Chinatown Leaders Plan A Protest Strike

Posted: June 07, 2000

To show their opposition to a baseball park proposed for 12th and Vine Streets, Chinatown leaders plan a day of protest tomorrow, which will begin with a silent vigil at the 10 a.m. City Council meeting and will include the first widespread shutdown of businesses in the neighborhood since World War II.

According to Helen Gym, president of Asian Americans United and a member of the Stadium Out of Chinatown Coalition, the last general strike among Chinatown businesses was held to oppose Japanese imperialism in China. Organizers were vague about the details of tomorrow's proposed strike, saying only that it would last at least a couple of hours.

The organizers also announced they had hired attorney Robert Sugarman to represent them in their efforts to stop the city from building the ballpark there. Sugarman was behind delaying the construction of the Point Pleasant Pumping Station in Bucks County for more than a decade. And, as a young civil-rights attorney in the 1960s, he stopped construction of the proposed Crosstown Expressway, which would have gutted African American neighborhoods along South Street to build a highway between the Delaware River and the Schuylkill.

Sugarman said that in choosing the site, Mayor Street acted in an "arbitrary, capricious and discriminatory" fashion and overlooked the impact of the project on a minority community.

Street has said he would announce a "conceptual agreement" between the city and the teams on the site by next week.

Chinatown leaders say the stadium would kill their plans for growth north of Vine Street.

Sugarman said he was requesting city data on the cost and potential problems of a stadium, such as traffic studies.

Gym said that tomorrow's day of protest would include speeches by high school students at 1:30 p.m. at Holy Redeemer Church and School, 10th and Vine Streets. The speeches are to be followed by a 2 p.m. march from the school through Chinatown to City Hall, and a rally at City Hall until 4 p.m.

Concurrently, about 20 protesters plan to hold informational pickets at the Philadelphia Marriott at 12th and Market Streets, where the Central Philadelphia Development Corp. and the Convention and Visitors Bureau will host a forum on downtown ballparks.

Cynthia Burton's e-mail address is

comments powered by Disqus