community.
Lifelong advocate: A former City Hall official, Chin was hailed as the “anchor of civic life in Chinatown” by Mayor Michelle Wu, according to The Boston Globe. The mayor noted how his influence extended from city hall to national politics.
He was not just a mentor to Wu but a guiding force for many, including those who sought to bridge the gap between the Asian and Black communities in Boston.
“My heart aches for the entire Chin family and all who loved Uncle Frank,” Mayor Wu wrote in an X post on Wednesday. “As he reunites with Auntie Kay, his memory, impact, and legacy will be cherished forever in Boston and beyond. Rest in peace, Uncle Frank”
Champion of Chinatown: Referred to as the “unofficial mayor” of Chinatown, Chin worked with his brother Billy in helping develop businesses, affordable housing, social service organizations and agencies that aided new residents in their transition to becoming citizens and voters. He was able to bring much-needed improvements to Chinatown, including multi-day garbage pickup and safer streets.
Influential figure: In 1969, Chin was appointed by Mayor White to co-chair a grievance committee addressing neighborhood issues and initiating a door-to-door voter registration drive. What started with just 300 registered Chinese voters in the city grew to 3,600 in a few years, effectively enhancing Chinatown’s political clout and ensuring that the community’s concerns were heard.
Profound legacy: Born in Boston’s Chinatown in 1932, Frank Chin’s life was a testament to resilience and love for his community. He overcame personal challenges, including early loss and hardship, to become a father figure and role model for countless individuals.
In 2019, he and his wife, Kathleen, were honored when a section of the Rose Kennedy Greenway was renamed “Auntie Kay and Uncle Frank Chin Park.”
He is survived by his son, Mark. Funeral arrangements for this beloved community leader are currently being finalized.