Our Initiatives

Mei Lum

“We are reinterpreting how a storefront business can contribute to a neighborhood beyond economic development and become a place of political and cultural organizing.”

Mei Lum is a community activist dedicated to nurturing the art, culture, and history of Asian-Americans in New York’s Chinatown. She is the fifth-generation owner of Wing on Wo & Co. (W.O.W.) her family’s porcelain business, and the founder and director of the W.O.W. Project, which engages local residents in efforts to preserve and grow the cultural bedrock of their community.

Born and raised in Chinatown, Lum graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a B.A. in East Asian studies. After graduation, she was awarded the Princeton in Asia fellowship, which enabled her to engage in two years of community development work throughout Asia—everything from teaching English to high school students in the small town of Phang-Nga, Thailand, to working for an experiential education non-profit in Beijing, to participating in a youth development program in Laos.

On taking ownership of W.O.W. upon her return, she leveraged the shop to create a hub of art and activism. Through an array of ongoing programming and events, the W.O.W. project has galvanized local residents and the larger Asian-American community in New York to celebrate their local culture and organize against the rapid cultural displacement happening in the heart of Chinatown.

Organization:

W.O.W. Project, New York City

Area of Focus:

Creative placemaking

Fellowship Project:

Implement creative place-keeping strategies to combat the negative effects of gentrification and displacement and build stronger communities in Chinatown and beyond.


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