The speakers sat before a backdrop of two Chinese screens that bore the characters for "double happiness," but no one looked very cheery.
At a Wednesday news conference, Asian leaders responded with doubt to the new programming planned for troubled South Philadelphia High School, where 30 Asian students were attacked on Dec. 3.
They spoke the day after Superintendent Arlene Ackerman announced a series of initiatives, including a program run by Asian Arts Initiative, an in-school center for new immigrants, and classes offering Chinese language instruction. She also said the school would get an Asian assistant principal.
"What we don't want to see is a lot of broad proclamations and programs . . . without a significant dialogue with the community," said Helen Gym, a board member of Asian Americans United.