At the beginning of January, it feels natural to do a retrospective of the year before, take lessons, and think on how we’d want 2016 to look different. Here are five of our wishes:
Wish 1: For no more senseless deaths in the ID
There have been three known homicides in the International District (ID) in 2015, two of which made headlines.
Donnie Chin, International District (ID) community leader and director of the International District Emergency Center, was shot on July 23, 2015, near Eighth Avenue South and South Weller Street in Chinatown after he responded to shots of gunfire. Police say he was caught in the crossfire and was not the intended target in what was likely gang-related violence. To this day, the person(s) involve in Chin’s slaying are still at large.
Christina Enriquez, the mother of Benito “Benny” Enriquez, a man who was beaten to death in Seattle’s Chinatown after leaving a Kenny Chesney concert, still holds on hope that her son’s killer will be found. Her son was nurse for the disabled and father to two girls.
These tragic incidences reflect the increasingly impersonal nature of violence permeating our community. What happened to both men was unfair and senseless. We hope that 2016 brings about additional safety measures and fewer acts of needless aggression.
Wish 2: For Summit Sierra to get funding required to stay in Chinatown
Summit Sierra, a charter school located in Seattle’s Chinatown, opened its doors fall 2015 to 100 ninth grade students. Summit Sierra occupies the building that used to house the Asian Resource Center and serves South Seattle family and students.
Charter schools are independently run free public schools with greater flexibility in its operations compared to traditional public schools and have to adhere to a set of goals, a charter, to receive funding.
We believe that Summit Sierra deserves a chance to serve students in the Southwest and Southeast communities of Seattle, especially since these students are of color and are from historically underserved communities. Summit Sierra also plans to expand to all four high school grade levels by the 2018–2019 school year, making it a viable alternative to Seattle School District schools. One student may have difficult in one environment but thrive in another. They deserve options.
Wish 3: For APIs to be visible in Seattle Police’s leadership
Seattle Police Department’s leadership should reflect the communities that it serves. While there is some racial diversity in the leadership, there is no API representation.
We urge Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole to rectify this in 2016.
Wish 4: For greater collaboration within the local API community
An API community as rich and diverse as Seattle’s has its share of inter-ethnic friction from time to time. We hope that the near year is one where we can start working together better, focusing on one another’s strengths rather than weaknesses.
Wish 5: Can this streetcar just start running, please?
To end this on a light note: We’ve been watching the construction on the Seattle Streetcar, a project that features a 2.5-mile route that serves six neighborhoods including the ID, for what seems like forever. Construction was completed summer of 2014. After delays in streetcar manufacturing, the project has been in a testing phase ever since. The streetcar’s website (seattlestreetcar.org) states that the grand opening is “TBD.”
While we understand that safety is a foremost priority and are fully in support of that — we also want say that we are pretty ready for this baby to start running. (end)