About the Campaign
What is Save Cantonese?
Save Cantonese is a global community-driven movement that promotes Cantonese language and cultural preservation. Our organization is committed to sustaining the Cantonese language, supporting courses at universities and ensuring access in everyday society. ‘Team Cantonese’ came together as a group of passionate alumni, students, and community members, aiming to keep Cantonese language instruction alive in higher education institutions.
What do we believe?
We believe Cantonese is part of a vibrant and diverse society. With an estimated 80 million speakers today, it is a living language with an ancient history. Speaking Cantonese empowers individuals to access their heritage and culture; it allows contemporary scholars to understand past and present, and communities worldwide to communicate and thrive. We want to secure a future for Cantonese, as part of a multi-lingual planet where many linguistic traditions can coexist.
How did our movement start?
Save Cantonese was launched in 2020 in response to budget cuts that eliminated funding for the only salaried, benefits-eligible Cantonese lecturer position at Stanford University. Students, alumni, and concerned community members mobilized to Save Cantonese at Stanford: Our initial petition drew thousands of supporters and global media attention.
In 2021, our movement expanded to include the campaign at City College of San Francisco (CCSF). Team Cantonese joined the campaign to restore Cantonese language classes after budget cuts at CCSF nearly eliminated the program.
What happened and what’s next?
With the campaign underway, Stanford University agreed to restore two Cantonese courses to be taught by a part-time hourly instructor. We are now working to endow a permanent full-time lectureship at Stanford to provide leadership for a thriving Cantonese language program for future generations of students. (Read our one-page flyer on our efforts to Save Cantonese at Stanford).
After student-led protests against cuts to class offerings at CCSF, two Cantonese courses were offered in Fall 2021, but only one offered in Spring 2022. We are continuing efforts to include Cantonese classes in a certificate program that makes it eligible for funding and other administrative changes to prioritize Cantonese classes. We want future students to benefit from a strong and sustainable Cantonese language program at CCSF.
We are also focused on developing and strengthening teaching infrastructure for Cantonese language education. Structural changes ensure that Cantonese classes are not diminished or disappeared, and instead can continue to be offered for future generations.
Get Updates & Get Involved
Our campaign has grown from an effort at one university to connecting people who care about a future for Cantonese at multiple institutions. We have an expanding corps of volunteers, spanning many time zones across the United States, Hong Kong, Great Britain and Singapore.
Updates from Stanford University and CCSF are posted in “Our Campaigns”, along with our Canto Culture initiative on music, film and pop culture. To get involved as a supporter, volunteer or donor, click here.
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