Nothing about the history and culture of New York City's Chinatown prepared it to deal effectively with the catastrophe of September 11, 2001.
Ironically, Chinatown's inability to mobilize itself effectively was not due to a dearth of community organizations or underdeveloped social and political networks. The community had an abundance of both, but most organizations did not speak to one another and they certainly did not work together. Competition for funding, ideological and cultural differences, and turf wars all contributed to a history of factionalism within the neighborhood.
The challenge was to bring a historically fractious community together by putting aside old and recent rivalries and creating an atmosphere of trust. Beyond that, there was also a need to build consensus, forge collaborative partnerships and create a community-wide agenda to respond to the economic devastation created by this tragic event.
Thanks to David Holtzman