Chinatown’s New Power Players

Meet the change-makers cementing Chinatown's future.

Giles Li Executive Director Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center

Giles Li is the executive director of the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center. / Toan Trinh

Giles Li
Executive director, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center

As the leader of the Boston area’s largest social services organization for Asian families, Li is giving Chinatown’s next generation a boost. During his tenure, he’s bolstered the youth program by focusing on college prep, and even brought on licensed therapists to help residents cope with gentrification.

Lydia Lowe Director of Chinatown Community Land Trust

Lydia Lowe is the director of the Chinatown Community Land Trust. / Adam DeTour

Lydia Lowe
Director, Chinatown Community Land Trust

Made up of residents and local activists, Lowe’s land trust snaps up valuable real estate before it falls into the hands of developers or schools. Case in point: The organization recently worked with Tufts and the Boston Planning & Development Agency to wrestle control of a parking lot away from the school’s development arm.

Angie Liou Asian Community Development Corporation Executive Director Chinatown

Angie Liou is the executive director of the Asian Community Development Corporation. / Adam DeTour

Angie Liou
Executive director, Asian Community Development Corporation

Also integral in the push to keep Chinatown from becoming the next South End, Liou’s most recent win involved lobbying the BPDA to redevelop Parcel 12, on Tremont Street, from a parking lot into a high-rise building with affordable units.

Brian Moy Chinatown Restaurants Shojo BLR Ruckus

Brian Moy is the owner of popular Chinatown restaurants Shōjō, BLR, and Ruckus. / Adam DeTour

Brian Moy
Owner, Shōjō, BLR, and Ruckus

The future of Chinatown dining has arrived thanks to Moy, who’s leading a foodie renaissance in his neighborhood complete with craft cocktails, creative fare, and kick-ass décor.

Ling-Mei Wong Sampan Editor Chinatown

Ling-Mei Wong is the editor of Sampan. / Adam DeTour

Ling-Mei Wong
Editor, Sampan

What’s happening in Chinatown right now? Just ask Wong. The editor of the only bilingual Chinese and English newspaper in the city, she shines a light on issues important to the community that often get overlooked by larger local media outlets.

Karen Chen Executive Director Chinese Progressive Association Chinatown Social Services Boston

Karen Chen is the executive director of the Chinese Progressive Association. / Adam DeTour

Karen Chen
Executive director, Chinese Progressive Association

Chinatown’s working-class residents today struggle to earn a living. That’s where Chen comes in: She advocates on behalf of CPA’s 1,200 members to ensure workers know their rights and are paid fairly.

Cynthia Soo Hoo principal of Josiah Quizy Elementary School Chinatown

Cynthia Soo Hoo is the principal of Josiah Quincy Elementary School. / Adam DeTour

Cynthia Soo Hoo
Principal, Josiah Quincy Elementary School

Chinatown born and raised, Soo Hoo now presides over one of the most diverse schools in the BPS system. From apple-orchard field trips to MFA partnerships, she’s elevating the experience for hundreds of kids—and it’s working. Under Soo Hoo’s leadership, JQS ranks third among all BPS elementary schools in MCAS performance.

This story is part of The Ultimate Guide to Chinatown, from the February 2019 issue of Boston magazine.