March 20, 2021: Juliana Winters and her son Oliver Winters, age 5, protest anti-Asian hate crimes at a rally called “Kids vs. Racism” at Hing Hay Park in the Chinatown-International District. (Photo by Karen Ducey)

This piece is part of COVID-19 in 2020: A look back on health equity & community resilience in Chinatown-International District. The project was led by Seattle photo-journalist Karen Ducey and former ICHS marketing and communications manager Angela Toda in partnership with International Examiner. The project was funded by Historic South Downtown, King County 4Culture, and Society of Professional Journalists.

As the state’s largest health center serving the Asian Pacific Islander community, ICHS was among the businesses, residents, and organizations in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District caught in anti-Asian sentiment and racial tensions emerging from the pandemic’s early days.

As statewide restrictions at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic further froze social gatherings and businesses, the once bustling sidewalks stood bare and small mom-and-pop stores emptied.

May 30, 2020: A red lamp post is reflected in a broken window of a storefront on Jackson Street in the CID following a night of local protests after the police killing of George Floyd in Minne-apolis. (Photo by Karen Ducey)
May 30, 2020: Shiquan Li, owner of the Dong Sing Market closes early as rumors spread that there could be another night of rioting in the Chinatown-International District. (Photo by Karen Ducey)

When local protests of racial injustice emerged in June 2020 following the murder of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer, businesses in the CID were left damaged and vandalized. The community cleaned up and put up plywood to protect storefronts in the neighborhood. In a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, the community partnered with local artists to paint murals on the plywood boards with messages to bring attention to racial injustice.

May 30, 2020: Chinatown-International District residents Julia Yen and Alan Trang sweep up glass and debris on Jackson Street after a night of protests over the murder of George Floyd became violent. (Photo by Karen Ducey)
July 20, 2020: Chinatown-International District Night Watch volunteers pick up trash as they patrol the neighborhood. (Photo by Karen Ducey)
May 30, 2020: Amy Eng, owner of the Dim Sung King restaurant on 6th and Jackson, talks about how after rioters broke her windows, someone broke in through the back door later that night and stole money from the restaurant. (Photo by Karen Ducey)
July 20, 2020: Chinatown-International District Night Watch volunteers pick up trash as they patrol the neighborhood. (Photo by Karen Ducey)
May 30, 2020: Maintenance crews from SCIDpda board up storefronts on one their buildings on Jackson Street. (Photo by Karen Ducey)
June 9, 2020: Fifth graders from Mr. Daichi Hirata’s class at the Waldorf School, including Kabir Sethi (center) and Mika Kodama-Chew (on ladder) paint a mural of a Chinese lion over the boarded up storefront of the Fortuna Cafe in the Chinatown-International District. The kids were distracted by firemen putting out a fire at the building across the street. (Photo by Karen Ducey)
June 14, 2020: Misha Zadeh and Ben Graham (not pictured) paint a Black Lives Matter mural on the boarded up ICHS Vision Clinic in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. “It’s really cool to see the arts community come together and put effort into such a good cause,” Zadeh said. Several community arts events were held to beautify the boarded up storefronts and support the Black Lives Matter movement. (Photo by Karen Ducey)

The pandemic also brought on a surge of anti-Asian hate incidents as terms like “kung flu” and “Chinese virus” were used in media and by officials at the highest level of government. From March through December 2020, Stop AAPI Hate reported 2,808 incidents against AAPIs – a figure crowdsourced and likely an undercount. In addition, according to the FBI’s Annual Hate Crime Report, there were 7,134 hate crimes in 2019 – a marked increase from the year before. In Washington state, there were 542 hate crimes – the second highest per capita in the country. Rallies in the CID neighborhood brought diverse communities together and called for an end to anti-Asian hate.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color, especially Black, Latinx, and Pacific Islander communities. This was evident in ICHS’ patient population with over 85% people of color. ICHS remains committed to improving health outcomes, dismantling barriers that harm our communities, and fighting against xenophobia and racism.

July 20, 2020: Harry Chan (right), his brother Tommy Quan, and daughter Lisa Chan at the Tai Tung Restaurant in the Chinatown–International District. Chan’s restaurant was broken into three nights in a row in the past week. The Chan family has owned the restaurant since 1935.(Photo by Karen Ducey)
June 14, 2020: Sheila Locke from NastyMix Entertainment spins Asian fusion tunes at Hing Hay Park during a community arts event in the Chinatown-International-District. Dozens of artists came together to paint murals in support of the Black Lives Matter movement on plywood at businesses that had been boarded up because of recent riots. (Photo by Karen Ducey)
March 20, 2021: Helen Wong Taylor speaks through a megaphone with her baby, Jana Taylor, age 4, at the “Kids vs. Racism” rally. (Photo by Karen Ducey)
March 20, 2021: Families and youth protest anti-Asian hate crimes at the “Kids vs. Racism” rally at Hing Hay Park in the Chinatown-International District. (Photo by Karen Ducey).

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