Where’s Waldo in Chinatown? or “Spot the Chink!”
“Thousands” gather in
San Francisco’s Los Angeles’ Chinatown to protest opening of a Wal-Mart grocery store.
While some might think that local residents were capable of deciding for themselves whether they wanted cheap food, the usual cast of activists knows better.
Many said they were there to protest construction of Wal-Mart’s 33,000-square-foot store in an existing apartment building at Cesar Chavez and Grand avenues, while others came to decry what they said were Wal-Mart’s low wages and union-busting attempts.
“I’m especially concerned about Chinatown because it’s a historical-cultural center,” said Matt Southgate, 40, who drove up from Santa Ana to join the rally. “I’m concerned about all unique communities being homogenized,” he said.
For John Wong, a professor at East Los Angeles College, the thought of a Wal-Mart in Chinatown was disturbing.
[As a token Chinaman recruited from outside the community and a noted community college instructor] “To have corporate food come in to Chinatown, it’s just kind of gross,” Wong said. He also decried the “conditions of the workers, the corporate food, and the whole impact Wal-Mart will have on the surrounding community.”
“We hope to send a message that they can’t come in here without consideration of the local people,” Wong said. “Hopefully this demonstration and others will stop them.”A march and rally were scheduled to start at Los Angeles State Park at 11 a.m. and conclude with speeches against the retail giant under the dragon gates on Broadway at Cesar Chavez. Singer-songwriter Ben Harper, “Rage Against the Machine” guitarist Tom Morello, civil rights activist Dolores Huerta and U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (D-El Monte) were among those expected to take part.
“This would just ruin my children’s lives”, fretted Marin County activist Theresa Loveless who had paused in her shopping to observe the demonstration. “We bring them down on Saturdays so they can see learn of this city’s cultural heritage. To see those tiny old men in pigtails selling snow peas and tofu, well that’s just priceless. Take them away and you’re depriving my children of their opportunity to experience multi-culturalism!”
Asked if the Mexican woman ushering Ms. Lawless’s children into the family’s Pinzgauer behind her belonged to a union, Lawless looked startled: “Maria? Why would she need a union? Why, she’s practically family!”
And she drove away.