The story of our tenant organizing in the Jade District is inseparable from Carol’s time here at APANO. As Carol moves on from her position as the Chinese Outreach Associate to dedicate herself to her full-time business, we here at APANO want to take a moment to thank Carol for all she’s done with us these past 2 years.
In August of 2015, before APANO’s tenant organizing program even existed, we had our first Jade Summer canvass, where Khanh met an awesome volunteer named Carol Chan. We quickly realized Carol was truly a unicorn – she wasn’t afraid to knock on strangers’ doors to talk about the neighborhood, and she had this contagious enthusiasm, mixed with her determined spirit and positive energy, that brought people together.
Around that time we learned tenants living in an apartment complex in the Jade District faced displacement-inducing rents, and we knew we needed to find someone who could build relationships and trust with tenants of a multi-ethnic and multi-racial background. Miraculously, Carol, who was trying to build her own business, but was passionate about this work, agreed to join us on a part-time basis.
Over the past 21 months, Carol worked tirelessly to bring tenants together to fight displacement. And they won. Quite frankly, even the lawyers that worked with us on this campaign were surprised. They said, “Most buildings with tenants of a variety of cultural and language backgrounds facing rent increases and complicated legal concepts struggle to overcome these differences to get the ‘win’. But Carol was the thread that kept everyone together, ceaselessly encouraging the tenants, while making sure lawyers understood tenants’ values, expectations, and life experiences”.
For Wanna, APANO’s Chinese parent organizer, Carol was inspiring. “She always asks me ‘Do you understand? Do you need me help?’ She cares about everyone. I’ve always appreciated Carol’s patience and encouragement. She would always say, ‘You can do that Wanna. You don’t inspire people by showing them how amazing you are. You inspire them by showing them how amazing they are.’”
What’s even more amazing is that Carol’s tenant organizing work isn’t even all she’s done in her time at APANO – she co-facilitated our months long Chinese Parent Leadership Academy, trained Chinese members to testify at the local and state level in support for renters rights, and so much more.
We’re not exaggerating when we say Carol built our tenant organizing work from the ground up, and strengthened our organizing program. We are so thankful to Carol for all your hard work and radiant energy. Thank you!