Seattle City Council candidate Tanya Woo • Graphic by Alexa Strabuk 譚文曠

Tanya Woo already knows how to do the work that is required of the Seattle City Council District 2 position that she is running for. She has been deeply involved with community in real time — such as four years of voluntary Night Patrol in the Chinatown International District (CID), checking on community business safety, picking up needles and trash, and supplying the unhoused in the area with water, food, and even Narcan when needed.

Woo has won the trust and appreciation of that sector of the city, as evidenced during an ill-advised King County plan last year to build a mega homeless center next to the CID, where there are already 19 shelters in the neighborhood. She listened to the area’s residents and the small business community, helping them voice their need for public safety measures. No one else could have rallied 40-50 Chinese elders to march to the City Council and King County Council meetings to testify with translators, voicing their articulate concerns and calls to protect their vulnerable community.

Courageous strength was also demonstrated in the aftermath of South Seattle shooting crimes, when Woo showed up during meetings and press conferences that were organized by those constituents. One South Seattle leader commented to news reporters that the current Councilmember Tammy Morales, was not even invited, since Morales has demonstrated with her past actions, that she does not show up and has not helped or responded to South Seattle neighborhood concerns. Morales in an earlier City Council action, voted to defund the Police by 50%. Tanya Woo, on the other hand, connected one of the home invasion victims to resources for his injuries when the City did not respond.

The Louisa Hotel, Woo’s family-owned business in the CID, was devastated by a fire several years ago. She learned the complex tasks of policies and permits needed and provided leadership to restore the building into an affordable workforce housing facility with commercial businesses at ground level.

During the hotel renovation work, a historic mural was discovered on a stairway wall, leading from street level to the basement. This was evidence that during an earlier era — of Chinese restaurants serving as jazz clubs to a predominantly Black clientele — the Louisa Hotel was one of those historic spaces. Woo immediately took action to preserve this historic mural treasure.

Woo grew up on Beacon Hill and resides in Rainier Beach in District 2, so she understands the South Seattle area. Her Chinese family arrived in Seattle during the late 1880s and has lived and worked in the CID and South Seattle neighborhoods since that time. This is a candidate whose roots, history, interest, and works have long been established within the neighborhoods representing District 2. 

Woo’s commitment and concern for our area is demonstrated by her attendance at multiple community meetings and press conferences held in Little Saigon, Beacon Hill, the CID, and South Seattle. With dangerous crimes against Asian Americans increasing, not only hate crimes, but numerous home invasions where families were terrorized and robbed of money and valuables, we need a strong and committed leader on City Council to be responsive. To be the voice of the underserved communities in South Seattle.

The September 14th violent attack on the Wing Luke Museum by a white man wielding a sledge hammer is a recent example of ongoing crimes against vulnerable neighborhoods. Woo not only showed up at the crime scene that evening, but took photos which were published the next day in the Northwest Asian Weekly, before any TV or Times news stories.

Tanya Woo has consistently demonstrated fearless strength, action, and leadership.  We must not lose this opportunity to get a leader in government who shows up, listens, supports, and will follow through with dedicated action. Contact your family and friends in District 2 and tell them to vote Tanya Woo!

Bettie Luke is a diversity trainer for education, government and business. She collaborates with social service and Asian Pacific American (APA) community groups, advocating for social justice, civil rights and equity issues. She has been involved with prevention and reduction of racism, sexism, other negative “isms” and presented on multicultural and APA cultural elements and community histories including topics related to pan Asian American and Chinese America. 

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