To preserve, promote, and enrich the history and multicultural identity of Salinas Chinatown.
The Big Idea
The Asian Cultural Experience (ACE) is committed to the preservation, promotion and enrichment of the history and
multicultural identity of Chinatown neighborhood in Salinas. ACE at Moongate Plaza is their catalyst project for revitalization
of Chinatown, which was once California’s second-largest such community. The corner first-floor retail space is available to ACE
for exhibits and educational programming that will focus on the immigrant history of Chinatown, educating the public and creating a destination in the area, therefore contributing to its revitalization. Moon Gate Plaza continues to seek grants for this development, and ACE’s Big Idea is to raise funds to help launch construction of this new space.
I first learned of ACE when I attended their annual Chinatown tour in 2018. We toured Soledad and California streets, listened to the Buddhist Temple priest, saw historical exhibits in the old Republic Café and watched a martial arts exhibition, all while ACE leaders told us stories of real people who’d lived there. In 2019 I volunteered to help ACE create the Stories From Chinatown exhibit at the Harvey house featuring oral and written histories of the Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos and Latinos who had actually lived and worked there from as far back as the 1870s. Service-learning students from CSUMB also contributed. Being an ACE member has greatly increased my appreciation of the rich immigrant history of Salinas Chinatown, once the second largest Chinatown in California. ACE presents Salinas with the rare opportunity to preserve and revitalize this historic neighborhood.
- Kathleen Slattery