On the corner of King Street and 8th Avenue South in the Chinatown-International District sits a new affordable housing development. Named after legendary community activist Robert “Uncle Bob” Santos, Uncle Bob’s Place features a large mural of Santos that overlooks the neighborhood.
A hole was left in the local dance community’s heart when the Massive Monkees (MM) dance crew had to close their Chinatown-International District studio, The Beacon, in May of 2020 due to the pandemic and increases in rent from the property owner. While MM had occupied the space for nearly eight years, they had only met the landlord once since opening that location in 2013. Other factors contributed to the MM crew choosing to leave their original space, including the apartments right above their dance space, which meant their music had to be cut off early. According to Hocine Jouini, who has been a member of the dance crew since 2008, the studio was a boon to the community: Community members would often support local businesses around the CID after attending events or classes.
In September, King County announced plans to build a new shelter for the unhoused in SoDo, near the CID. The plan was highly controversial as there had been little to no outreach from the County to the CID about the proposal before the plan was announced. The County even seemed to avoid community input by scheduling public hearings during weekday work hours, preventing attendance from many working residents.
“Who Keeps Us Safe?” is a podcast by Asian Americans living in Seattle that explores safety, policing, and abolition in our communities and beyond. Join us monthly as we speak with organizers in the Seattle area, and reflect on their work and learnings. We hope that our listeners will use this podcast to begin and/or supplement their own conversations about safety and policing in their own communities. This is a project of PARISOL: Pacific Rim Solidarity Network, a grassroots anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, Hong Konger, Taiwanese, and Chinese* diaspora group based in Seattle. PARISOL is dedicated to local & international solidarity, community building, cultural & politicized learning, abolition, and anti-racist work.
This episode was produced for the podcast Who Keeps Us Safe? and was previously released in February 2022. The production crew is a small volunteer team of community organizers: Andy Allen, Alex Chuang, Jenn Shaffer, and Ryan Fang.
Becoming a Central Home for Totem Star, Red Eagle Soaring, The Rhapsody Project, Whipsmart, and Jackson Street Music Program
by Vee Hua 華婷婷
On the border of Pioneer Square and the Chinatown-International District sits King Street Station, a historic train station constructed between 1904 and 1906. Yet prior to colonization and the forced regrading of Seattle, the location was known to local Native American tribes as dzee-dzee-LAH-letch in Lushootseed, orthe “little crossing-over place.” It was a tidal marsh — plentiful with flounder — adjacent to Coast Salish longhouses on Yesler Way and surrounded by trails where Native Americans from numerous thougvillages fished and intersected with one another.
Seattle Restaurant Week (SRW) is the city’s largest biannual dining promotion celebrating our local restaurant industry and diverse culinary communities. Taking place in the spring and fall, SRW typically features over 200 restaurants, pop-ups, food trucks, caterers, and other small food vendors, all with special curated menus, often at varying price points (from $20 all the way up to $65). Menus feature some of their most popular dishes or some best-kept secrets.
On Friday, Sept. 30, my friends and I sent selfie photos of each other shopping at Viet-Wah, the Vietnamese-owned grocery store located in the Chinatown-International District. It was Viet-Wah’s last day of operations, and we exchanged our favorite memories of the place. It was nostalgic to listen to the music in the background amidst altars with joss sticks and offerings. When I arrived in Seattle in 2007, Viet-Wah was the one place that reminded me of home — they had spices and mixes for Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine. And most importantly, they had everything I needed for hot pot in one store.
(This article was originally published on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
King County Executive Dow Constantine announced on Friday that in response to “community feedback,” the County will abandon plans to provide new shelter beds and a sobering center on vacant land next to the existing 270-bed Salvation Army shelter in SoDo. In a statement, Constantine said, “It is clear that building trust and resolving underlying concerns about the conditions in the community today will take considerable time before we can move forward with any added service capacity.”
(This article was originally published on the International Examiner and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
Some goodbyes are harder than others. For many, this one was heart-wrenching.
On Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, the Viet-Wah Supermarket, an anchor of Seattle’s Southeast Asian refugee and immigrant population for 41 years, closed its 15,000-square-foot flagship store at 1032 S Jackson St.
Residents and business owners of the Chinatown-International District (CID) are just now hearing about a $66.5 million, 6.8-acre project to expand and enhance a shelter that will house over 500 people with support for 50 RVs and a 50-home tiny house village. It was approved by the King County Council in partnership with Seattle and the King County Regional Homeless Authority. For a complex that opens this fall, these decisions were made without any meaningful community outreach or engagement. This follows a long history of policies that have been forced on the CID with no engagement or outreach. This is systemic racism.