SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- While recent mass shootings have saddened many of our communities, a new public art project has brought together Chinese and Latino immigrant women designers.
Sixteen unique flags-that share stories of resilience and strength--will debut during San Francisco's Lunar New Year parade this weekend.
Afterwards, they'll be on display in San Francisco's Chinatown at the Chinese Culture Center.
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The city of San Francisco is ushering in the Lunar New Year and its much-loved traditions. This weekend's parade will include 16 Chinese and Latino immigrant women marching with special flags they personally created. Those women include Selena Low and Lupita Iraheta.
It's all part of a special cross cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual art project called "How I Keep Looking Up."
Lead artist Christine Wong Yap, a visual artist and a social practitioner who focuses on mental health and belonging, worked closely with the immigrant women from Chinatown and the Mission District. The women are from the Chinese and Latino communities.
"By creating this space, I hope to share with the platform of the parade with our communities, with this whole city, not just our fear, our tragedy, our pain, our grief, but our joy, our love, our connection, our community, and our cultural pride," said Wong Yap.
"These beautiful artworks give us so much hope," said Jenny Leung, Executive Director of Chinese Culture Center in San Francisco.
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It's hope at a time when the community is heartbroken because of the tragedies in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay.
Organizers say these immigrant designers and the flags they created offer healing and hope.
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"It's about hope, resilience, joys during this time. We want to be able to share these stories. All these flags have such beautiful stories behind them. We didn't want to just share them in times of tragedy but also together in times of hope, joy, and celebration," said Leung.
"It makes me feel hopeful and it's a true testament to the resilience of our community and our immigrant communities because we always continue to look up-- no matter what the obstacle," said Susana Rojas with Calle 24 Latino Cultural District.
Whether they are Chinese or Latino --- these artists share stories of resilience.
"This flag represents me and my story. When I came to this country, I did not have the hopes to stay," said Lupita Iraheta who came from El Salvador. "Now, I work with Latino families (in San Francisco) -helping provide resources for them."
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Iraheta applauds the art project.
"For me, it's very important to bring attention to the power of women and the power of all humans," said Iraheta. "I was able to share my story with other artists, other communities who I now consider friends. I'm very proud to share these friendships and these common stories of immigration and resiliency."
Through a translator, Selena Low explained the meaning of her flag.
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"The bigger hand is mine. The smaller hand belongs to my child. In the two hands is a set of keys. The keys represent all this time coming to America, the difficulties and struggles I've been through as an SRO resident dealing with housing and finding affordable housing for my family," said Low.
"The inspiration for this flag comes from my own experience as a tenant organizer. I feel in this city, it's very expensive. It's very hard to find affordable housing. I just want to represent, to give voice to that in this design I crated with Christine."
Through all the ups and downs, these women, these communities share a collective experience. And they hope you will recognize it and reflect on it.
"We will not only continue to look up. We will strive together and we will win together," said Rojas.
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