The following is a message sent on August 15, 2016 from the Wing Luke Museum Board of Trustees to the community:
You may have read recent news reports on the state of our Chinatown-International District neighborhood. We wanted to communicate with our supporters directly to let you know how the Wing Luke Museum is faring.
This summer Seattle’s increasing homelessness problems and the clearing out of “The Jungle” resulted in a large illegal encampment just a block away from the museum. It involved tents serving as drug galleries, open-air drug dealing and drug use, and drug-infested garbage piles in the heart of our neighborhood. Parking lots and sidewalks were crowded with illegal activity.
Negative reviews citing safety concerns about the neighborhood appeared on highly-trafficked websites like Trip Advisor just as our regular summer tourist season began. Long-time partner House of Hong closed down, reporting the encampment as a factor in their decision. The recent loss of the neighborhood’s beloved protector Donnie Chin contributes to the neighborhood’s vulnerability. In June, at an emotional all-staff meeting, some said they no longer felt safe coming to work, and irresponsible asking visitors to come visit. The Wing is a significant tourist attraction, educational resource, and community gathering space in a fragile neighborhood, and in July the Museum board came close to closing down operations.
The good news is that in late July, after a report from the mayor’s office, city and state departments joined with neighborhood advocates and social service agencies to clear out the illegal encampments. It took several days but our neighborhood already feels better. We are hopeful that all parties will continue efforts and work towards a safer neighborhood for all. But there is still work to do.
Here’s how you can help move us forward:
Come to The Wing!
Bring family and friends and introduce them to our Museum and our community. Come any time to enjoy the exhibits or come for a special event. Game Day BBQ tours run through September. Let us take you to Little Saigon and Chinatown, regaling you with local APA sports history and filling you with sport food favorites like BBQ meats, skewers, and chicken wings.
The Stars Above: Wrapped in Lullabies exhibition opens on Saturday, August 20 with free admission all day, full of family-friendly activities like art workshops and live music.
Our current Bruce Lee exhibit closes Sunday, September 4 and the new, third Bruce Lee exhibit opens on Saturday, October 1.
Members are invited to the exclusive Preview Bash on Friday, September 30.
Come to the Neighborhood!
Support the many small businesses that have also had a difficult summer. In addition to events at The Wing, upcoming neighborhood events include the screening of Enter the Dragon at the expanded Hing Hay Park on August 27 and the Night Market on September 10.
Spread the Word!
Tell your friends, post on social media, review your visit on your favorite online platforms (Trip Advisor, Yelp, etc). Remind people that despite some troubles, Chinatown-International District remains one of the most vibrant, historic, and culturally diverse neighborhoods in Seattle and we have so much to offer.
In retrospect, it is hard to believe how quickly things deteriorated. Going forward we know we must remain vigilant. We thank all of you, and our entire community. We are especially grateful that The Wing has such a tremendous community of supporters who are invested in the success of our museum and who want to know how to help.
Our profound thanks,
Wing Luke Museum Board of Trustees
Casey Bui, Co-President
Ellen Ferguson, Co-President
Katherine Cheng, Vice President
Mimi Gan, Secretary
Bruce Brundige, Treasurer
Gloria Lung Wakayama, Past President
Misun Chung Gerrick
Pat Norikane Logerwell
Savitha Reddy Pathi