Last updated 1-8-09 at 3:11 p.m.
Let’s make our ID more visible in 2009
We know it’s easy to let generic New Year’s resolutions
fall by the wayside, but this resolution is no
diet plan or get-rich scheme. This year, let us all make a concerted
effort to make our International District a better, more visible, and
Seattle’s ID is unique because it’s not just a “Chinatown.” Chinatown
is only one component of the ID’s rich multiethnic makeup. We
have enclaves of Filipinos, Koreans, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese,
all in a close proximity. We are truly a Pan-Asian community that is
unlike any other in the United States — so let’s make this
known to everyone nationally.
How will we do this? How do we put the spotlight
on this area so that it continues to prosper and
grow? Well, it’s
going to take a lot of hard work.
1. Many of us feel that Obama isn’t utilizing enough of our talents.
We need to make ourselves known as a hotbed of leaders. We need more
APIs in decision-making positions. Washington has the fourth-largest
Asian population of any state, yet we don’t see a proportional
number of Asian Americans in leadership roles.
In contrast, Washington’s Black population, which is smaller
than the Asian population, has had mayors in major cities
like Seattle and Spokane as well as the King County
2. We need to promote our ID. Believe it or not,
this is a financial district that people are underutilizing. There are
seven banks in this area. There are also 3,000 residents and so many
community organizations that we are taking for granted. Other ethnic
communities do not have the resources we have.
3. The story usually goes like this: You are born
in the city. You work hard, go to college, get a good job ... and then
you buy a house in the suburbs. All that is left in Chinatown are the
middle-aged and older. We need to bring young people back. We need to
shed some of our fuddy-duddy image and make the ID known as a place
for families to take their children. A foundation will be built so that
as adults, young people come back and invest their time and talents
back into the ID.
4. Gentrification. Nearly everyone is afraid of
it — and for many good reasons. However, if we resist change too
much, if we resist modernizing too much, we will
end up creating an image of a fortress in which
outsiders are scared to enter. There needs to be
a degree of compromise because the ID needs tourism.
The ID needs to attract people who will come here
to spend money in continuing to sustain our community
5. In the same vein, not only do we need to think
about crossing over with the mainstream, we need
to think about reaching out among our ethnic groups.
tendency for people here to stay enclosed in their
own groups — even
when they need help. Lets make 2009 the year where
we all begin to communicate and help one another.
Lets learn to ask for aid outside our own communities.
use the English language as an excuse. Poor English
is far better than no English and no communication.