This Saturday, Nov. 27, is the annual Chinatown-International District (CID) Small Business Saturday Food Walk. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can visit a variety of small CID businesses to find offerings from retail to food, with each participating with a selection of treats for only $6. The CID Food Walk features items for dozens of CID businesses — from egg rolls and hum bao at ChuMinh Tofu Vegan Deli to cream puffs at Beard Papa’s and discounted merchandise at the Wing Luke Museum.
The Small Business Saturday Food Walk is an event held by the Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Association (CIDBIA), a nonprofit organization based in the CID that does work in public safety, sanitation, marketing, communications, neighborhood events, and advocacy. It is one of 10 Business Improvement Associations throughout the city. During the event, the CIDBIA will be hosting a table at Hing Hay Park where you can ask questions, find recommendations, and receive a bag of small goodies.
“It’s a really good opportunity to just highlight collectively the entire neighborhood, and call out to all the great things that we have besides just a certain cuisine of food,” said Connie Au-Yeung, communications and marketing manager at CIDBIA, in an interview with the South Seattle Emerald. “There’s drinks, and there’s different pastries and retail items, and a really great variety within Chinatown, Japantown, Little Saigon.”
The oldest Asian American theatre group in the Pacific Northwest will put on a 24-hour play festival this Saturday, Nov. 13. Pork Filled Productions’ Resilience! An AAPI 24-Hour Play Festival will showcase seven 10-minute plays, conceived, written, rehearsed, and performed all within 24 hours. Each play will be put on by a team of distinguished Asian American writers, directors, and actors. The online production will be livestreamed on Youtube.
Pork Filled Productions was founded in Seattle in 1998 as an Asian American sketch comedy group dedicated to blending community activism with theatre. While their genres have expanded in years since to include science fiction, noir, fantasy, steampunk, and more, they have continued their mission to imagine fantastical universes informed by diverse perspectives.
Resilience! was conceived by senior producer Kendall Uyeji in response to the surge of Asian hate crimes and the #StopAsianHate movement in the spring of 2021, particularly after the shooting of six massage parlor workers in Atlanta, Georgia.
Uyeji said he felt he wanted to do something to help raise the profile of the movement. “We want to write about the now,” he told the Emerald. “And the best way to write about the now is to literally have [playwrights] write the night of and then produce it the next day.”
The invisibilization of Khmer and Southeast Asian communities poses harm to our collective community. At the same time, we are also working to address health disparities, food insecurity, inability to afford basic needs, rent insecurity, economic vulnerability, and violence against our most vulnerable elderly populations who are Asian/Southeast Asian Americans. The problem is a systemic and structural issue that spans centuries of invalidation, marginalization, and “othering” of Asian/Southeast Asian Americans.
We have seen a huge influx of hate and bias crimes, sentiments, and attitudes against Asian/Southeast Asian Americans in the past two years since the pinnacle of the Trump Administration’s failure to address the pandemic. So many of us have witnessed the deterioration of logic, rationale, and decency in American politics and civil society. When Trump termed COVID-19 the “kung flu” and the “China virus,” it led to an uptick of anti-Asian/Southeast Asian American hate and bias, primarily instigated by right-wing and hate groups.
What I am here to share with you is the harm that is caused by further alienating and hyper-marginalizing Southeast Asian Americans into terrorizing pandemic invisibility, and stories about what a few of our community coalitions and organizations have been working on to address this issue.
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
The life-size metal sculptures of George and Gerard Tsutakawa — father and son — are solid mainstays gracing public parks and fountains across Seattle today. The sculptures are almost always curved, edges rounded. Rarely will you see sharp, angled corners or ridges in these designs. Continuity runs through each individual sculpture — and between the sculptors themselves. A new exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum, titled “Gerard Tsutakawa: Stories Shaped in Bronze” dives into the public art, inspiration, and processes of both father and son.
Born in 1910, George was Nisei, second generation Japanese American. He was never very interested in his studies, “preferring to practice his drawing and calligraphy,” writes his daughter Mayumi Tsutakawa. George received his B.A. from University of Washington (UW) in 1937 and volunteered for the United States Army during WWII, mostly teaching Japanese at a military intelligence school in Minneapolis. During WWII he also visited his relatives interned at the Lake Tahoe internment camps, where he met his future wife Ayame Kyotani.
Both husband and wife were artists in their own right: Kyotani a gifted practitioner of traditional Japanese dance and flower arrangement and George an architect, designer, and sculptor, among other things. After he completed his M.F.A., also at the UW, George took on faculty positions at the School of Architecture and later the School of Art. He would go on to teach for 37 years, make a home with his wife in Mount Baker, and raise four children surrounded by the rhythms and inspirations of his in-home studio. His artistic career would span 60 years, leaving footprints in Japan, Canada, and across the United States, making him a pillar of Seattle’s Asian American heritage.
When it comes to Rainier Beach landmarks, King Donuts is one of the most easily identifiable. Located in a bright blue-and-pink shop at the southwest corner of the Safeway parking lot on Rainier Avenue South, King Donuts houses a laundromat, a teriyaki kitchen, and a donut shop.
It’s a unique and ambitious business model for a relatively small space. Almost as if to reassure passersby, the sprinkled, crowned King Donut mascot painted on the side of the building exclaims, “It’s a Real Place!” from his perch atop a washing machine, a bowl in one hand and chopsticks in the other.
Owned and operated by the Chhuor family, King Donuts will continue to be a special place in the community far into the foreseeable future, but after weathering a pandemic and assessing what they can realistically sustain long-term, the family had to make some hard decisions.
I first entered psychotherapy as an undergraduate business student. I didn’t know what was wrong, just that I felt terrible, lonely, lost. I deeply craved connection with other people, yet, despite my ongoing efforts, felt so alienated and like I didn’t fit in. I tried psychotherapy on a whim by enrolling in a research study through my school’s psychology department.
The study aimed to teach the participants acceptance/mindfulness-based techniques to manage anxiety symptoms. It seemed like a good place to start for me, someone who was a beginner to therapy and had limited financial resources. It was the first time I had experienced being with someone whose primary role was to listen, and it taught me techniques I still use today. Once that study concluded, I was referred to my current therapist who I’ve been seeing for five years. She has become a very important person in my life.