Before our country went into lockdown, Chinatowns were suffering losses up to 70% of their sales due to anti-Asian bigotry. San Francisco’s Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia as well as the oldest Chinatown in North America. Once boasting over 930 storefronts a mere 150 are operating today. Chinatowns aren’t just restaurants and tourist attractions, they are cultural and financial hubs for generational communities. With Lunar New Year approaching on February 12th, a time of year that provides most of the revenue for these businesses, the streets will remain largely quiet with parades cancelled. These are photos taken of San Francisco’s Chinatown in January 2019.
I color you pink, like our cheeks after we’ve been running, jumping, laughing
I color you blue, like the sunny skies that seem to surround us whenever we’re together, what I see in your eyes
I color you green, like the grass in Central Park, in our backyards, in the parks we’ve played
I color you orange, orange you glad I didn’t say banana?
I color you turquoise and purple and silver and glitter, like the unicorns and princess dresses and slime we’ve loved over the years
I color you with my big, broad brush of friendship
Layer upon layer, year after year our mural is a reckless, silly, beautiful mess
You and I the only ones knowing the brick that lies beneath