Chinese Progressive Association (Boston)

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Template:TOCnestleft The Chinese Progressive Association (Boston) is a grassroots community organization which works for full equality and empowerment of the Chinese community in the Greater Boston area and beyond. Our activities seek to improve the living and working conditions of Chinese Americans and to involve ordinary community members in making decisions that affect our lives.[1]


CPA was founded in 1977 out of a series of community organizing campaigns around issues such as Chinese parents’ input into the Boston school desegregation process and organizing for community control over land development in Chinatown. Our membership is made up predominantly of Chinese immigrants and the Chinese-speaking; most are workers in low wage industries, working families, or low-income elderly. CPA has no single issue focus because we believe that people have many concerns–jobs, education, freedom from discrimination, a clean and safe living environment. We have seen that once people achieve their rights in one aspect of their lives, they will be more likely to actively participate in solving other community problems.[2]

China connections

Passport cooperation

The Chinese Progressive Association (Boston)'s Chinatown office was filled to the brim April 2017 with Chinese looking to renew their passports in a community event hosted by the Consulate General of China in New York.

The community event allowed Chinese passport holders to renew their passports at the Chinese community organization, saving them a trip to New York. Usually those living in the northeast need to make a trip to the Chinese consulate general office in New York, which services 10 states in the region.[3]

China Day held in Massachusetts State House

China Day, co-sponsored by Chinese Consulate General in New York and the Asian-American Caucus of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, was held in the Great Hall of Massachusetts State House.on 6th Oct.,2016.

It was the first time for the consulate to hold a China Day event with the State legislature. Over 300 guests attended the event, including Patricia Haddad, Speaker Pro Tempore of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Majority party leader, Taki Chen and all members of the Asian-American Caucus and Michelle Wu, the President of the Boston City Council.

Speaking at the reception, Zhang Qiyue, the Chinese Consul General in New York, briefly introduced the remarkable progress of the past 67 years, the 13th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development and the shift to the structural reform, the innovation and consumption driven economy in China. Zhang expressed confidence that China will maintain a sound momentum.

Patricia Haddad said that efforts should be made to promote the relationship between Massachusetts and China. "From biotech ,science and technology, health care to energy ... all of these things are important for the betterment of both of our worlds."

During the reception, The Asian-American Caucus of Massachusetts State House, The Chinese Progressive Association (Boston), Confucius Institute at UMass Boston, Chung Wah Academy of New England, Cambridge Center for Chinese Culture, Confucius Institute at UMass Boston,

The Asian-American Caucus of Massachusetts State House was established in 2011 to help Asian-American communities better integrate into the political system and life. Currently the caucus has five legislators - Chan of Quincy, Rady Mom of Lowell, Keiko Orrall of Lakeville, Paul Schmid III of Westport, and Donald Wong of Saugus.[4]

New Year celebration


Chinese Progressive Association (Boston), December 28, 2015.

Celebrating the New Year with the Chinese Consulate! Suzanne Lee, and Mark Liu attended.

Year of the Sheep New Year Celebration

The Chinese Progressive Association (Boston) held its Year of the Sheep New Year Celebration on March 20 2015 at the China Pearl in Chinatown.

The Unsung Hero award was presented to De Sheng Liang. Liang is a retired restaurant worker who first came to CPA for help in 2006, when he was fired from his job for no reason. Today he is one of CPA’s most active volunteers, participating in protests, attending community meetings and cooking for events.

The Social Justice Award was presented to former Boston elections commissioner Geraldine Cuddyer for her involvement with bilingual ballots in Chinese and Vietnamese. Cuddyer retired this year.

Wah Lum Kung Fu and Tai Chi Academy performed the lion dance and the Cambridge Center for Chinese Culture Drumming Group performed. Representatives from the Chinese consulate and local government also spoke.[5]

Lui Cheng 2007 American tour

The American Center for International Labor Solidarity and the National Labor College recently hosted Professor Liu Cheng for Shanghai Normal University to discuss the evolution of the new draft contract labor law in China. Cheng’s visit to the NLC on March 27th was the culmination of a multi-state tour meeting with union leaders and members of Congress.

For the report by Global Labor Strategies analyzing the impact of transnational corporations on the first draft of the Contract Law go to: UNDUE INFLUENCE: Corporation Gain Ground in Battle Over Chinas New Labor Law

Liu Cheng's tour included nearly 45 events over 17 days, in the Bay Area, Boston, Amherst, New York and Washington DC. A partial list of the many sponsoring organizations, and their key contact, includes:

Chinese Progressive Association (Boston) - Lydia Lowe.

48th anniversary of PRC

Lydia Lowe at the podium

October 1 1997 Chinese Progressive Association (Boston) Executive Director, Lydia Lowe, gave a speech at an official Massachusetts celebration commemorating the 48th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.[6]

CPA celebrates 40 years of community advocacy

Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley spoke before presenting the Chinese Progressive Association’s Community Building Award to the Friends of the Chinatown Library on May 19 2017 at Hei La Moon.

