Emily is a first-year student at Barnard College who recently moved to New York City/Lenape land from Vancouver, Canada/unceded Coast Salish territories where they reconnected with its Chinatown through intergenerational community building and grassroots political organizing. Emily is very excited to continue this work in Manhattan's Chinatown with the W.O.W. Project by connecting with the vibrant intergenerational community here and continuing the political conversation about changing Chinatowns. They are very grateful to be a part of the W.O.W team as they are constantly inspired by and learning from their teammates' dedication to justice and community through arts, culture, and activism.
Wenjing Lin is a first-generation Chinese immigrant deeply rooted in Chinatown and the Lower East Side. Provoked by the corrosive spread of gentrification in the low-income communities, she seeks to devote her own effort in community organizing in hopes of preserving the community and its cultural essence. She is particularly interested in joining W.O.W's effort in encouraging community dialogue and preserving the culture through arts and activism.
Whitney has always defined herself by her two worlds - Asia and America. To explore and better understand her intersectional identity, she’s spent her high school years interacting with her Chinese-American community, whether that be through serving on the Neighborhood Advisory Board, or through visits to special exhibits at the Museum of Chinese in America! Though she has always been tied to Chinatown, her interest in Chinatown was piqued by a term paper she wrote, which explored the sensationalization of early Chinatowns by the white media. The W.O.W. Project provides a space for her to explore the story of Chinatown further.
Kevin Louie is a sophomore at Bard High School Early College in Queens. He is very proud to be on the W.O.W team because of his desire and aspiration to play a role in community. Kevin wants to spread happiness and socialize with the people in order to benefit the environment. He felt he needed to go out of his comfort zone and into a new community where he can express himself in a way he did not before. Luckily for Kevin, he ended up with the W.O.W team. With all the amazing people on the W.O.W team, He is able to be himself and continue growing as a person through this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Jenni is a proud Chinatown local! She loves being a part of the W.O.W. Project and can't wait to engage with people of all ages, languages, and histories about the future of Chinatown. She is inspired by the Chinatown residents who came before her, without whose strength and resiliency Chinatown would not be the vibrant cultural enclave it is today. She loves acting and filmmaking, and will always keep fighting for the day that Asians, as well as other minorities, are accurately represented in the media.
Michelle Lee is from Two Bridges, which is right outside of Chinatown. She is currently a sophomore majoring in Film & TV Production at NYU Tisch planning to double major in economics or Asian American studies. Since she's a first generation kid, her connection with Chinatown and its residents feels like a huge part of her identity. She is thrilled to be a part of a project that stands so strongly for growth and community.
Pearl is currently a junior at Hunter College High School and although she lives in Queens, she is passionate about her second home in Chinatown. In the last year, she has been trying to find new ways in which to be more actively involved within the community. This included interning at the TRC, which was an eye opening experience into topics she is now interested in learning about, such as the spread and effects of gentrification. She was drawn to the W.O.W Project for various reasons, but in particular, the idea of being a part of intergenerational conversations about the changes occurring within Chinatown was so exciting. Through being a part of the W.O.W project, she hopes to not only give back to the community she grew up in a more tangible way, but to also be able to get her peers to become interested in talking about the intricate, complex, and beautiful environment of Chinatown.
A lifelong lover of cute school supplies doting Sanrio characters and the icon that is Sailor Moon, Donna Karimi was born and bred in the Woodside, Queens. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and a former intern of the W.O.W Project, she recently taught English to high school students in Lishui, China. Since then, she has reconnected with W.O.W because she still believes in it’s mission and statement, hoping to preserve the history and culture of Chinatown on an intimate level while having important discussions about the shifting landscape of the neighborhood. She hopes to continue to contribute in any way she can to make this possible.
Jamie is a third/second generation Korean-American from Yorkville but has spent a lot of her childhood exploring the streets of Chinatown. She is a recent graduate of the Brearley School and will be attending Brandeis University in the fall, where she plans on pursuing subjects like Chinese and sociology as well as activities like the varsity fencing team and social justice oriented organizations. She decided to join the W.O.W Project to learn more about the history of ethnic enclaves and their relationships to gentrification in New York City. One thing she has particularly enjoyed about working at W.O.W is seeing and learning about how grassroots organizing is maintained and developed!