The International Examiner’s roots reach deep into the “Asian Movement” that flourished in the 1970s, a time when people  from different ethnic and economic backgrounds chose to unite against oppression to preserve the neighborhood’s character and history.

At the forefront of the movement were fights for better housing, adequate social services, and an overall revitalization of the neighborhood.

Decades later, the neighborhood has proven its resiliency and grown in its diversity and unity. The movement, however, is not over.

Businesses in the Chinatown/International District are currently struggling to survive the duration of light rail construction and parking rate adjustments. Neighborhood organizations and government officials are working to address public safety concerns and make services accessible to English language learners. APIs in Seattle are navigating the recession amidst economic, social, and political disparities.

Nationally, the number of Asian Pacific Americans living below the federal poverty level increased by 38 percent, or more than half a million people, according to a study released by the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development in June. Pacific Islanders make up a majority of those half a million people.

The way forward, I’ve observed in my ongoing education about the neighborhood’s rich history, lies in the community’s ability to come together as one people. And that coming together involves communicating through thoughtful dialogue, disagreements, and consensus.

I’m honored and humbled to be a part of the International Examiner as it enters its 40th year in 2014.

I would like to invite all of our readers to participate in the dialogue through these pages. Please share your concerns, your solutions, and your voices. Send a letter to the editor to [email protected] with the subject line “Letter to the Editor.”

Mahalo.

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