CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities

“Chinatown is Not for Sale”

CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities is a pan-Asian community-based organization that works to build power across low-income Asian immigrants to win institutional change for racial, gender & economic justice. Dedicated to creating a space for intergenerational organizing, CAAAV’s youth leaders develop leadership skills and political analysis by organizing campaigns with Chinatown Tenants. CAAAV supports tenants to participate on community boards so they can directly affect the changes occurring in Chinatown – such as the loss of public housing and increased efforts for gentrification and displacement of Chinatown residents.

Recently, CAAAV published “No Access”, the first ever report on language access in public housing leading to New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) adding Mandarin and Cantonese to their NYCHA Call Center. CAAAV is currently pushing for to add other Asian languages including Bengali and Korean.

Guiding Vision

CAAAV was founded in 1986 to build grassroots power across low-income pan-Asian immigrant communities to win institutional change for racial, gender, and economic justice. In order to win solutions that improve the lives of those most marginalized by the system and promote mutual growth amongst all of their communities, they work in alliances to tackle structural racism, patriarchy and economic inequality. Through organizing, their mission is reached through fighting for community preservation and affordable homes. CAAAV build the leadership and power of working-class Asian and South Asian immigrants and youth to impact decisions that affect their lives, holding a larger systemic analysis.


Fighting to preserve Manhattan’s Chinatown as a home for working-class Chinese immigrants and other communities of color:

  • CAAAV has advanced a rezoning plan for Chinatown and the Lower East Side and received commitments from Community Board 3 and elected officials to protect the waterfront, blocking luxury developers who are vying to build mega towers, which could displace long-time residents.
  • Additionally, CAAAV has continued holding landlords accountable and in 2014, CAAAV’s work resulted in Marolda Properties, one of the largest equity landlords in Chinatown in an investigation from the NY State Attorney General, stopping the landlord from displacing long-time residents.

Organizing Asian immigrants in New York City public housing and pioneering new models for multilingual organizing:

  • Over the past few years, CAAAV identified and rapidly mobilized around the need to organize the growing numbers of Asian and South Asian tenants in New York City public housing, launching a Public Housing Organizing Project, publishing a report on language access in New York City public housing and introducing first-of-its-kind legislation in the New York City Council to mandate that NYCHA provide language access. This work has been grounded in powerful multilingual organizing with Chinese, Bangla, and Korean-speaking tenants.  

Protecting rent-stabilized tenants in New York City:

  • In 2015 and 2016, CAAAV helped win unprecedented citywide rent freezes for 1 million, rent-stabilized tenants for two consecutive years. In 2015, CAAAV also helped pass a citywide law regulating tenant relocators who preyed on immigrant rent-stabilized tenants, pressuring them to take buyouts.