Tag Archives: Chinatown-International District

New BIPOC Business Weaves Diverse Arts, Culture, History Into Design

by Patranya Bhoolsuwan

(This article originally appeared on International Examiner and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


“We have often looked around and asked, ‘Where are the Black and Brown people working, and where are the Black and Brown clients?’ Because of this, we have been really intentional that our clientele represents who we are.”

This is more than just a business motto for Sonia Lynn-Abenojar and Sergio Max Legon-Talamoni, the cofounders of La Union Studio, an architecture, interior, and design consultancy. The (newly married) husband and wife team have taken their passion for architecture and design, along with their love for the diverse communities of the Pacific Northwest, to create a business that reflects who they are as individuals and entrepreneurs.

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CID Saturday Food Walk Features Small Businesses and Delicious Eats

by Amanda Ong


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.”

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Love, Mutual Aid, and Humanity at ChuMinh Tofu

by Johnny Fikru and Johnny Mao


It is no accident that ChuMinh Tofu still stands tall in a spot that other businesses have long since vacated. 

To date, Thanh-Nga “Tanya” Nguyễn and her staff have held down the spot on South Jackson Street for 10 years. Tanya’s journey to ChuMinh has involved a myriad of pathways. Medical school in Vietnam, biochemistry, a mindfulness in Buddhism, a passion for tofu, and a culture of caring — all manifest into the language of love present at ChuMinh to this day: food and mutual aid.

“I met Tanya years ago — I would come to ChuMinh Tofu and buy meals for community meetings. In the era I was raised in, banh mi was part of the diet at community meetings,” said organizer Johnny Fikru. “As I walked inside trying to determine what I wanted to eat, I was struck by the warm presence of Tanya. Anyone that’s ever been lucky enough to feel that energy knows exactly what I’m talking about. It’s an inviting and warm presence. It’s authentic. It’s caring. It is peaceful. I was welcomed in a way that I haven’t felt at a restaurant, and it felt so great.” 

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NEWS GLEAMS: Help Out at T’Challaween 2021, Child Care Financial Assistance, & More

curated by Emerald Staff

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!


T’Challaween 2020 volunteers throw candy to costumed paraders. (Photo: Susan Fried)

T’Challaween 2021 Seeks Volunteers, Sponsorships, & Candy!

This year’s “T’Challaween: A Tribute to Our Heroes & Role Models” will take place on Saturday, Oct. 30, from 1–4 p.m. and will feature a one-mile, socially distant, COVID-safe costume parade along the Beacon Hill Greenway from South College Street to the South Spokane Street entrance to Jefferson Park on Beacon Hill. Candy tossers will be stationed along the way to load up paraders with sweetness! (Masks will be required again this year.)

Last year, the community turned out to make our inaugural event possible and we need your help to make it happen again! We have multiple volunteer opportunities, including volunteer coordination, candy tossers, event ambassadors, floaters, set-up/tear-down crew, and there’s even still room on the planning committee and plenty to do! Shoot us an email to come on board. 

We also have sponsorship opportunities for small and large businesses and organizations. Get your name/logo on T’Challaween promotional materials — physical and digital — mentions in articles from the South Seattle Emerald and tags on our social media channels where we’ll also link to your website. We’ll do everything we can to make sure the whole world knows that we couldn’t have done this without your support! Email us today to inquire about sponsoring T’Challaween 2021!  Last year’s partners and sponsors included Rainier Avenue Radio, The Station, Bar del Corso, Converge Media, Beacon Business Alliance, Beacon Hill Council, Urban Feed & Garden, Jump Start (organizational development services), Beacon Arts, Practically Apparent, Feed the People Plaza, Hello Bicycle, and the ACLU of Washington.  

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‘Hai! Japantown 2021’: Honoring the Past and Reviving the Present

by Sharon Ho Chang


There are still a couple of weeks left to enjoy the fifth annual “Hai! Japantown,” a 20-day summer festival celebrating Seattle’s historic Nihonmachi or Japantown. The festival offers a unique and important opportunity to learn about and support the revival of what was once the West Coast’s second-largest Japanese American community.

“‘Hai! Japantown’ is important because it shows that the spirit of Japantown is still alive,” said Lei Ann Shiramizu, former co-owner of Momo, a cornerstone of Seattle’s Japantown, which just closed last September after 13 years. She has been involved in “Hai! Japantown” from the start (in fact she and her husband named it) and is helping manage social media and the calendar of events for this year’s festival.

“It’s like the Japanese saying, you know, ‘Fall down seven times, get up eight.’ Even during this very, very challenging year, the businesses have managed to stay alive. And not only that, they have continued to thrive because we have some of the small businesses taken over by the next generation … that has infused these businesses or these spaces with young energy and new ideas and it’s wonderful.”

