In 1952, an unlikely group formed in Seattle’s Chinatown. A group of Asian American high school girls wanted to be of service to the community, and approached Ruby Chow, a Chinese American politician and civic activist whose husband was a Cantonese Opera singer who had experience working with elaborate classic Chinese costumes. Ruby was also friends with a Seattle Police officer named Ted Yerabek, who taught the girls American military drills. That’s how the Seattle Chinese Community Girls Drill Team was formed. For 70 years, they have performed at parades all around Washington state, inspiring generations. “She Marches in Chinatown” is an inspiring story about belonging, identity, sisterhood, leadership, and a community that has flourished among a diverse group of women with backgrounds that represent a variety of sexual orientations, races, and ages. It is about a group that thrives despite being in a neighborhood targeted by hate and discrimination. As one superfan puts it, “Please don’t go away – Seattle needs you!”
Directed by Della Chen
Produced by Amy Benson
Director’s Bio: Della Chen is a documentary photographer and native Seattleite. She has been telling visual stories for weddings, families, commercial and editorial assignments for the last 19 years. She has been involved in multi-media projects about homeless advocacy and aging out of foster care. Since 2018, Della has been a teaching artist for Pablove Shutterbugs, a non-profit organization that teaches the art of photography to kids living with cancer. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Youth in Focus, a free after school program in Seattle amplifying teen voices through photography and arts education. This is her first documentary film project and definitely not her last.
This documentary collection illuminates the lives of spirited women in their sixties. Transcending traditional roles such as mothers or housewives, these remarkable individuals reshaped the stereotypical narrative about Asian womanhood. Celebrate these trailblazers, whose accomplishments in the realms of law, science, and community building continue to influence and uplift us today. Witness as their quests for self-discovery and empowerment inspire Asian women across generations to embrace their uniqueness, challenge norms, and forge their own paths.