When election season rolls around, voters are asked again to decide what is best for their communities, what can be improved upon, and who is best qualified to speak and act for their community’s best interests. In that sense, voting is another way of preserving legacy, to uphold the good done for our community by those that have passed.
Recently, the API community has mourned the loss of community leaders and members whose impact on the community is great and immeasurable. Each represented a voice and change in the community that we very much strive for each election season. When asking ourselves what further good can be implemented for the future, we can also look at the contributions given in the past.
Those supporting small businesses could look to the success and value of Mutual Fish, a family-run business founded by the late Dick Yoshimura, who not only set a standard as a community-oriented business owner, but one who made a great impact on the culinary and seafood industry in Seattle. The late David Lew Wing, another resourceful entrepreneur, ran his family’s Wing 10 Cent Store in Tacoma in 1941.
Three years later, he opened the Pacific Wholesale Company and in 1948, opened the Shopette Variety Store. Yoshimura and Wing’s honest and persistent work ethic serves to inspire many candidates today who stand for workers’ rights and small businesses.
Those looking for warm, engaged leaders who are both active and attentive to the community can look to the late James Mar, whose dedication to serving the needs of the nearby community earned him the moniker “Uncle Jimmy.”
The late Priscilla Chong Jue brought her love of color and arts to our streets. As a textile designer, she was known for her block print, tie dye, batik, and woven fabrics.
She was a volunteer and regular contributor to the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience and the University Baptist Church. Jue was often spotted as a proprietor of small import shops at the Puyallup Fair and Seattle World’s Fair. She also volunteered to design parade floats and costumes for local Seafair Parades and other events.
Also mentioned in this issue is the Bon Odori, a celebration that carries very much the same spirit of celebrating the ancestors that are with us, during times of celebration and also during times of change. Without the history makers, builders, connectors, activists, and storytellers that came before us, the landscape for the API community in Seattle would be gravely different. Through voting and community engagement, we’re not only celebrating a right to vote, but also helping to sustain the good in our communities while continuing on in the spirit of improvement and progress. (end)