Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council

Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council

In the years leading up to the pandemic, an initiative was launched in Oakland Chinatown, where community ambassadors diligently cleaned and pressure-washed a small section of the commercial area in 2019. This early effort laid the groundwork for the establishment of the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council (OCIC). As the COVID-19

Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council

In the years leading up to the pandemic, an initiative was launched in Oakland Chinatown, where community ambassadors diligently cleaned and pressure-washed a small section of the commercial area in 2019. This early effort laid the groundwork for the establishment of the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council (OCIC). As the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, our community faced unprecedented challenges, but we stood united and grew stronger. We expanded to become a community district encompassing 52 blocks of Oakland Chinatown, thanks to the support of 858 property owners. As a Community Benefits District, OCIC is committed to revitalizing our community and creating a safe, clean, and welcoming environment. Our mission is to enhance Oakland Chinatown by supporting its businesses, residents, unhoused individuals, volunteers, and the greater community. We envision an inclusive neighborhood where small businesses thrive, residents flourish, and our rich cultural heritage is preserved and celebrated. Our goal is to foster pride, a sense of belonging, and economic vitality. We prioritize vendors and services that align with our core values: Community Empowerment, Equity and Inclusion, Safety and Security, Cultural Preservation, Collaboration and Engagement, Resilience and Adaptability, and Service Excellence. We also celebrate with our Oakland Chinatown! Lunar New Year was designated a state holiday in California through Gov. Gavin Newsom's signing of Assembly Bill 2596 in September 2022, granting state employees eight hours off to celebrate. Our recent revival of the Lunar New Year Parade after decades symbolizes a significant milestone in our journey to nurture AAPI to be seen and heard.

About the Organization:

In the years leading up to the pandemic, an initiative was launched in Oakland Chinatown, where community ambassadors diligently cleaned and pressure-washed a small section of the commercial area in 2019. This early effort laid the groundwork for the establishment of the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council (OCIC). As the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, our community faced unprecedented challenges, but we stood united and grew stronger. We expanded to become a community district encompassing 52 blocks of Oakland Chinatown, thanks to the support of 858 property owners. As a Community Benefits District, OCIC is committed to revitalizing our community and creating a safe, clean, and welcoming environment. Our mission is to enhance Oakland Chinatown by supporting its businesses, residents, unhoused individuals, volunteers, and the greater community. We envision an inclusive neighborhood where small businesses thrive, residents flourish, and our rich cultural heritage is preserved and celebrated. Our goal is to foster pride, a sense of belonging, and economic vitality. We prioritize vendors and services that align with our core values: Community Empowerment, Equity and Inclusion, Safety and Security, Cultural Preservation, Collaboration and Engagement, Resilience and Adaptability, and Service Excellence. We also celebrate with our Oakland Chinatown! Lunar New Year was designated a state holiday in California through Gov. Gavin Newsom's signing of Assembly Bill 2596 in September 2022, granting state employees eight hours off to celebrate. Our recent revival of the Lunar New Year Parade after decades symbolizes a significant milestone in our journey to nurture AAPI to be seen and heard.

organizational budget

$1 MILLION - $2 MILLION

existence for

0-5 Years

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

North Carolina

organizational budget

$1 MILLION - $2 MILLION

existence for

0-5 Years

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

North Carolina

The Issue:

As a community benefit district (CBD), OCIC provides daily and weekly "Clean and Safe" programs across 52 blocks in Oakland Chinatown. Through our dedicated staff, vendor ambassadors, and security personnel, we witness firsthand the racial disparities that exist within our Asian community.
These disparities are not new and have been highlighted in the City of Oakland's Equity Indicators Report (2018). Asians face language barriers, health disparities, poverty, and limited access to services, which particularly impact the Oakland Chinatown community. These challenges hinder our Asian community to access workforce development programs, impede business survival, and restrict economic growth. Consequently, long-term business vacancies and a lack of innovation and entrepreneurship persist, essential elements for a thriving community.
Since the onset of the pandemic, public safety concerns, exacerbated by the recent surge in anti-Asian hate crimes, further impede business success and community growth. While our "Clean and Safe" programs aim to address basic quality of life, it is clear that more comprehensive cultural and economic development initiatives are required within our Asian communities to foster vibrancy and resilience.

The Solution:

In our ongoing efforts to uplift and empower Oakland Chinatown, we aim to strike a balance between key initiatives that drive community growth and vibrancy. We recognize the importance of the Lunar New Year Parade, the Internship Program, mural planning, and partnership to create a holistic approach to our mission. 1. The Lunar New Year Parade stands as a symbol of cultural pride and celebration in Oakland Chinatown. By continuing to revive and expand this cherished tradition, we honor our heritage while fostering community unity and engagement. Through vibrant floats, performances, and cultural displays, the parade showcases the richness and diversity of our community. 2. The Internship Program (i.e., "Leadership Accelerator" pilot) serves as a crucial stepping stone for our youth, providing them with invaluable skills and opportunities. Led by the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council (OCIC), this program offers high school students a chance to develop leadership, entrepreneurship, and public safety knowledge. By collaborating with local agencies and AAPI businesses, we create a platform for cross-cultural exchange and workforce development, nurturing the next generation of community leaders. 3. Mural planning is deeply meaningful to us as it allows us to express our stories, traditions, and history through art, building upon our successful graffiti abatement efforts. By engaging local artists and involving the community, we aim to enhance the beauty of Oakland Chinatown while capturing its true essence. These murals serve as a source of inspiration, pride, and cultural preservation for both residents and visitors. 4. Partnerships: Furthermore, we understand the value of partnership to maximize our collective impact. Through partnerships with local organizations and initiatives, we create a supportive network that amplifies our endeavors, fostering a sense of belonging, driving economic growth, and celebrating the diverse talents and contributions of our community members. By finding a harmonious balance between the Lunar New Year Parade, the Internship Program, mural planning, and community partnership, we create a comprehensive approach to community development. This holistic strategy ensures that we honor our heritage, invest in our youth, beautify our surroundings, and collaborate with like-minded organizations to build a thriving and inclusive Oakland Chinatown.

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