First things first: Rest in Power to Ahmaud Arbery. With news of the verdict that the perpetrators of his murder will be held accountable, I am so grateful that Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, has received Justice for Ahmaud. While I never met the Brother, we shared things in common: both Black men, both in our mid-20s, both runners.
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.”
University of Washington (UW) students Josh Williams, Cassidy McGee, Alyssa Kearns, Sandra Li, and Dionica Sy were placed in a project group for their two-quarter Foster School of Business course called “Creating a Company Class,” which began last September. After witnessing a 2020 packed with various social movements sustained by community organizations, they chose to create a book called Nourish, a collection of short stories, photos, and recipes from 10 local Seattle organizers.