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Want to learn more about the Asian community in Boston? How it connects to Asian Studies? These resources will teach you about the history, resilience, and creativity of Boston’s Asian-American Community

History

Asian activists in Boston have campaigned for immigrant rights, racial justice, against gentrification, and much more. Find out more about the history of Boston’s Asian community at the Northeastern Library Archive, or through the Chinese Historical Society of New England

  • Boston’s Asian American Community History Portal – hosted by Northeastern University Library Archive, this portal includes a collection of photographs, documents and other digitized items related to the Chinese Progressive Association and other community organizations (less of these are digitized)
  • Chinese Historical Society of New England – “Dedicated solely to documenting, preserving, and promoting the history and legacy of Chinese immigration in New England” CHSNE has an archive of documents, photographs, oral history, research reports and more.
  • Chinatown Atlas – An interactive digital humanities project documenting the history and growth of Boston’s Chinatown over time
Activists distribute Parcel C information (from Northeastern Library Archive)

Books and Arts

Explore these three books about Boston, and check out the beautiful murals in Chinatown and Little Saigon

  • Little Saigons: Staying Vietnamese in America by Karin Aguilar-San Juan (2009), Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press
  • Under a Boston Sky: Short Stories and Poetry from the Asian American Resource Workshop Writers Group (2017)
  • Forever Struggle: Activism, Identity, and Survival in Boston’s Chinatown, 1880-2018 by Michael Liu (2020), University of Massachusetts Press

  • Museum of Fine Arts Asia Collection – The Museum of Fine Arts contains a large collection of Asian art, including the largest collection of Japanese art outside of Japan. Northeastern students receive free admission to the museum.
  • Boston Asian American Film Festival – taking place every October, the Boston Asian American Film Festival seeks to empower Asian Americans through film by showcasing Asian American experiences and serving as a resource to filmmakers and the Greater Boston Community
Local Artist Ponnapa Prakkamakul with her new mural “Where We Belong” Photo by Katy Rodger (via Sasaki Magazine, Mural located on Oxford St in Chinatown)

Community Organizations

Boston has significant Vietnamese and Chinese communities, located in Field’s Corner (Little Saigon) and Chinatown. These are just a few of the organizations that serve Boston’s Asian community.

  • VietAID (Vietnamese American Initiative for Development) – VietAID was founded in 1994 and operates mainly around Boston Little Saigon, working to assist the community, encourage civic engagement and alleviate poverty in Boston’s Vietnamese community.
  • Asian American Resource Network – AARW was founded in 1979 as a pan-Asian organization that supports activism and the arts. They describe themselves as “an intergenerational social justice nonprofit that promotes Asian American identity while addressing contemporary issues affecting our communities.” They’re involved in activism and host creative workshops.
  • Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center – BCNC was founded in 1969, They provide support to families in the Chinatown community, “empowering Asians and new immigrants to build healthy families, achieve greater economic success, and contribute to thriving communities”
  • Vietnamese American Community Center -The Community Center is a project of VietAid, located in Boston Little Saigon, it provides a meeting space and focal point for community organizations, as has served to connect and revitalize the Fields Corner neighborhood.
  • Pao Arts Center – Pao Arts Center engages and supports Boston’s Asian community through Art, workshops, performances and as a community space. “Pao Arts Center represents the belief that investing in arts, culture, and creativity are vital to the health and well-being of individuals, families, and vibrant communities.”
  • Massachusetts Asian American Commission – The Massachusetts Asian American Commission works to enact change in the government that benefits Asian people and communities throughout Massachusetts.
Community in Action: A Mural for Vietnamese People by Ngoc-Trân Vu (Photo by Courtney Regan, Mural located in Fields Corner)

Northeastern Community Orgs

  • Asian American Center – Northeastern’s Asian American center supports Asian students on campus, providing them with support for student organizations, and a welcoming community center. The Asian American center also hosts a lending library of Asian books: from Nonfiction, to memoirs to fiction and even literary magazines
  • Pan Asian American Council – The PAAC is common space for dialogue which is made up of representatives from Northeastern’s numerous Asian Student Organizations.
  • Find out more about the many Student Organizations on campus such as:
    • Pan-Asian American Queer Alliance
    • Asian Student Union
    • Korean American Student Association
    • Society of Asian Scientist and Engineers
    • Utsav – South Asian Student Organization
    • and many more!
Scenes from the Northeastern University Asian American Center.

National Organizations

Check out some of these national organizations for more resources on health, civil rights, and community

  • Asian Woman For Health – Asian Women for Health is a peer-led, community-based network dedicated to advancing Asian women’s health and wellbeing through education, advocacy, and support.
  • Asian American Psychological Association – The AAPA provides resources and scholarship on mental health in Asian American communities, as well as supporting the scholarship of professionals
  • Stop AAPI Hate – Founded in 2020, Stop AAPI Hate responds to instances of violence and harassment against Asian Americans and Pacific Islander
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC fights for civil rights and other legal cases to benefit and empower Asian Americans.
  • Asian Pacific Environmental Network – APEN supports environmental justics for working-class Asian immigrant and refugee communities through community action
Think Chinatown 2017: Tied Together by A Thousand Threads by Boston Chinatown Youth and Shaina Liu

Contributors