2020 CAPA Virtual Summit: Presenters

Chanchanit (Chancee) Martorell

Chanchanit(Chancee)MartorellThai Community Development Center – Los Angeles, CA.

Born in Thailand and raised in Los Angeles, Martorell studied political science and public law at UCLA where she received her B.A. and her M.A. in Urban Planning with a specialization in Urban Regional Development/Third World Development.

Engaged in social activism for the past 32 years, Martorell is currently the Executive Director of the Thai Community Development Center, a non-profit organization she founded in 1994 in an effort to improve the lives of Thai immigrants through services that promote cultural adjustment and economic self-sufficiency. Because of her deep commitment to creating positive change, she has also become a leading practitioner in the field of community development engaged in ongoing affordable housing development, small business promotion, and neighborhood revitalization projects. Her experiences leading to the founding of Thai CDC include work as a planner, as an aide to Congressman Mel Levine, and work with other local and state legislative offices. In the aftermath of the 1992 Civil Unrest, she co-authored the Mid-City Plan for the Coalition of Neighborhood Developers which sought to address the historic lack of economic resources in an inner-city area of Los Angeles. The pivotal event also led her to documenting the demographics and social and human service needs of Thais in Los Angeles for the first time in a landmark community needs assessment study as a way to advocate for more resources in underserved communities.

In 1999, under her leadership, Thai CDC played a pivotal role in the eight-year long community organizing campaign which raised community consciousness and led to the designation of the first Thai Town in the nation right here in East Hollywood. For Martorell, the designation of Thai Town was the first step of a multi-faceted, economic development strategy to revitalize a depressed section of Hollywood while enriching the City’s cultural and social fiber.