Staying Afloat: How Children of Immigrants Are Helping Family Restaurants Weather the Pandemic

I’ve been working on this story for a month about 1st/2nd generation kids who’ve been helping immigrant parents keep family restaurants afloat during covid. As the child of an immigrant myself, this piece holds a really special place in my heart. Gratitude to Elaine Pang (New Star Seafood Restaurant), Carol Xie (Purple Dot Cafe), Michelle Can (Dim Sum King), Wilson Chan (T&T Seafood Restaurant), and Supo Techagumthorn (Chili Basil Thai Restaurant) for sharing their pandemic journeys with me. An inspiration!

Safety Not Stigma: A Pandemic Portrait Campaign to Fight Racism

Earlier this month I published 6 of my COVID-19 Safety Not Stigma portraits in the International Examiner’s special BIG issue. This week, I published 7 additional portraits in the South Seattle Emerald. It’s been really special to see the images get out there and do their work providing anti-racist counter narratives during the pandemic. I continue to be deeply grateful for the community members who have allowed me to share their images and stories. There’s more though! In total, I’ve actually photographed 21 portrait sets, so keep you eye out of the others…

COVID-19 Safety Not Stigma: Kert

The Covid-19 pandemic has not brought about racism and inequity, it has exposed it. Our Government has failed us. Our Police have oppressed us. Our School District only shames us. Our fighting is nothing new. There is a long history of activism in so many Communities of Color. I have been inspired by those who came before us, who have laid the path for us to walk on. We as an ENTIRE COMMUNITY OF COLOR must stand alongside each other, take the baton, and SPRINT for change.

KERT LIN

Trigger warning: mention of murder

On Monday, George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was horrifically killed by white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Bystanders begged Chauvin to stop as fellow officer Tou Thao, an Asian man, watched and did nothing. Outrage and protests have swept across the nation at the loss of yet another Black life to state violence, especially in the midst of a pandemic that is already disproportionately claiming Black lives. Meanwhile, the image of officer Thao being willfully complicit in Floyd’s murder has blatantly reminded Asian Americans that though we are facing increased hate for Covid-19, we still have to confront the dangerous anti-blackness running rampant in our communities. At a time when we need to come together more than ever, it’s devastating to see racism, violence, and death getting louder instead. Please, please do better everyone. Precious, invaluable human lives are at stake. You can help by sharing. Thank you.

I am Chinese Korean American
I am Seattle
I am more than just me
I am part of this community

Kert

My name is Kert Lin. I was born and raised in Seattle…both Seattles. I went to elementary school in the Central District, then went to middle and high school in the North End. I went from the top of the class to barely staying afloat. I knew that was when I wanted to work with youth in ignored communities. That journey has led me back to become a teacher in the very classroom I sat in. For far too long, we have been ignored, brushed aside and undervalued. I strict to listen to, understand, advocate for and ultimately empower our community.

[Kert recently made Seattle headlines after being subjected to a racist tirade by three men outside Home Depot. Store management and police did nothing. When I asked him to participate in this campaign he swiftly agreed and showed up for photographs with a homemade George Floyd face mask.]

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COVID-19 Safety Not Stigma: Tracy

This moment in time is similar to Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower. We are witnessing the expansion of the caste system of wellness in the US. We have to BE the community we need and support each other.

TRACY L. STEWART

The US has been willfully slow collecting racial data on the coronavirus but what’s been uncovered keeps painting a bleak picture. Black people are 4 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 and 3.5 times more likely to die from it than white people. Too many Americans are blaming Black people for dying from the virus (for having diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) and failing to take into account the racism that made African Americans more vulnerable to infection in the first place. Meanwhile, a Louisiana police officer made headlines this week after posting on Facebook it was “unfortunate” all African Americans weren’t killed by the pandemic. He was fired. Apparently, it can’t be said enough: BIAS AND HATE WILL NOT BEAT COVID BUT COMING TOGETHER WILL. Discrimination is making the pandemic worse. You can help. Please share. Thank you.

