Transforming Student Elites Into Community Activists: A Legacy of Asian American Activism
[In 1977,] tenants organized a press conference and protest against the Chinese Six Companies. The whole front steps of their headquarters on Stockton Street in San Francisco were taken over by tenants from one of their buildings. Tenants read their statements condemning the Six Companies for being bad landlords, demanded changes, and announced lawsuits and rent strikes.
You could never imagine things like that happening during the '50s. And it was happening at the grassroots, with elderly and people from the International Hotel movement involved in their own hotel organizations, with young people from the Asian Community Center [student-initiated organizations that developed community based programs] taking part. Those kinds of activities were a very significant change, even a radical change, not relying on the old traditional Chinatown leadership but creating new forms of organization.