Margaret Chin

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Margaret Chin


Margaret Chin is a New York City Council member.

Margaret Chin was elected to the New York City Council in 2010, as the representative for District 1, lower Manhattan. She is Chair of the Committee on Lower Manhattan Redevelopment and is a member of the Committees on Education, Small Business, Civil Rights, Women's Issues, Aging, and Public Housing. Margaret is a proud member of the Progressive Caucus, and the Women's Caucus. Margaret has twice been elected by her colleagues to serve as an executive member of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus.

Background

Margaret Chin immigrated to the U.S. with her family from Hong Kong in 1963 when she was nine years old. She grew up in NYC Chinatown and attended P.S. 130 and JHS 65. She graduated from the Bronx High School of Science and from the City College of New York (CCNY) with a degree in education. It was at City College through taking Asian Studies courses that Margaret Chin got involved in "community organizing".

Margaret Chin is married to Alan Tung, a public school teacher at P.S. 3 in Greenwich Village. Their son, Kevin, attended public schools and graduated from the Bronx High School of Science and Syracuse University.[1]

Career

Margaret Chin worked for 14 years at LaGuardia Community College's Division of Adult and Continuing Education helping immigrant adults get a college education.

For the past 11 years Margaret worked at Asian Americans for Equality, an organization that she helped to form when she was in college. As the deputy executive director, Margaret led the organization's work in advocacy, community organizing and coalition building. She fought for the preservation and building of affordable housing; better access to government services; equal opportunity and fair treatment, for immigrants, low income and working families. Chin left her position at AAFE at the end of August 2008 to focus on her City Council Campaign.[2]

Service

In her many years of public service she served on boards of many not-for-profit organizations. Chin was formerly the Chairperson of the NY Immigration Coalition . She was a board member of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development and chaired the Advocacy Committee. Margaret Chin was a founding member of Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation and served as the vice-chair of the board. Additionally, she served as chair of the Census Bureau's Race and Ethnicity Advisory Committee on the Asian and Pacific Islander Population for Census 2000.

Margaret Chin was a member of Community Board 3 and Community Board 1. In 2003 Chin was a Fannie Mae Foundation Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.[3]

Politics

As an advocate for civic participation and voter education, Margaret Chin was elected to the Democratic State Committee for two terms from 1986 to 1990. She ran for City Council in 1991, 1993 and 2001. She fought hard to get bilingual ballots for the Asian community.[4]

In 1986 Christopher Kui was campaign coordinator for Margaret Chin's successful race for Democratic Party Committeewoman, in the 61st District of Lower Manhattan.[5]

Communist Workers Party

In 1979, the Communist Workers Party briefly burst into the national limelight when it decided to seek a direct confrontation with Ku Klux Klan in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The shoot-out that resulted on November 3, 1979, was a lopsided one, and five Communist Workers Party members were killed. Two party members held a press conference in New York to denounce the killings, and got their picture in the New York Times. One of them was Margaret Chin.[6]

Asian Americans for Equality

During the 1980s, the Communist Workers Party was acquiring a local power base in Chinatown,New York, in the form of a community group calling itself Asian Americans for Equality. The latter did not avow its connection with the CWP, but for years the two groups shared an office and phone number, and CWP veterans had a way of turning up as Asian-Americans for Equality leaders, notably in the form of its president from 1982 to 1986: Margaret Chin.[7]

Ms. Chin’s rise in the world tracked Asian Americans for Equality’s. In 1986, backed by the Village Independent Democrats, she won election to the Democratic state committee from the 61st Assembly District. Since her reelection in 1988, she has graced official women’s committees for David Dinkins, Mario Cuomo, and Robert Abrams, and Asian-American committees for Carol Bellamy and Deborah Glick.[8]

Working with John Choe

John Choe, chief of staff for Councilman John Liu, Margaret Chin, deputy director of AAFE, Assemblywoman Ellen Young, and Christopher Kui, executive director of AAFE

Read more: Queens Ledger - Off the Market for Luxury Housing

Asian Americans for Equality announced August 2008, that the group had purchased a total of 62 units in two buildings, one located on Parsons Boulevard and the other on Sanford Avenue, both just blocks from the heart of Downtown Flushing.

“We are still committed to developing affordable housing, but preserving existing housing is critical as well,” said Christopher Kui, executive director of AAFE.

“We are still fighting for affordable housing in projects like Willets Point, but we are also preserving affordable housing,” added Margaret Chin, deputy director of AAFE. “Now, 60 families will be able to stay in the community.”

Assemblywoman Ellen Young allocated $125,000 to the purchase of the two buildings, funds AAFE said will be used to install energy-efficient windows, upgrade the boiler system, and make roof repairs.[9]

1991 Council run

In 1991, she hoped to win a seat in the expanded 51-seat City Council, whose smaller districts were in fact intended to allow for more representation of the city’s ethnic enclaves. Chin hopes to run in a lower Manhattan district encompassing all of Chinatown, with the politically active Hispanics of the Lower East Side assigned to another district. A victory would make her, as her campaign leaflets proclaimed, “the first Asian-American council member in New York City history.”[10]

Endorsed Weprin

August 11, 2011m City Comptroller John Liu threw his support behind David Weprin's bid for the Congressional seat previously held by Anthony Weiner.

Liu, a former Democratic Councilman from Flushing, as well as Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing), and Councilwoman Margaret Chin (D-Manhattan) all endorsed Weprin, a Democrat, that day.

"As chair of the Finance Committee on the City Council, David balanced eight budgets in eight years — on time without cutting critical services," Liu said in a prepared statement. "His experience in balancing budgets gives h im the know-how we need in Washington to protect vital programs like Medicare and Social Security while helping get our nation back on a path toward fiscal sustainability."

