There are so many stories about Norm Mineta, 90, who passed away Tuesday, May 3. He was a soft-spoken gentleman who was a part of making U.S. history at multiple junctures. Mineta was “the first” many times over: the first Asian American mayor of a major city, San Jose, California, where he was born and raised. Twenty years ago, the San Jose Airport was named for him. He was the first Asian American cabinet secretary and first and only Democrat in the George W. Bush administration.
A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
NAPCA Launches Anonymous Online Reporting of Anti-Asian Violence Against AAPI Community
On Saturday, Sept. 4, the National Asian Pacific Center of Aging (NAPCA), a national nonprofit that “preserves and promotes the dignity, well-being, and quality of life of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and diverse older adults,” launched an online anonymous form to help report incidents of violence against older members of the AAPI community. Their “in-language online report form” will be available in 29 AAPI languages, and the data collected will be used, they say, to gauge incidents of anti-Asian violence nationwide to help inform policy makers and community leaders.
From NAPCA: “According to a nationwide survey of AAPI adults conducted by NAPCA and its community partners (COMPASS Study, March 2021), 3 in 5 surveyed had experienced discrimination during the height of the pandemic. Yet due to factors such as language barriers and a cultural reluctance to report crimes, data on the scope and reach of violence have been inconsistent and imprecise.
“NAPCA has independently tracked 94 reported incidents of violence against AAPI adults ages 50 and older since February 2020, with 16 deaths and three people critically injured. The number of attacks against Asians is widely believed to be underreported due to cultural reluctance with many older adults being limited English proficient and anxious about involving law enforcement.
“With this anonymous in-language form, we are urging community members to come forward and report the violence they have been either victim or witness to, detailing their accounts in order to better grasp what has been unfolding.” Joon Bang, president and CEO of NAPCA
It is a pleasure to present essays from Mercer Middle School. These students took a journalism class and want to learn more about social justice causes and ways they can make a difference, which comes through in their writing. When they wrote these articles, they were learning about why journalism matters and why it’s important.
A video storytelling campaign was launched at the beginning of this month to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage. “Our Stories Are Your Stories” (OSAYS) is a growing video collection of short oral histories from AAPI people of all walks of life in the greater Seattle area. Coinciding with AAPI Heritage Month, another goal of OSAYS is to help dispel harmful misconceptions about these diverse communities and create empathy as a response to the disturbing trend of anti-Asian violence and xenophobia.
Notable Seattle athletes, artists, actors, and community leaders like Doug Baldwin, Dr. Vin Gupta, Hollis Wong-Wear, Gary Locke, Lana Condor, Yuji Okumoto, Lauren Tran, and more have kicked off the campaign by contributing their stories — and OSAYS expects more to come. The oral histories don’t have strict guidelines but primarily explore the questions, “What does it mean to be Asian American or Pacific Islander?” and “How does identity inform your life?” Anyone from the AAPI community is encouraged to contribute. The OSAYS videos will become part of the Wing Luke Museum’s oral history archives.
(This article is co-published with The Seattle Times.)
Listening to Lynda Wolff, I want to roar at the world to remember her murdered son’s life. Four years ago, Latrel Williams was shot multiple times while returning to his Lakeridge home.
In the aftermath of his death, I spotted no signs at marches acknowledging his life, no public speeches given in his honor, and no politicians furiously spouting his name to earn social justice merits.
But Lynda still lost a son. Latrel Jr. (LJ) lost a father. And I lost a friend.
The first major local protest ignited by the murder of George Floyd swelled in downtown Seattle and started exhibiting elements of violence. It seemed almost predictable when the flummoxed police force began funneling the mostly white crowd of vandals south. Already in coronavirus lockdown, Lei Ann Shiramizu watched it all unfold on television.
Reports Shiramizu heard about police tactics indicated the group was being herded straight into the Chinatown-International District (C-ID). The mounting images being beamed to the public, of busted windows and other forms of vandalism, were like zaps to her psyche.
“My baby is out there,” was the urgent thought that crossed her mind.
Since the beginning of the year, Asian Americans have come increasingly under violent attack. Elders have been assaulted in Chinatowns across the country from Oakland to San Francisco to New York City. In late February, Inglemoor High School Japanese teacher Noriko Nasu and her boyfriend were walking through Seattle’s Chinatown-International District (C-ID) and were attacked without provocation. Nasu was knocked unconscious, and her boyfriend required eight stitches. Asian American community members in Seattle had already been experiencing racial slurs and aggression at increased rates since COVID-19 began in 2020. Then, last week, a 21-year-old white man murdered 8 people at massage parlors 30 miles apart in Atlanta. Six of the victims were Asian women. The businesses were Asian owned.
For the second time this month, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and their allies gathered at Hing Hay Park in Chinatown-International District (CID) to protest the rise in anti-Asian hate in Seattle and across the U.S. This time, protesters came together in response to the Atlanta shootings on Tuesday which took the lives of eight people, six of whom were Asian women: Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Yue, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng. Delaina Ashley Yaun and Paul Andre Michels were also killed in the shooting. Saturday’s midday rally at Hing Hay Park, “Kids vs. Racism,” was organized by 10-year-old Seneca Nguyễn (Tia Nguyen), a fifth grader at Louisa Boren STEM K-8. Nguyen wanted to take a stand by organizing and amplifying a youth message against hate. He felt it was important to hold the protest in the CID. Dozens of children, youth, and young people were in attendance.