Compiled by Ruth Bayang
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
1. Coronavirus reaches the U.S.
The first case in the country is reported in Washington state. A man in his 30s from Snohomish County, who had traveled to Wuhan, China, was hospitalized at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett with the coronavirus in January. He had no symptoms on his flight or when he arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Jan. 15, 2020, but he contacted doctors on Jan. 19 when he developed a fever and cough. The man had no known underlying medical issues and he recovered.
2. Coronavirus effects
Chinatown-International District (CID) restaurants report precipitous drops in business due to fear and people avoiding the CID due to coronavirus concerns.
Chinese family associations canceled Lunar New Year celebrations.
Gov. Jay Inslee announced a two-week closure of restaurants, bars.
Inslee issues Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.
Major events like the Cherry Blossom Festival went virtual. Dragon Fest was canceled.
3. Marilyn Strickland elected to Congress
She became the first Black person to represent Washington state at the federal level, and the first Korean American woman in its 230-year history. Strickland was the mayor of Tacoma and most recently served as the president and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
4. BLM protests spill into the CID
What started as a peaceful protest against police brutality at Hing Hay Park in late May later turned into chaos when a splinter group of rioters smashed or vandalized windows and destroyed property along Jackson Street. Seattle Public Utilities paid for the materials and crew to board up close to 200 storefronts.
5. CID turns into an art gallery
After the protests, businesses and Seattle Public Utilities boarded up storefronts. Days later, more than 100 artists and volunteers gathered in the CID, to paint murals on these storefronts, creating something beautiful out of unfortunate events.
6. Eng Suey Sun Plaza fire
A fire destroyed the Eng Suey Sun Plaza in June. The structure housed 11 businesses, including the Eng Family Association Headquarters, Kin On Home Care, Sweet & Fresh Bakery, a chiropractor’s office, Shen & Company accounting firm, Suey Sing Tong, Chinese United Association, Hengda Dance Academy & Northwest Wushu, Hoover Law Firm, True North Land Surveying Co., Waters Academy, and Greenland Inc.
Seattle fire investigators do not believe the fire was intentionally set. The estimated loss was $2.5 million.
7. Bellevue College firings
In March, Bellevue College fired its president, Dr. Jerry Weber, and VP of Advancement, Dr. Gayle Barge, following outrage over an altered mural of the Japanese American incarceration.
A reference to anti-Japanese agitation by Eastside businessmen in the accompanying artist description was whited out.
8. School renamed in Al Sugiyama’s honor
South Lake High School changed its name to the Alan T. Sugiyama High School at South Lake.
The school is for students facing challenges, such as substance abuse and teen pregnancy, that might make it more difficult for them to complete their education.
Sugiyama, the first Asian American on the Seattle School Board in the 1990s, devoted his life to giving people “second chances” as citizens. He died after a battle with cancer in January 2017.
9. Cyrus Habib decides to not seek re-election for Lt. Governor; becomes a Jesuit
Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib announced in March that he would not seek re-election, and instead join the Jesuits, a religious order of the Catholic Church known formally as the Society of Jesus. The son of Iranian immigrants, Habib was the first and only Iranian American elected to statewide office in the country.
10. Gary Locke named as interim Bellevue College president
Gary Locke was selected in May as Bellevue College’s interim president in a unanimous vote. The previous president was removed over the defacement of a mural of the Japanese American incarceration.
Ruth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.