Ayanna Pressley
Suzanne Lee, Martin Walsh

The Chinese Progressive Association, a grassroots organization that rose up in the late ’70s to become a stalwart advocate for the Chinatown community, celebrated four decades of accomplishments at a food-filled gala attended by hundreds, including Boston Mayor Martin Walsh. The “Many People, One Heart” gala also included an award ceremony honoring community leaders as well as traditional dance performances by local troupes.

Founded in an abandoned factory-turned-office in 1977, the CPA has evolved into a wide-reaching effort spanning immigrant support services and tenant’s rights advocacy to voter education initiatives that have helped dramatically increase turnout rates. The organization’s 40th anniversary also marks the departure of executive director Lydia Lowe in June, who led the CPA for 30 years in various roles. Karen Chen will step in as the new executive director.

“Thank you for your vision; thank you for your vigilance. It is especially heartening, given this current climate of xenophobia, that we are all here this evening,” remarked Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who later presented the CPA’s Community Building Award to the Friends of the Chinatown Library. She said, “We begin [city council meetings] with saying the pledge of allegiance, and we end with the line ‘and justice for all.’ And every time, I amend it and say ‘some day.’ The work of this organization is getting us closer to that ‘some day.’”

Professor Jean Yu-Wen Shen Wu, who teaches Asian American Studies at Tufts University, was honored with the Ally for Justice award for her work on racial equity issues. “May you stay vibrant and nurture all of the next generation,” she said to an energized crowd before stepping away from the podium.

The CPA also honored Attorney General Maura Healey and dining hall workers of Harvard University.[7]

Year of the Dog Banquet


The Chinese Progressive Association (Boston)’s Year of the Dog Banquet took place March 23 2018, at Empire Garden. (From left) Boston city councilor at-large Michelle Wu, CPA executive director Karen Chen, development/operations director Mark Liu.

The gala looked back on CPA’s achievements in the past year, from advocating higher taxation on short-term rentals to bringing back the Chinatown library after its destruction in 1956.

CPA also honored community leaders for their dedication and hard work on promoting civic engagement and advocating equality in workplaces.

The Northeastern University dining hall workers, who organized strikes to win a contract with improved health benefits and salary in 2017, were given the Social Justice Award

“We are very proud of what we got,” said Angela Bello, a Northeastern University dining hall worker. “Before we got organized for the union, our workplace was a mess. My Chinese coworkers stood up with me and we got very good representation from Local 26. Finally we got all the benefits and dignity at our workplace.”

The University of Massachusetts-Boston Institute for Asian American Studies received the Social Justice Award for its advocacy for Massachusetts to collect disaggregated data for the five largest Asian American ethnic groups.

UMass Boston’s Institute for Asian American Studies was honored with the Social Justice Award. Paul Watanabe, institute director, spoke at the banquet.

“The true measure of an honor is not the stature of the person or the organization being honored, but the stature of the one giving the honor,” said Institute director Paul Watanabe. “It has been a privilege for us to work with the CPA for 25 years.”

CPA presented the Unsung Hero Award to the Castle Square Tenants Organization, which brought together a diverse group of residents to build a vibrant organization that provides opportunities and uplifts a shared vision of resident ownership.

In the past year, CPA has worked on policies that protect tenants and affordable housing. Its team made sure workers were not victims of wage theft.

“I think one of the biggest victories for the community is that after 19 years of struggle, we brought a permanent library to Chinatown. Looking forward, we will continue to advocate for stabilization for Chinatown’s future,” said executive director Karen Chen.[8]

Supporting Suzanne Lee

Chinese Progressive Political Action, November 2, 2013:


Community members and South Cove East Residents standing with Suzanne Lee for District 2 City Councilor! — with Celine Chin, Michael Liu, Anna Lei, Colin Chan, Karen Chen, Mark Liu, Lydia Lowe, Jenny Lau, Kimberly Situ and Chuanling Chen.


As of 2016;[9]

CPA Steering Committee


CPA 40th Anniversary Gala dinner


Chinese Progressive Association Friday, May 19, 2017 6:00 – 9:00 pm, at Hei La Moon Restaurant. 88 Beach Street in Boston Chinatown


Sustainability Board

International Women's Day Celebration


Chinese Progressive Association (Boston) International Women's Day Celebration March 8, 2017 - 5:30pm

SEIU 32BJ Local 615 26 West Street Boston, MA 02111.

Celebrate International Women’s Day and the Chinese Progressive Association Workers Center’s 30 years of organizing

Join us as we honor these dynamic women leaders:[11]

Honorary Committee

Host Committee

CPA Capital Campaign Committee

The Chinese Progressive Association (Boston) Capital Campaign Committee, was the group's fundraising arm.


In 2005 CPA Capital Campaign Committee members were;[12]

Campaign Staff

CPA 25th Anniversary Gala dinner


WY Gallery Committee

Chinese Progressive Association (Boston) WY Gallery Committee, 2006: Thomas Chen, Jane Jung, Peter Kiang, Lisette Le, Giles Li, Helen Liu Lewis, Pong Louie, Lydia Lowe, Sam Lowe, Wen-ti Tsen, Valerie Wong. [13]