Art by Monyee Chau

As of April 20, there are 12,282 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Washington state, including 682 deaths, according to the state Department of Health, the Seattle Times reported

President Trump announced a 60-day ban on immigrants seeking to live and work permanently  in the US, and suggested he might expand the order based on the state of the economy. The decision was condemned by Mayor Jenny Durkan, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, King County Executive Constantine, and Seattle City Council President Lorena González. “The President’s newest threat is him yet again scapegoating families and workers to cover up for his administration’s continued mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Durkan in a statement. “It is absolutely despicable that he would use COVID-19 as an excuse to push his xenophobic agenda.” Trump claimed the executive order, which would impact immigrants seeking green cards, will protect American workers affected by the economic impacts of coronavirus through cutting off competition from immigrant workers. Ali Noorani, president of the National Immigration Forum, told the Guardian that the order neglects the fact that immigrants are helping the country persist through the pandemic; Some 17 percent of healthcare workers and 24 percent of direct care workers are immigrants. Most of the US immigration system is already on pause as a result of the pandemic, the Guardian points out. 

On April 21, Gov. Inslee announced his plan to gradually re-open Washington and the economy, the Seattle Times reported. Social distancing measures and restrictions on gatherings will not be lifted by May 4, Inslee said. The plan includes an expansion in testing and gradual re-opening of some businesses while keeping social distancing measures in place. Inslee did not indicate when the stay-at-home order would be lifted, but said decisions like this would be guided by whether COVID-19 cases decrease.

Seattle’s first walk-up coronavirus testing site in south Seattle opens today, the South Seattle Emerald reported, located at the Atlantic City Boat Ramp across from Rainier Beach High School. The new site differs from International Community Health Services drive-up testing sites (located at the International District Clinic and at the Shoreline Clinic) in that those sites are drive-up, while the new one is accessible for those without a car. The site was chosen by the University of Washington school of medicine to address disparities in COVID-19 cases. Their data showed an increase in cases from Black and Latinx patients, and those with limited English proficiency. The site opened at 10 a.m. and will be open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those who want to be tested don’t need to make an appointment, and can register on-site. The site is located at: Atlantic City Boat Ramp, 8702 Seward Park Ave South, Seattle, WA, 98118. You can find more information about the ICHS sites here. Walk-up testing is also available at the Downtown Public Health Center (2124 – 4th Ave., Seattle, WA 98121) — more information here.

The City Council debated, but did not pass, a bill that would temporarily suspend in-person meetings of the International Special Review District (ISRD) Board and other design review boards, allowing Department of Neighborhoods staff to make administrative decisions in place of the board. The goal of the bill is to allow construction projects to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic, and give the City time to set up design review meetings virtually. The bill needed three quarters of the Council to approve it, as it was emergency legislation, but it failed with three no votes from Council members Lisa Herbold, Alex Pedersen, and Tammy Morales. Morales voted no out of concern that the bill would exclude members of the public from the design review process. Eight real estate projects are in progress in the Chinatown International District and only one an affordable housing project, Morales said, and many residents are concerned about gentrification. The concern about access is shared by the CID Coalition, according to a statement released on their website. The City Council will take up the bill again during its next meeting, scheduled for April 27, if not sooner. The International Examiner will continue covering this story as developments continue.

Pride ASIA’s annual celebration is usually held in Hing Hay Park, celebrating the multicultural diversity of LGBTQIA Asian Pacific Islander Americans. For its 9th year however, the celebration will be held virtually on Sunday, May 24, the organization announced in a Facebook post. The decision was made after Seattle Parks and Recreation cancelled public events through June 20. Other Pride events in the Seattle area, including Seattle Pride, Seattle Pridefest and Seattle Trans Pride have also called off in-person celebrations, celebrating them virtually. In addition to being held virtually in May, Pride ASIA will join Seattle Pridefest’s virtual celebration in June. “Pride ASIA recognizes that the Asian American community has been a target of violence following anti-COVID19 sentiments, the Facebook post reads. “So we feel as an organization, a need to address it and provide safe virtual space for our fellow Asian Americans, especially our LGBTQ API brothers and sisters while continuing to celebrate our diversity.” Details about the virtual event, Pride ASIA’s 9th annual celebration, will be announced at a later date. 

Khmer New Year, celebrated by the community throughout April, is the largest and probably one of the most important community gatherings among Khmer people. The impacts of coronavirus have forced the Khmer community to adapt in celebrating, Bunthay Cheam reported in a recent story for the International Examiner. Community members held a virtual three-day New Year celebration streamed on Instagram and Facebook. Community members have also been helping Hmong and Mien flower growers experiencing hardship, organized a project connecting elders and youth, and a Buddhist monk has been connecting with people virtually, providing daily chantings, blessings, and funeral service ceremonies. Read more about all of this here:

International Community Health Services (ICHS) received a $100,000 grant from the Siemens Foundation, to use however it wishes to respond to COVID-19, according to a press release. The Siemens Foundation provided $1.5 million in total to 12 organizations, ICHS among them. The funding will help ICHS deliver care remotely, and help financially at a time when the pandemic has created budget challenges, said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO, in a press release.

InterIm Community Development Association is continuing to help clients virtually through its housing and homelessness prevention program, helping with job opportunities, rental assistance, landlord mediation, and eviction prevention, according to an email newsletter from InterIm. InterIm will hold its spring quarter of the Wilderness Inner-City Leadership Development remotely. The organization has delivered groceries to 400 seniors since March 16. Tenants in InterIm buildings have been offered rent, utility, and food assistance, and information about resources.

Attorney David Liang is offering free legal consulting to community members, Q13 Fox reported. He has helped business owners in the CID, including advising Massive Monkees owner Brysen Angeles on how to get help from the local and federal government during the COVID-19 pandemic, advising small business owners on how to offer financial help to their undocumented workers, and more. Those interested can schedule a free consultation on Liang’s website.

The Wing Luke Museum is inviting community members to share their love for the CIC —  “thoughts, feelings, and dreams” through drawing, song, poetry, love letters, animation or any other form of expression. The pieces will be collected and shared in a digital exhibit. You can share, and see examples of community art, here: https://bit.ly/cid-love

The Stranger asked Sara Porkalob, Seattle performer, writer, activist, actor and director extraordinaire, to sing “On My Own” from Les Miserables, as a message of support for Seattle. You can watch Porkalob’s full video message for Seattle here.

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