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PHOTO ESSAY: Community Gathers for Two-Day ‘Welcome Back’ Celebration at Hing Hay Park

by Ronnie Estoque


The Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area (CIDBIA) and the City of Seattle collaborated to host a celebration of local culture and food at Hing Park on Saturday, July 17, and Sunday, July 18. The weekend was also the inaugural event of “Welcome Back Weeks,” which was organized by the City of Seattle with the goal of bringing small businesses, workers, and visitors back to the downtown area after nearly a year and a half of restrictions. As part of “Welcome Back Weeks,” over $300,000 has been invested into small businesses, artists, and nonprofits , which all have experienced significant hardship during the pandemic. 

The two-day event featured live music and performances from local artists from the community, which attracted sizable crowds. The event also offered attendees the opportunity to receive either a Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which was administered by representatives from the Seattle Fire Department (SFD). The CIDBIA will be hosting another Summer CID Food Walk from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 31. Events such as this have been planned to spur more community support for locally owned restaurants and businesses that are rebounding from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

This Saturday, July 24, “Welcome Back Weeks” will continue with an event starting at 10:30 a.m. at Pioneer Square, which will be followed up the next day at Westlake starting at 11 a.m. For more information about “Welcome Back Weeks,” visit the Office of the Mayor’s “Seattle’s Equitable Recovery” webpage.

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PHOTO ESSAY: Dragon Fest Food Walk Showcases Local Asian Cuisine

by Ronnie Estoque


The smoldering heat did not deter Dragon Fest Food Walk attendees from visiting a variety of Asian restaurants on Saturday, June 26,  in Chinatown-International District. The event featured Asian cuisine deals ranging from $2 to $8, and lasted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Previous Dragon Fest events have featured restaurants with food stands and merchants lined alongside South King Street, but this year a food walk was deemed more reasonable due to COVID-19 and the heat by the Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area (CIDBIA), who organized the event. CIDBIA is planning several more food walks throughout the summer in the neighborhood to spur more community support for locally owned restaurants that are rebounding from the devastating economic impacts of the pandemic.

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Remembering Khoa Pham, Little Saigon Business Owner and Community Champion

by Chetanya Robinson

(This article was previously published at International Examiner and has been reprinted with permission.)


The City of Seattle declared April 21 Khoa Pham Day, in honor of his work as a small business owner, activist, and community leader dedicated to caring for Little Saigon and beyond.

Pham passed away at the end of March of a heart attack, said his sister Yenvy Pham. He was 35 years old. 

After he graduated from college around 2008, Pham helped his family manage the Pho Bac restaurant business. “Khoa served as the chief financial officer of the Pho Bac Cooperation and was instrumental in the growth of the business in the past 13 years,” wrote Pham’s family in a tribute for his memorial service.

Pham’s family and friends remember him as a passionate advocate for the neighborhood, its people and businesses. A person who put others first, and a warm presence who loved bringing people together.

“He was always in the neighborhood, he was always doing things, he was always hanging out, and naturally was always there to help when things came up,” said his sister Yenvy.

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Is Seattle Ready for a Cultural Space Renaissance?

by Beverly Aarons


It’s 1967, and tucked inside a half-storefront in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, a tiny cultural space is born — Wing Luke Museum. Now, in 2021, that once diminutive cultural space resides in a massive 60,000 square foot building, home to over 18,000 objects, including artifacts, photographs, documents, books, and oral histories. Wing Luke is a prototype of what BIPOC cultural and artistic communities can create through Seattle’s new Cultural Space Agency PDA

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Virtual Event Sunday to Honor Donnie Chin’s Legacy as CID Advocate

by Ronnie Estoque


The recent rise in violent attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) nationally has galvanized community organizers, old and new, to take a stand for justice. History shows us that such hate-fueled violence is not new in any way, and activist legacies left by the likes of Seattle’s Chinatown-International District’s (CID) Donnie Chin continue to inspire the next generation of young AAPIs to organize and protect those most targeted and vulnerable in our neighborhoods.

Donnie Chin was a respected Seattle Asian American activist and organizer. Chin left his impact on the CID community through the establishment of the International District Emergency Center (IDEC), which started in 1968 as the Asians for Unity Emergency Squad. He was inspired by the Black Panther Party to support the CID community with a block watch patrol, free emergency medical services, de-escalation, substance-abuse and mental health check-ins that city departments failed to provide.  

“Donnie Chin was a selfless defender of this Chinatown-International District community,” said Robert Fisher, Collections Manager at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. “He spent his entire life helping others and the community. His daily presence is missed even more today.”

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