When the development of a luxury condominium threatens a local mural depicting the diverse culture of the neighborhood, a community in a rapidly gentrifying city rallies to protect its history, voice, icons, and land.
Lailan Huen is the Community Development and Organizing Manager for National CAPACD, a coalition of over 100 organizations empowering Asian American and Pacific Islander neighborhoods across the country. An organizer working to build people power through leadership development, civic engagement, strategic communications, and grassroots coalition-building, she served in the California State Assembly focusing on affordable housing, foreclosure prevention, public education, and community development. Born and raised in Oakland, Lailan holds a Bachelors in Asian American and Urban Studies from Columbia University and a Masters in Media Studies from The New School. Her great-grandfather came to be a part of the founding of Oakland Chinatown after the San Francisco 1906 earthquake, working as a butcher there, and her grandfather was a union worker at the Hotel Leamington in Downtown Oakland. Both of her grandmothers were garment workers in Oakland Chinatown. She is proud to be giving back to her hometown through organizing the Oakland Chinatown Public Art Project, and developing an East Bay Sustainable Housing Network of intentional, cooperative, affordable and activated living spaces for those with the least access to quality housing. She is also a member of the Block by Block Organizing Network, made up of neighborhood leaders from across Oakland working to engage residents in the political processes and decisions that affect our daily lives.