Compiled by Peggy Chapman
Northwest Asian Weekly
1. Donnie Chin murder devastates community
Hundreds of people gathered at Hing Hay Park for a memorial July 26, to honor the memory of Donnie Chin, who was devoted to the International District (ID). Chin served as ad hoc security around the ID neighborhood since he was a teenager. He believed that police and medics had slow response times in the ID and so he helped out in his own capacity. Utilizing a police scanner, Chin was a “first responder” to many emergency issues in the ID. He founded and was director of the International District Emergency Center (IDEC). In addition to providing security, Chin helped the homeless and elderly. The IDEC was funded mainly by grants and donations.
Many within and outside of the ID community have expressed condolences for the loss of a great leader. Governor Jay Inslee stated, “[T]he ID lost its savior, its protector, its hero and a big piece of its heart. Donnie Chin was a man who dedicated his life to making Chinatown and the International District safe for everyone.”
2. Hookah lounge controversy
Donnie Chin (see above), a prominent community leader in Seattle’s Asian American community, was shot in the vicinity of Kings Hookah Lounge, a popular hookah bar located in the 800 block of S. Lane Street in the International District. He was pronounced dead by the time he could be transported to Harborview Medical Center.
Chin’s death in proximity to the smoking lounge and within the neighborhood was not an isolated incident of concern. During the past two years, there were numerous cases reported around hookah bars, including two homicides and multiple reports of disturbances and fights. According to the City of Seattle statement, there has been an excess of 100 incidents reported, including six shots fired.
“Far too many smoking lounges attract and sustain illegal, violent activity that has no place in our neighborhoods,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.
With the community and city already bewildered and grieving over Chin’s death, there has been confusion and questions about the role hookah bars play in the line between Chin’s homicide.
3. Ride the Ducks accident
Five international students from North Seattle College were killed when their charter bus was struck in September by a Seattle Ride the Ducks tour vehicle.
“There are still wounds in our heart,” North Seattle College President Warren Brown said at a news conference after the crash. “For someone to come from another country, to learn here, to be excited about an opportunity … and to have this tragedy occur, is painful.”
The students who died were identified as Privando Eduardus Putradanto, 18, of Indonesia; Mami Sato, 36, of Japan; Claudia Derschmidt, 49, of Austria; Runjie Song, 17, of China; and Haram Kim, 20, of South Korea.
Students were on a tour of city landmarks, such as Pike Place Market, before classes were set to begin for the school year.
The Ducks vehicle was ferrying tourists across a crowded Seattle bridge when it suddenly swerved into the students’ oncoming charter bus. The crash also injured dozens of other people.
4. Chinese President Xi visits Seattle
When Chinese President Xi Jinping picked Seattle as his first stop to land in the United States recently, several U.S. cities reacted with disbelief and jealousy, and numerous governors felt slighted. Suddenly, Seattle—one of the northwest corners of the U.S. and farthest away from Washington D.C.—and often dismissed as not a major player in national politics, was getting international attention. Now that China has hailed Xi’s trip as a success, it also realizes that Washington state played a big role in his achieving his agenda. It has proven that our state can handle any heads of state with an ambitious itinerary. The world has cast Seattle in an affirmative light, creating a win-win for both the host and China.
5. Black Lives Matter
On January 19, 2015, a large crowd gathered at Garfield High School in Seattle to rally and march on behalf of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and the continuing struggle that faces the United States as a result of Ferguson and the series of deaths of unarmed black citizens by police officers, including Eric Garner and Mike Brown.
The opening ceremony convened in the Garfield Gymnasium to a packed house where religious leaders and activists spoke in celebration of King’s dream for equality and protested a current climate that reveals racism is still deep in American culture.
Jelani Brown said “Race is a social construct. Nothing more. There is one race. The human race.”
6. Understanding immigration law
Seattle immigration attorneys, through the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Washington Chapter, have been presenting roundtables to help media and community members understand the recent executive action on immigration. In their efforts to lend transparency to these new policies, AILA urges that people seek the help of reliable counsel such as immigration attorneys or contact community agencies such as the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, www.nwirp.org.
There are currently more undocumented people in the U.S. than the government has the funds with which to take or enforce deportation action. The immigration order is meant to help with this problem, one that is a burden on the taxpayer and a source of anxiety for the immigrant whose rights and status are uncertain.
7. Facing deportation
Jenny Choi is 30 years old and has lived most of her life in the United States and she considers the U.S. and Seattle her home.
“As long as I maintained full-time student status, I could legally stay in the United States. And so from 2006 on, I have had to stay in school full-time because I wanted to stay in the U.S. because this is my home, where my family is, and where my friends are.”
But now she is facing deportation.
What are her options? Currently, she has several options, but none are simple (or even possible) due to time constraints and reality restraints. She can get married to a U.S. citizen. Or she can get an employer to support a visa. Or she can return to school. There is some time on her side, but not much (she would have to leave in the new year) so she is hopeful that options, particularly work, will happen.
8. Ana Mari Cauce appointed UW president
It has taken 154 years for the University of Washington to select a woman president.
Ana Mari Cauce is the first woman, the first Latina, and the openly gay president of the University. The UW Regents announced Cauce as the 33rd president of the University on Oct. 13th.
Cauce is known as an insider, beginning her employment as UW faculty since 1986. Cauce became interim president in March 2015, having previously served as provost and executive vice president.
“She (Cauce) is my no. 1 choice,” said Kenyon Chan, chair of the 28-member presidential search committee and UW Bothell Chancellor Emeritus. “The Asian community would be happy (to have Cauce), she understands the issues facing the Asian community.”
9. Asian teen suicides
Christopher “AnhKhoi” Nguyen passed away on April 27. The senior from Cascade High School in Everett, Wash. was only 18 years old and was to graduate the past spring. He was a member of the National Honors Society and took college-level courses at Everett Community College. He was going to attend the University of Washington with enough credits to be a sophomore with the intention of entering the pre-engineering program.
Izabel Laxamana jumped from a freeway overpass in Tacoma on May 30. The 13-year-old left several suicide notes to her family, according to Tacoma Police Department Public Information Officer Loretta Cool. In an e-mail reply, Cool stated that the King County Medical Examiner ruled the death a suicide. Online rumors claimed that Laxamana had committed suicide due to a YouTube video, which her father posted as punishment. In the video, he had her hair cut. More rumors indicated that she was bullied at school.
As friends, family, and teachers mourn and grieve the losses, one wonders about the reasons for someone to take their own life.
10. Resolution for the Chinese Exclusion Act
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed the Chinese Resolution on Aug. 14, which expresses regret for anti-Chinese legislation passed by the Washington Territory and previous Seattle City Councils in the 1800s. The resolution also recognizes the past and continuing contributions of the Chinese to Seattle and reaffirms the City’s commitment to the civil rights of all people, and celebrates the contributions that all immigrants have made to Seattle in the past and present.
The Exclusion Act prevented Chinese citizens from becoming naturalized American citizens or Chinese immigrating to the United States. The law, which lasted 60 years until 1943, encouraged and justified hostilities towards Chinese immigrants residing in the United States and separated families. (end)
Peggy Chapman can be reached at email@example.com.