News that affected the API community
By Ninette Cheng
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
2014 was a year of change, controversy, and loss of long-time community fixtures. However, it was also a year of good news for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Here, we look back on our top 10 stories of the year, ranked in order of their effect:
1. $15 minimum wage
One of the biggest issues of the primary election this year was the debate of the $15/hour minimum wage. Many small business owners, including many Asian businesses, were opposed to it as they could not afford to pay employees $15 while still running a profitable business. Many felt it would drive small businesses out of Seattle. On primary night, the $15 minimum wage was passed in SeaTac. Later, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced a plan to raise the city’s minimum wage.
2. Nadella named CEO of Microsoft
On Feb. 4, Microsoft named Satya Nadella as Microsoft’s new CEO, its first non-American-born. A native of Hyderabad, India, Nadella was previously with Microsoft for 22 years, most recently as executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group.
3. Mikado controversy
July 2014 marked the 60th anniversary of the Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s production of The Mikado. In addition to the Society’s 10th production of the opera, it insured protest and conversation about the use of Japanese stereotypes and caricatures. Even after the production wrapped up, the conversation and controversy has continued throughout the community.
4. Mary Yu appointed
On May 1, Gov. Jay Inslee appointed King County Superior Court Judge Mary Yu to the Washington State Supreme Court. Not only is Yu the first Asian American justice, but she is the first openly gay justice.
5. Kenneth Bae free
Lynnwood resident Kenneth Bae arrived home after two years of imprisonment in North Korea. A Korean American Christian missionary, Bae was sentenced to 15 years for anti-government activities. Bae thanked the U.S. government for securing his release and spent his first night with his family over pizza.
6. Pramila Jayapal elected
API candidate Pramila Jayapal proved to be a big winner on primary night on Aug. 5. Jayapal won a seat in the state senate for Seattle’s 37th District. She is the founder of OneAmerica, Washington state’s largest immigrant and refugee advocacy organization. She is a national advocate for immigrant, civil, and human rights.
7. Nickelsville moves to the ID
The International District received some new neighbors, the Nickelsville homeless camp. Made up of 40 men and women, young and old, students, veterans, employed and unemployed, the camp found a temporary home on Dearborn Street where they sought refuge while looking for a more permanent home. The residents are happy with their new home and invite others to visit.
8. Tony Ng deported
Tony Ng, convicted accomplice in the 1983 Wah Mee Massacre, was released from prison and deported to Hong Kong.
Ng is a participant of the worst mass murder in Seattle history and has been imprisoned for 28 years.
9. Ocean City closes
After 31 years in the International District, Ocean City Restaurant closed its doors on Nov. 30. Owners Christine and Tim Lee said they have not been able to make money from the restaurant for the last five years. The Lees leased more than three quarters of the restaurant space to Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot.
10. Louisa Building
Last Christmas Eve, the Hudson Building, sometimes called the Louisa Building, suffered a fire later classified as “undetermined.” Owned by the Woo family, the Hudson Building housed Mon Hei Bakery, Palace Décor & Gifts, Sea Garden Seafood Restaurant, Seattle Gospel Center Bookroom, Palace Decor & Gifts, Liem’s Pet Shop, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Yuan Sheng Hang herbal shop, and the Pacific International Co.
Even though the fire occurred in 2013, it continues to impact the ID. ■
*All images in this piece are used with permission or are property of Northwest Asian Weekly
Ninette Cheng can be reached at email@example.com.