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Belonging, Bought and Sold

May 25, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Belonging, Bought and Sold
A roundtable discussion with Theresa Hyuna Hwang, Jeremy Liu, Carol Zou, and Dan S. Wang
Part of WE RISE 2022

Wednesday May 25th |  4 pm PT

Join us for a conversation on the bilingual publication “Belonging, Bought and Sold,” a critical essay about Asian American identity and the gentrification of historical ethnic enclaves, written by artist and organizer Carol Zou. This roundtable discussion will include the perspectives of Theresa Hyuna Hwang, Jeremy Liu, Dan S. Wang, and Carol Zou, who will read an excerpt of the essay. All attendees will receive a copy of this publication, which will be published in June 2022. 

Neighborhoods that change quickly due to rapid influxes of development capital may shortchange long term residents of services and affordable amenities. Elderly residents are often particularly vulnerable when a neighborhood begins to attract affluent younger people. And yet, anti-gentrification campaigns and activists, while uniformly critical of speculative capital and luxury development, often fail to clearly articulate a theory of belonging that would provide a basis for sustainable neighborhood development. This project advances the conversation about these patterns, using the contradictions seen in the examples of Little Tokyo and Chinatown to complicate the claims to a neighborhood. All factors of livability, mental health, and community wellness are implicated in this question of Who has a right to the neighborhood?

This program is presented by 18th Street Arts Center in partnership with WE RISE 2022.


Theresa Hyuna Hwang (she/her) is a community-engaged architect, educator, and facilitator. She has spent over 15 years focused on equitable cultural and community development across the United States. She is the founder of Department of Beloved Places, a participatory architecture practice based on occupied Tongva Land (Los Angeles, CA). Additionally, she curates Design Futures Forum, a national anti-racist design education initiative. She is a certified trauma-informed and nonviolent communication parenting educator and a dedicated mindfulness practitioner in the Plum Village tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. She received her Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design (2007) and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Art History from the Johns Hopkins University (2001). She is a licensed architect in California. 

Jeremy Liu has served as the executive director of the Asian Community Development Corporation in Boston and the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation in the San Francisco Bay Area. Over his career he has supported Asian American community development around the country, including Chinatowns in Boston, Oakland, San Francisco, Honolulu, and Philadelphia; Japantowns in San Jose and Los Angeles; Filipino communities in Los Angeles and San Francisco; and the Cambodian communities of Massachusetts. As a senior fellow at PolicyLink, a national research and action institute advancing racial and economic equity, he led a successful initiative to integrate arts and creative placemaking into equitable development, economic inclusion, housing, health equity, and policy change. He co-edited the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Community Development Innovation Review issue Transforming Community Development through Arts and Culture and contributed chapters to the National Endowment for the Arts’ book How to Do Creative Placemaking.

Carol Zou is a community-engaged artist whose work engages themes of spatial justice, public pedagogy, and intercultural connection in multiracial neighborhoods. They engage durational, process-based collaborations with community contributors using mediums of craft, media arts, and public installation. They are currently focused on investigating, incubating, and facilitating healing through creative practice as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other mass traumas borne by the most marginalized. Current and past affiliations include: Yarn Bombing Los Angeles, Michelada Think Tank, Trans.lation Vickery Meadow, Project Row Houses with the University of Houston, Asian Arts Initiative, American Monument, Imagining America, US Department of Arts and Culture, Spa Embassy, Enterprise Community Partners with Little Tokyo Service Center, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, and The Hive. They believe that we are most free when we help others get free.

Dan S. Wang is an artist, writer, and organizer. He is a Local Artist in Residence at 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica.


WE RISE 2022: BY US, FOR US is a series of community-led events that support health and healing across Los Angeles County. A collaborative impact initiative, WE RISE 2022 invests in local organizations, artists and leaders to strengthen community wellbeing. Throughout Mental Health Awareness Month in May, community partners provide access to resources and opportunities for connection through art installations, cultural experiences and other community engagement projects. As the ripple effects of the pandemic, social injustice and global pressures continue, WE RISE 2022 emphasizes positive programming that connect youth and those who love them, while amplifying our collective strength. WE RISE TOGETHER.

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