CAA’s newest documentary, Block by Block: The Struggle to Bring Community College to Chinatown, has been screened 15 times in 2023, in the Bay Area and beyond. From college campuses to immigrant rights organizations, we’ve been bringing the story of this historic fight to ESL students, teachers, architects, organizers, and community members. 

This 30-minute film, directed by Kevin Wong and Seng Chen, presents the many obstacles laid out for Chinatown by San Francisco big money. Political power brokers waged a public relations war to stop the construction of a community college campus known as the San Francisco City College Chinatown/North Beach Center.

Fueled by a sense of outrage and betrayal, Friends of Educational Opportunities in Chinatown (FEOC), a broad and diverse coalition of educators, students, nonprofits, labor unions, churches, and family associations, came together to fight for community self-determination. All these forces collided in a climatic vote shown in the film. 

“The Chinatown/North Beach campus is a crucial first stop for Chinese and other adult immigrants. Learning English is a fundamental job skill to survive and advance in a new country,” says Frances Lee, the former vice chancellor of academic affairs for City College of San Francisco. “As busy as they are, adult immigrant students find the time to attend classes during the day, evenings, or weekends to build a life for themselves and their families.”

Together at these screenings, we’ve been exploring the questions: Who gets to decide land use for a historic community? What are the roles and responsibilities of professionals (designers, planners, attorneys, advocates) and directly impacted students and neighborhood residents? And how can a low-income ethnic minority community win against overwhelming odds?

For more information about the screenings, please email CAA at Below are a list of screenings completed in the year 2023 and planned in 2024:

  • March 20, 2023: Chinatown/North Beach CCSF campus (Sneak Preview, organized by Kit Dai, Joanne Low, Frances Lee, Henry Der, Shelly Gin)
  • May 6, 2023: Ocean CCSF campus (Asian Americans & American Ideals & Institutions, organized by Andrew Hom)
  • May 10, 2023: Chinatown/North Beach CCSF campus (preview by ESL instructors, current and retired)
  • May 18, 2023: Chinatown/North Beach CCSF campus (ESL students, organized by Kit Dai)
  • June 22, 2023: San Francisco and Seattle, Washington (EHDD Architecture, organized by Ellen McAmis and Jennifer Devlin)
  • July 11, 2023: Nashville, Tennessee (Center on Civic Engagement Training, organized by John Miyasato & Cameron Baird)
  • Aug 10, 2023: Chinatown/North Beach CCSF campus (faculty and staff retirees, organized by Eva Cheng)
  • Aug 15, 2023: Ocean CCSF Campus (Professional Development Day, organized by Kit Dai)
  • Aug 22, 2023: Chinatown/North Beach CCSF campus (CAA, organized by Shelly Gin)
  • Sept 18, 2023: Chinatown/North Beach CCSF campus (Architecture & City Festival, organized by Annabelle Udo-O’Malley, Jennie Lew & Henry Der)
  • Oct 12, 2023: UC Berkeley (Asian Americans and Education, organized by Lok Siu & Lisa Tsuchitani)
  • Nov 11, 2023: Chinatown/North Beach CCSF campus (SF City Guides, organized by Bill Louie and Joanne Low)
  • Nov 14, 2023: Tucson, Arizona (Four Freedoms Fund, organized by Emily Ramirez and Henry Der)
  • Nov 15, 2023: Oakland Asian Cultural Center (Oakland Chinatown Coalition, organized by Janie Chen and Mungal Indra)
  • Dec 2, 2023: Chinatown/North Beach CCSF campus (Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, organized by Julie Tang, Ding Lee, and Chark Lui)
  • Jan 12, 2024: Ocean CCSF campus (encore Professional Development Day, organized by Kit Dai)