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Community 社區

New Chinatown was conceived as a place where Chinese-Americans could live and flourish, support one another, and promote belonging, understanding, and a sense of identity connecting the old and the young. From the benevolent societies of the 19th century to contemporary mutual aid efforts, New Chinatown has provided a familial network for its residents and extended community within the vast sprawl of Los Angeles.

It wasn't until high school that I started to realize not all communities have this family-like feeling like in Chinatown...Almost everyone is a familiar face, you always see people on the streets helping one another.”

- Fanny Situ
Bilingual social services directory for the L.A. Chinese community (1960s)
The Huntington Library, Hong Family Papers.

Bilingual social services directory for the L.A. Chinese community (1960s)

Children singing in traditional dress (c. 1940)

There I am [front, third from left], I'm smiling! I usually don't smile...It could have been a fundraiser. Lily Mu and I would walk around, for 5 cents you could buy gardenias and then you would pin it on your date. We would go up to tourists and say, ‘Would you like to buy a gardenia?‘ or, ‘Would you like to hear us sing God Bless America?’ ”

- Pat SooHoo Lem

I feel like this photo is very much L.A. or American Chinese. Yes, you have the Chinese characters. Yes, you have dragon dancers and the architecture. But it's not Chinese music, it's American. I think this allowed people to be more open to what Chinatown is about.”

- Caitlin Bryant

Opening ceremony of New Chinatown (1938)

The Golden Pagoda building, later Hop Louie (1940s)

Golden Pagoda was the restaurant my father built in 1940. The first banquet there was when I was 7. It was a "moon yuet" (one month old party) for my brother, Beaumont. He was the first son after six daughters and we celebrated! I also remember going to the restaurant during World War II and seeing all these soldiers (GI's) queued around the block to have dinner with their dates. Chinatown, at that time, was super busy. It was really a fun place to be.”

- Doré Hall Wong

My mom was a stay at home mother of four, and she would always bring us to the Chinatown library after school and on the weekend. And I feel like it was much more than just a library to all the kids there. It kind of became this community where once you step inside, everyone knew each other.”

- Fanny Situ

Los Angeles Public Library bookmobile decorated for Chinese New Year parade (1974)