Hundreds turn out in protest against proposed 76ers arena near Chinatown

Protesters turned out to demonstrate in Chinatown and send one very clear message to the city and the developers who want to bring a basketball arena – they don’t want it.

"This place holds a special place in my heart!" exclaimed Stacy Liang, as she and hundreds of others expressed that sentiment Saturday afternoon, gathering to push back against the Philadelphia 76ers’ plans to build a brand new, multiuse basketball arena in Center City.

Residents here say if that comes to fruition, it will be devastating for the Chinatown community.

"Chinatown is a very important place to me and the threat to it is astonishing, because it’s so frequent and so continual every 10 years," Lily Fisher said.

Deborah Wei is the founder of Asian Americans United, a group that fights to preserve and protect Asian culture and combat Asian hate and violence.

She says not only are those in attendance at Saturday’s protest against the arena, she believes a majority of people in the city oppose it. "Chinatown is united against this arena. The city is united against this arena. We’re moved and grateful for the support we’re receiving from thousands of people across the city."


The new arena would be called 76 Place and Molly McEndy, with the 76ers, released a statement pushing back against what they claim is false information:

"It is disappointing to see some groups claiming to represent the broader interests of the city irresponsibly spreading misinformation about our proposed plans. Firstly, the arena will not be built in Chinatown – this project will be built in the Fashion District, at Market East."

Even the next generation of activists were in full force as hundreds of students came out in support of the protest, including Central High School students Celine To and Sandy Nguyen.

"We find it really unfair that people of color, they live here their whole entire lives and people that are rich and their corporations are coming in and taking over," Nguyen stated.

"We’ve been here for so long and we deserve respect and recognition from Philadelphia and Philadelphians, especially considering a 76 Arena doesn’t make sense logistically or in preserving Asian Americans and their racial identities," Maya Mischler said.