By Francis Chang, former Community Leader with Power in Asians Organizing (PAO)
It was my great personal pleasure and experiences working with APEN.
It all started from an eviction case on the rental units of Pacific Renaissance Plaza. My aging parents lived there since 1993.
Most of the tenants were either old or in poor health like my mom. They had no place to go if they were evicted! Local community groups and APEN came to our rescue.
It was long, hard campaign going from 2003 to 2007; we had difficult time inside and outside of the court. We faced challenges from the owner; many tenants passed away during the long campaign including my mom. We had no funds to sustain this campaign, but APEN was there to help.
APEN provided space for us to meet every week. They appealed to [their] member[s] to call for support from local residents and planned out strategy with Bay Area media for public support. If I am not mistaken that APEN’s hand was already full with other ongoing projects when eviction case happened. But you guys still took us on with full support.
Many of you worked in the evening for years to prepare us for this campaign. We were in the street protesting. We were at city hall meeting to appeal. It was you (APEN) [that] kept us going and moving forward! I did not know any of you before the eviction.
Amber was the first APEN member I met. Now you know the rest of the story! We won the case in the end–not only my family was saved from eviction and it was the victory of the community and APEN played a major role in this!
Although I now moved away from Oakland and my parents are no longer with us, I think of APEN when I come back to Oakland Chinatown. I think of you APEN when my family talks about the final years of my parents!!!
Through APEN, I got to know more of your grassroots work and through the campaign, I realized that there is more work to be done for underprivileged people and new immigrants here in the states.
Congratulations to you for your amazing work in the past and APEN made a difference!!!