• Cynthia Peng

Talk to A Person in Their Language

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” -- Nelson Mandela

Cantonese is not just a language. Cantonese is the dignity and common ground that unites the collective identity of San Francisco Chinatown.

Last Saturday, we had the pleasure of screening films by students of UC Berkeley’s graduate school of journalism— Left Behind by Bria Light and Tanay Gokhale, The Berkeley Marina Pier by Meruyert Shalbayeva, and Living Dictionary: Cantonese by Laura Garber and Wangyuxuan Xu.

Passionate members of many Chinatown youth organizations filled the house. We heard real stories and witnessed real changes made by real people in our community.

It became more than just a film screening as we collectively reflected upon the significance of Cantonese in Chinatown, in San Francisco, and the world.

From the self-defense classes, advocacy to save Cantonese classes, to the Grant Avenue Follies’ bi-lingual rap, we saw how various community efforts intertwined, and each showed fiery resiliency and compassion.

To all those who shared the memory, thank you for your hard work, presence, and the energy you brought to Clarion.





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