Our Team

Jessica Chen

Team Lead
City Planning Professional

Jessica Chen 陳婉瑜 is a Canadian city planning professional currently based in Montréal Quebec. Her career focus has been social inclusion and urban strategies that encourage pluralistic understanding of the cities. As an immigrant from Taiwan, Jessica started her professional career in the public sector, first in Philadelphia, United States, then in Vancouver Canada. Her 12-year planning career at the City of Vancouver focused on regeneration of historic inner-city neighbourhoods tackling issues of gentrification, heritage conservation, affordable housing, social inclusivity and equitable development.

She relocated to Montreal in 2013 and founded her consulting practice Wabi Sabi Planning Lab that often works with public agencies and non-profit organizations to examine how cultural and community-owned assets, including housing, help shape a more resilient urban landscape and city economy.  One planning area close to her heart is Chinatown. She worked with the City of Vancouver to develop a Chinatown Cultural Heritage Asset Management Plan as part of its exploration for UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. She has also been active in Montréal Chinatown since 2019 to advocate for its cultural heritage protection.   Jessica holds a Master Degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

Karen Cho

Team Member
Documentary Filmmaker

Karen Cho 曹嘉伦 is a filmmaker known for her sociopolitical documentaries that explore themes of identity, immigration, and social justice. Her work has touched on subjects like the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act, Refugees, the Japanese internment, artists activists and women’s rights. Her latest documentary, Big Fight in Little Chinatown is the story of community resistance and resilience in Chinatowns across North America. Karen has been involved with the Chinatown Working Group, Progressive Chinese of Quebec, Coast to Coast Chinatowns Against Displacement & the Act2End Racism Network.

Parker Mah

Team Member
Multimedia Artist and Community Organizer

Parker Mah 馬世聰 is a fourth-generation Chinese Montrealer of Toisanese descent, based in Tio’tia:ke. Multimedia artist, musician, and DJ, his diverse body of work tackles themes and realities of migration, hybridization and identity. He is also active in different cultural and activist spaces as a curator, moderator, trainer and community organizer. He is a founding member of Progressive Chinese Quebecers, and of the Jia Foundation. He also co-hosted the feature length documentary Being Chinese in Quebec (2013), with Bethany Or.

Estelle Mi

Team Member
Programming and Communication coordinator

Estelle Mi 宓黛乐(she/her) recently graduated from McGill University with a degree in International Development. Committed to grassroots mobilization and activism, she has contributed to various journalistic articles in the media and in municipal exhibitions, exploring the history of Chinese Canadians and their experience of political exclusion through institutional laws, such as Chinese immigration laws. As Chair of the Youth Committee, Estelle brings a youth perspective to political and social issues concerning the City of Montreal’s Chinatown Development Plan.

Previously, Estelle collaborated as a research assistant at McGill and worked with JIA as gallery and communications manager to organize the “Chinatown Reimagined Forum”. She has since taken on the role of programming and communications coordinator at Chinatown House, with the aim of strengthening civic participation by addressing development issues through local events and conferences.

Sandy Yep

Team Member

Sandy Geen Lup Yep 葉堅立 is an policy analyst, educator and community organizer. Born and raised in Montreal’s Chinatown, he is 4 generations Chinois-Quebecois.  Graduating with a teaching degree from McGill University he has spent years as an educator in the areas of equity, human rights and anti-racism.  In Quebec he worked at le commission des droits du quebec and Quebec Multi-Plus as an intercultural animator. His experience in this field is local, provincial and national.  Sandy currently works with the Inclusive Education branch of the Ministry of Education, and is the Chair of the Asian Canadian Educators Network.  With his deep community roots in Montreal he held leadership positions at the Chinese Family Services of Greater Montreal, and Hung Ying Athletic Association. In 2019 he was called back to Montreal to work with the CWG’s Elder Committee.  CWG saved his ancestral ‘loh yeh gung’s’ house on rue de la Gauchetière ouest – working with JIA he is committed to build up Montreal’s Chinatown in the present and for the future.

Murielle Chan-Chu

Team Member
Professor of Literature

Murielle Chan-Chu 陳妙影 is a professor of literature at Montmorency College where she’s been teaching since 2009. With a master’s degree in translation studies, she reflects on ways of forging links between communities and is particularly interested in identity, feminist, anti-racist, anti-colonial and anti-capitalist issues. In parallel to teaching, she is working on completing a collection of auto-fictional fragments recounting sporadic childhood memories that address the question of gender, uprooting and re-rooting and many other anecdotal stories, such as her adventures in Chinatown, whether through her Cantonese and Mandarin lessons or her many back-and-forths at the Sun Ko Wah video club on Clark Street. She was an active member of Chinatown Working Group.

Our Board

Sonia Li Trottier

Board Member
Director, Canada Climate Law Initiative

Sonia li Trottier 姬银 is the Director of the Canada Climate Law Initiative. She leads CCLI’s strategic planning, partnerships, and board program. She is the Board Chair of Jeux WASA, a non-profit that uses gamification to mobilize and raise awareness on environmental issues, and JIA Foundation. Sonia li started getting involved in the Montréal’s Chinatown in February 2022.

Day’s Lee

Board Member
Author, Filmmaker

Day’s Lee is an author and documentary filmmaker. She has worked for the Montreal Chinese Hospital Foundation and the Chinese Lions Club, and was a member of the Federation of Chinese Canadian Professionals (FCCP) and Chinatown Working Group.

Walter Chi-Yan Tom

Board Member
Human Rights Lawyer

With over 30 years of experience in immigration, business and human rights law, Me Walter Chi-yan Tom 譚志仁 is the principal partner of a law firm and Manager of the Concordia Student Union Legal Information Clinic.  Me Tom has been an executive board member and advisor of more than a dozen community and professional organizations, such as the Chinese Canadian National Council, the Center for Research- Action on Race Relations, the Federation of Chinese Canadian Professionals – Quebec, the Montreal Chinese Community United Centre, Tom Families Association, the Comité aviseur sur les relations interculturelles de Montréal, advising the City of Montreal on economic development, immigration and integration of ethnocultural communities, as well as a Roundtable member for the Montreal Chinatown Development Plan of 1996.

Our Expertise

Cultural Consultancy

Urban Planning and Heritage

Community Capacity Building

Storytelling and Oral History

Institutional Partnerships

Project Management

JIA Foundation

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