Weprin is running against Republican Bob Turner for the 9th Congressional District in the Sept. 13 special election.

Meng said she expects Weprin to help support the mom and pop shops that dot main streets in Flushing, and other areas of her district.[11]

Founding member New York City Council Progressive Caucus

Founding members of the New York City Council Progressive Caucus, March 2010.[12]

Asian Americans for Equality, 38th Anniversary

Aafe-banquet.jpg

Dignitaries such as U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Comptroller John Liu, State Senator Daniel Squadron and City Council member Margaret Chin came to Chinatown March 2012, to help Asian Americans for Equality celebrate its 38th anniversary. A fundraiser for more than one-thousand supporters was held at the Jing Fong restaurant on Elizabeth Street.

AAFE honored San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who was elected last November as that city’s first Asian-American mayor. Other honorees included: Luis Garden Acosta (El Puente), Eileen Fitgerald (NeighborWorks America), Errol Louis (NY1) and Chanchanit Martorell (Thai Community Development Center).[14]

Asian Americans for Equality, 37th Anniversary

Margaret Chin, Jean Quan, Nom Wah Tea Parlor

In March 2011, hundreds of supporters came to the Jing Fong Restaurant in Chinatown to help the prominent advocacy and housing organization, Asian Americans for Equality, celebrate its 37th anniversary. Dignitaries such as Rep. Anthony Weiner and State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver addressed hundreds of invited guests as they feasted on platters bursting with lobster, whole fish and roast chicken.

Silver presented a special award to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, who last year became the first Asian woman to be elected chief executive of a major American city.

During a fundraiser an hour earlier at the historic Nom Wah Tea Parlor, a few blocks away, Quan talked about her groundbreaking and somewhat unexpected victory, which has given many Asian American activists hope for the future. In spite of their large numbers in major urban areas, including New York, there are still relatively few Asians serving in high profile political positions in this country.

Just two years ago, Comptroller John Liu became the first Asian elected to citywide office in New York City. In the same election, Margaret Chin became the first Asian woman on the City Council and the first Chinese person to represent Chinatown.

It was in Manhattan’s Chinatown in the mid-1970′s that Quan cut her political teeth. She and Margaret Chin were on the front lines in labor protests at Confucius Plaza. Asian Americans for Equality was born out of these demonstrations. Chin went to to serve as one of the organization’s main leaders. Quan went home to California, where she became a political activist and later a City Councilwoman.

Quan said Asians cannot be satisfied with their recent gains at the ballot box. The East Coast, she noted, is significantly behind the West Coast when it comes to getting Asians elected to political office. The election of Chin represented the fulfillment of a long-term AAFE goal. But Christopher Kui, the organization’s executive director, said there’s a lot more work to be done.[15]

Death of Private Chen

Army Private Danny Chen, a 19-year old Lower East Side resident, was found dead at a military base in Afghanistan October 3rd, 2011. Chen had been shot in the head. Army officials have admitted he was the victim of bullying, but many other details remain shrouded in secrecy.

In December 2011, elected officials including U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, City Councilmember Margaret Chin, representatives of the Organization of Chinese Americansand other community advocates met with officials at the Pentagon.

During OCA-New York’s annual meeting in Chinatown Saturday, Velazquez said, “we are demanding assurances from the Army that they are conducting a swift, thorough investigation.”

If there’s wrongdoing, Velazquex added, those responsible should be brought to justice.” During the meeting, OCA-New York President Elizabeth OuYang said there’s great concern about the investigation, given the Army’s history of covering up information reagarding non-combat deaths. She announced that the well-known forensic expert, Dr. Henry Lee (who became famous during the OJ Simpson murder trial) has agreed to help evaluate the Army’s findings.

Also held was a march and vigil for Danny Chen. It startat the Army recruiting center at 143 Chambers Street and ends in Columbus Park in Chinatown. Many elected officials took part, including Velasquez and Chin, and New York City Comptroller John Liu and Assemblymember Grace Meng.[16]

References

  1. official NYCC bio, accessed Feb. 10, 2013
  2. official NYCC bio, accessed Feb. 10, 2013
  3. official NYCC bio, accessed Feb. 10, 2013
  4. official NYCC bio, accessed Feb. 10, 2013
  5. Asian Americans for Equality, Special Issue 1986, page 1
  6. City Magazine, Spring 1991, The Resistible Rise of Margaret Chin, Richard Brookhiser
  7. City Magazine, Spring 1991, The Resistible Rise of Margaret Chin, Richard Brookhiser
  8. City Magazine, Spring 1991, The Resistible Rise of Margaret Chin, Richard Brookhiser
  9. http://www.queensledger.com/pages/full_story/push?article-Off+the+Market+for+Luxury+Housing-%20&id=215492-Off+the+Market+for+Luxury+Housing-&instance=lead_story_left_column, Queens Ledger, Off the Market for Luxury Housing by Shane Miller, Sep 05, 2008]
  10. City Magazine, Spring 1991, The Resistible Rise of Margaret Chin, Richard Brookhiser
  11. Comptroller throws support behind Weprin, Anna Gustafson | Posted: Thursday, August 11, 2011
  12. Dozen Council Members Form a Bloc for Liberals By DAVID W. CHEN, March 23, 2010
  13. [1] NY Progressive Caucus demands: Tax the rich, Dan Margolis, Peoples World, June 23 2010, accessed June 23 2010
  14. The Lo-Down, AAFE Celebrates 38 Years, Honors San Francisco Mayor, By Ed Litvak in Politics on March 26, 2012 12:15 pm
  15. The Lo Down, Asian Politicians Celebrate Gains, Plan for the Future, By Ed Litvak in Community Organizations on March 25, 2011
  16. Rally For Private Danny Chen on Thursday, By Ed Litvak in Featured, Lower East Side News on December 12, 2011