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During AAPI Heritage Month, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) Unveils Bill to Name Post Office in Honor of Local AAPI Activist

Caroline Chang Was an Activist and Leader in Boston’s Chinatown Community

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) unveiled a bill to name a post office in her district after the late community leader and lifelong AAPI activist Caroline Chang (1940-2018). The bill would name the U.S. Postal Service office at 25 Dorchester Avenue in Boston after Chang, who played a significant role in advancing the livelihood of her neighbors in the Boston Chinatown community.

The legislation is cosponsored by the entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation, including Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and Representatives Richard Neal (MA-01), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Lori Trahan (MA-03), Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Stephen Lynch (MA-08), and William Keating (MA-09).

“Caroline Chang was a trailblazer who advocated relentlessly for the community she lived in and the one she represented,” said Rep. Pressley. “Who we honor and pay tribute to in our monuments and federal buildings matters, and I am proud to introduce this bill during AAPI Heritage Month to uplift Caroline’s contributions to her community, to the Massachusetts 7th, and to our Commonwealth. With the AAPI community’s contributions under attack nationwide, we must pass legislation like this one to honor leaders like Caroline and commemorate AAPI history as the American history that it is.”

“For her entire career, Caroline Chang fought hard to make life better for people across the Commonwealth and the country — from expanding access to social services for residents in Boston’s Chinatown to advancing health equity and civil rights across New England,” said Senator Warren. “During AAPI Heritage Month, I’m glad to work with my colleagues to recognize AAPI leaders like Caroline Chang for her invaluable contributions and trailblazing work.”

“Caroline Chang is an inspiration to a generation of AAPI leaders across the Commonwealth and across our nation who refuse to stop fighting for their community and their cause,” said Senator Markey. “At a time when AAPI people are experiencing rising hatred and violence, it’s essential that we recognize and learn from advocates like Chang, who show us what it means to organize, not agonize, for your community. I am proud to support this legislation to celebrate Caroline Chang’s immeasurable contributions and to honor her legacy for generations to come.”

“Caroline Chang, a public servant in the highest sense of the word, dedicated her life to Boston’s Chinatown. From her beginning as an interpreter to becoming the highest-ranking Asian American in the federal government in New England, she tirelessly used her voice to make Massachusetts a more equitable, inclusive, and just home for all,” said Rep Trahan. “I am proud to join Representative Pressley and the entire Massachusetts delegation in commemorating Caroline and creating the first federal building in Massachusetts to honor an Asian American community member – a long overdue recognition.”

“I am proud to support this legislation to designate the Dorchester Avenue Post Office in honor of Caroline Chang and her lifetime of contributions to the City of Boston,” said Rep Lynch. “Caroline Chang’s enduring commitment to public service and advocacy on behalf of our AANHPI community will serve as a shining example of active citizenship for generations to come.”

There are currently 617 postal facilities in Massachusetts. Of those facilities renamed, only one honors a woman and five honor a person of color. There is no postal facility – and no federal building – within Massachusetts that honors an AAPI person.

Caroline Chang spent her life serving the Boston Chinatown community. Born and raised in Chinatown, Caroline served as an interpreter in her early life for community members seeking medical care. In 1970, Boston Mayor Kevin White appointed Chang as the manager of Chinatown’s Little City Hall, where she advocated on behalf of residents. Chang went on to receive her law degree from Suffolk Law School in 1970 and spent more than 30 years with the United States Department of Health and Human Services as the Regional Manager for the Office for Civil Rights, making her the highest-ranking Asian American in the federal government in New England at the time.

Throughout her years of public service, Caroline Chang played a founding role in several organizations that continue to serve the Boston Chinatown community, including:

  • The South Cove Community Health Center
  • The Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC)
  • The Chinese Historical Society of New England (CHSNE)
  • The Harry H. Dow Memorial Legal Assistance Fund
  • The Asian American Civic Association (AACA)
  • The Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center

A copy of the bill text can be found here, and Caroline’s bio is available here.

Supporters of the legislation include Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC), Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Suzanne Lee, Chinese Progressive Association, Asian American Civic Association (AACA), Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW), Asian Pacific Islanders Civic Action Network (APIs CAN!), and Asian American Women’s Political Initiative (AAWPI).

“I am excited for our community to have a post office renamed for Caroline Chang in recognition of Asian American Heritage Month. She is well deserving of this honor and recognition as a representative of the contribution Asians have made to our society with the numerous organizations she had helped form and still providing much needed services in the Chinese community,” said Suzanne Lee, Founder of Chinese Progressive Association.

“Caroline Chang was a giant in our community. As activists, organizers, and Bostonians who love our city, we all draw inspiration from her legacy fighting for Chinatown and for the Asian American community,” said Diana Hwang, Founder/Executive Director of AAWPI. “In the continued struggle to preserve Chinatowns across the country, the renaming of a post office in her name reminds us that we are not alone in this fight; in deep community, we build upon her trailblazing work and we stand on the shoulders of our godmothers in fighting for a future our communities deserve.”

“Caroline Chang was a founder of the Asian Community Development Corporation, which creates affordable housing and invests in our community and residents. The renaming of a local Boston Post Office after Caroline is a well-deserved recognition of her lifelong work as a champion for Chinatown and the Asian community,” said Angie Lou, Executive Director of ACDC.

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