by Yuko Kodama
Beth Takekawa came home one day to a newsletter from her grandmother’s church on her dining table. The priest had written about “this little immigrant lady” in his congregation, and Takekawa read on, wondering who this new person was. She got a jolt when she realized he was writing about her grandmother. To Takekawa, her grandmother was a giant in her household. She says this was the first time she realized how important perspective is in conveying a story.
Beth Takekawa, the executive director of the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, is retiring after nearly 25 years of leadership at this 54-year-old cultural pillar in Seattle’s Chinatown International District (CID). Wartime took the Takekawa family to the Minidoka internment camp in Idaho during WWII. Post-war, the family moved to Minnesota with the help of a Japanese American relocation committee. Minnesota was where Beth grew up, but she gravitated to Seattle, where her family has roots just a few blocks away from the museum.
Continue reading Executive Director Beth Takekawa Retires From Wing Luke Museum
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.”
Continue reading Virtual Event Sunday to Honor Donnie Chin’s Legacy as CID Advocate
by Sharon Maeda
Donnie Chin was one of a kind. In Seattle’s Chinatown International District (CID) he was an icon for decades and for many individuals, he saved their lives when they were faced with sudden health or violent events. Since he was still a teen, he walked the streets of the neighborhood, helping an elderly person who dropped a bag of groceries or fell on the sidewalk. That quickly evolved to administering first aid and alerting police to altercations requiring their presence. Over the years, he built the International District Emergency Center (IDEC) and trained teens and young adults of two generations – many latchkey kids who had no place to go after school. Those youth grew up to be productive members of the community – including one doctor and several other medical professionals. Continue reading Remembering Donnie Chin