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Think!Chinatown Night Market: How Partnerships and Communal Capacity Transition and Grow

Date: January 26, 2024

"When I think about the night market Think!Chinatown hosts every year, I can’t help but think about all of the joy it brings. The smell of food in the air. The sounds of kids laughing as they run around. Watching the Aunties perform on stage. Spaces like this are created by the community and for the community .”

Every summer, Think!Chinatown Nightmarket buzzes with hundreds of community members shopping, chatting, and connecting over food and meals that are hard to find elsewhere. The open-air cultural festival features Chinatown-focused programming alongside local art & food vendors. For the past two years, NP’s team in NYC has demonstrated solidarity with Asian Americans as they support communities with various safety needs at the Nightmarkets. 

NP Program Specialist, Qaaree McDaniel has worked closely with Anna Ye, the Safety Lead for T!C Nightmarket. Through regular check-in video calls, Anna’s safety team met with Qaaree to identify potential threats and understand the safety needs of the community. Whether it was related to lighting, traffic flow, congestion, police presence, agitation from outside, or heat-related illnesses coming up, NP supported T!C with developing a proactive response plan.  

NP has also provided protective presence at Nightmarkets. Since our team began working with Think!Chinatown, attendees have not experienced any major safety concerns to their physical or emotional health. Safety check-ins and debriefings before every event played a role in creating an environment where Asian Americans felt safe gathering.

The underlying goal has always been to strengthen the capacity of T!C's staff with the tools to provide safety and protective presence at their events without assistance of NP.

After providing assistance at 8 community events, the NYC team hosted a final community safety workshop on situational awareness and de-escalation to staff and volunteers from T!C.

Now, T!C staff is more equipped to take on safety patrol, and perhaps more importantly, more confident in their own abilities than ever before.

Anna Ye candidly shared, "I’ve learned more about community safety in the past two years from NP than I have my whole life. Despite that, being a part of this training really felt like ground zero for learning about what community safety truly means.”

While it's bittersweet when a partnership with an organization comes to an end, it's just the beginning for T!C. Equipped with a toolbox of strategies, the NYC team is certain that T!C is prepared to lead patrol of the nightmarkets this upcoming summer. Our team also connected T!C with the Hope Against Hate Campaign for additional support needs.

Qaaree's reflection sums up the mutual sentiment, “I often think of the words ‘who keep us safe?’ It’s a quote that we use here often in New York to acknowledge how empowering we as a community can be, because at the end of the day, it is we who keep us safe."

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