Los Angeles’ Three Chinese Sisters
by Susie Ling
Like sisters, they look alike and are confused for one another. But in actuality, each has its own personality and character although they obviously belong to the same family.
The Chinese Historical Society of Southern California (www.chssc.org) is the oldest of the three. A grassroots membership organization, its focus is more on programs and activities. This organization coordinates monthly lectures, fieldtrips, and Chinatown tours. They also have proudly published several seminal books. CHSSC coordinates an historical and archeological Archives Center and a Chinese American Studies scholarship program.
The most sociable of the three sisters is probably the Chinatown Branch Library. Part of the Los Angeles City Library, the Chinatown Branch has a special Chinese Heritage Collection which houses one of the largest collection of Chinese and Chinese American books accessible to the public. It also houses a large collection of Chinese American titles for children. This library has an especially active Friends group (www.friendsocl.org) which also does fundraising, programs, and projects.
The youngest sister the most physically flamboyant: Los Angeles’ Chinese American Museum (www.camla.org). Located in the historical Garnier Building of El Pueblo Monument, the Museum has permanent and special exhibits of history, art, and culture.
Each of the three sisters worries about aging. We all want to attract younger active participants. We especially welcome university and graduate students. The Chinese American community needs younger leaders and activists to continue the tradition of giving back to the community.
The three sisters work together, share members, and share values of community service and ethnic pride. We are joined by dozens of cousins and other like-minded groups and organizations.