Chinese Progressive Association

Chinese Progressive Association

Chinese Progressive Association members protesting in Boston Chinatown.

What is CPA?

Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) is a grassroots, non-governmental community organization which works for equality and empowerment of the Chinese community in the Greater Boston area and beyond, with other locations in San Francisco and New York.

What do they do?

CPA does not have one singular issue of focus but rather expands on many topics of social justice, as they believe that people within the community have many concerns to address, from education, to a safe living environment, to expanding Chinese American participation in U.S. society at large.

Who is in CPA?

The members consists of:

  • Chinese-speaking labor workers
  • low-income families
  • the elderly
  • immigrants who work low-paying jobs and are limited by their language barrier

When and where?

CPA Boston was founded in 1977 out of a series of community organizing campaigns around issues of school segregation and land development in Chinatown. Boston Chinatown is both a residential working class neighborhood and also the social, cultural, political, and economic center of the broader Chinese community of New England, making the location prime for a social justice group. CPA seeks to improve the living and working conditions of Chinese Americans, whether it is through community services such as assistance with tax forms to recreational activities of celebrating film and theatrical performances from China.

What kind of work do they do?

  • CPA has an Adult Education Program, which provides US Citizenship classes, english classes, and other support services for adult learners.
  • CPA’s Workers Center combines workers’ rights education and leader development to promote awareness of workers’ rights and fuller participation in union activity to strengthen the labor movement.
  • CPA also is responsible for the Chinatown Stabilization Campaign, which focuses on stabilizing the working class as the neighborhood grows and diversifies. The campaign hopes to maintain affordability in rent for tenants of lower income.
  • CPA’s youth initiative hopes to develop youth leadership in the Chinese American community by cultivating awareness of issues facing Chinese Americans.
  • Although CPA has increased its voter turnout and political clout within the Boston Chinese community through voter education and registration, CPA extends beyond the Chinese American community by coalition-building in order to have a larger impact on policies and decisions, to prioritize the needs of all working class communities of color.

What is their greater mission?

The overarching goal of CPA is to host a wide range of activities for Chinese immigrants to feel as equal members of American society while still maintaining their Chinese identity and heritage. This, to me, is how the group represents an Asian American social group, because it strives to bridge the gap between being an “immigrant” and being a Chinese American, without abandoning Chinese culture while still assimilating to living and working in the United States, and most importantly, empowering the community to learn about their rights and express their voice.

Sites to look at: