Oakland Chinatown Summer Festival to celebrate community resilience against COVID-19, anti-Asian hate

July 28th, 2022

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  • The Oakland China 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.
  • Co-hosted by OMG Entertainment, 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 fest 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 merchandise vendors and a photo exhibit on anti-Asian hate will be featured during the event.

Nearly three years since COVID-19 arrived and took a toll on 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 event, officially known as the Oakland Chinatown Summer Festival, is organized by the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council (OCIC), a nonprofit dedicated to helping local businesses, residents and the greater community become safer, cleaner, more vibrant and more welcoming.

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

Co-hosted by OMG Entertainment, 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 merchandise vendors 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 OMG Entertainment. There will also be an exhibit of photos that depict 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 community has especially felt the consequences,” the OCIC said in a statement. “The COVID virus not only attacked individuals, but also harmed our businesses and livelihood.”

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

As the neighborhood recovers, the OCIC describes it as a safe space for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans to “gather and freely express themselves without worries of physical harm or criticism.” 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

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