Donnie Chin (right) dedicated his life to protecting the Chinatown International District. Community efforts since his murder have put pressure on the city to act on public safety concerns. • Photo by Dean Wong

On Sunday, July 23,  the Chin family and International District Emergency Center (IDEC) will host a vigil in Canton Alley to remember the life and death of Donnie Chin. A gathering will begin at 8:30 p.m. The program will begin at 9:00 p.m.

Chin, considered by many to be a community hero, founded IDEC while still in junior high school. Recognizing that the police and fire departments were slow to respond to calls in the neighborhood, if they came at all, Chin and his friend Dean Wong decided to take matters into their own hands. They learned first aid and martial arts, bought emergency medical equipment, and started responding to calls themselves.

IDEC grew over the years, but Donnie Chin was always its cornerstone. In a historically neglected neighborhood, Chin brought a sense of safety and stability. People were accustomed to seeing him run by with a cargo vest and first aid kit. Chin saved numerous lives over his decades of service, and was usually the first person residents and business owners called when they needed help.

Donnie Chin was killed suddenly in the early hours of the morning on July 23, 2015 by gunfire between two rival gangs. His death came as a shock to the community, triggering grief and anger over the City’s neglect.

Immediately following Chin’s murder, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) announced that it would make the investigation a top priority. SPD officials also expressed confidence that they would be able to identify and apprehend those responsible.

Yet two years after Chin’s murder, the case remains unsolved. The longer the investigation remains open, the more the community fears that justice for Donnie will never become a reality.

Sunday’s vigil will provide an opportunity for community members to gather and remember Chin, to mourn, and to air their frustrations. Speakers will include Donnie’s sister Connie Chin, his best friend Dean Wong, and IDEC leaders.

Since Donnie was not fond of candles, organizers are encouraging participants to bring glow sticks or electronic candles instead. For participants who do bring wax candles, organizers request that these be carried inside jars, mugs, or cups to minimize wax drip and fire risk.

Members of the press are welcome to attend the event, but are kindly asked by the event organizers to be considerate of other participants who are grieving. For more information, click here.

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