i am in collective
i am helping fox to stay safe
May all beings be well and safe

Tracy

Pictured: Tracy L. Stewart is an engaged Buddhist, mental health therapist, and co-director of Gathering Roots Retreat and Wellness Center. She believes that all BIPOC folx need safe spaces for wellness and witnessing. Gathering Roots, in partnership with Covid-19 Mutuail Aid Seattle has been making free masks for health, grocery, shelter and all kinds of workers and community. The collective has sewn and distributed hundreds of masks to the community since the beginning of the first US outbreak in King County, Washington.

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COVID-19 Safety Not Stigma Featured in International Examiner’s limited edition BIG ISSUE

COVID-19 Safety Not Stigma is in the International Examiner! The International Examiner has serviced the API community for almost 50 years and is the only media that provides free community-based Asian Pacific Islander news in Washington State. Covid has been really tough on this historic publication. Ad revenues were slashed with event cancellations and the IE was not able to publish a regular print issue in April. So, for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, they’re holding a very special fundraiser. If you donate $100 or more, you will get a limited edition BIG ISSUE mailed to you with tons of cool print content (including my photo essay!). Please consider making a donation, uplifting API representation, and supporting community journalists like me. THANK YOU SO MUCH

How a Facebook Group Supporting Seattle’s Chinatown Became a COVID-19 Community Movement


Support the ID – Community United
 has been such a beacon to me during the pandemic. Seeing thousands of folks show up, on and then offline, to support small POC-owned business (and flower farmers!) has warmed my heart more than I can say. It was an honor to write this piece for the South Seattle Emerald featuring interviews with cofounders Bill Tashima and Sarah E Baker. Thank you Bill and Sarah for everything you do! And thanks to all the members of Support the ID- Community United for the incredible support you give!!! 💖

COVID-19 Safety Not Stigma: Vic

A man followed the Chinese-American doctor from the Boston hospital, spewing a profanity-laced racist tirade as she walked to the subway. “Why are you Chinese people killing everyone?” Li recalled the man shouting. “What is wrong with you? Why the f— are you killing us?”

TRACY JAN for the Washington Post

Yesterday, journalist Tracy Jan published a poignant story in the Washington Post about racism Asian American doctors and nurses have been facing on the frontlines of the pandemic. Healthcare workers report patients insulting them or refusing to be seen by them, then being followed when they leave work to go home. And this is just a snapshot of what Asian Americans continue to face across the nation. Others report being spat on, subjected to racial slurs, shunned for wearing masks, or even assaulted. IMPACT Bay Area is offering online trainings for AAPI folks to help us stay safe during racist harassment.The 90-minute classes introduce skills like adrenaline management, de-escalation, and verbal boundary setting, as well as bystander intervention. Upcoming classes are tonight May 20 (register here) and Sun May 31 (register here), at 6:30p PST. Registration required. You can help. Please share. Thank you.

I am strong.
I am Asian American.
I am resilient.

Vic

Pictured: Vic was born and raised on Seattle/Duwamish land, by a family of Teochew-Hakka Chinese boat refugees from Vietnam. She is a deeply curious human who is trying to make her first lo-fi song using Teochew and Hakka dialects of Chinese. Vic just finished watching Naruto Shippuden (500 episodes) and is mining Shonen/Shoujo anime for transformative justice lessons.

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Photojournal: New Normal

Today an order by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine goes into effect mandating that all Seattle and King County residents wear face coverings over their mouth and noses while inside businesses or public transit. Face coverings must also be worn outside where social distancing isn’t possible. In many Asian countries (like Taiwan where my family is from), mask-wearing for health and safety has long been a cultural norm. But how will Americans deal with this unfamiliar new normal?

Asian grocery store chain Uwajimaya starts requiring face coverings in all their locations pre-emptively on May 11, 2020.
Plexiglass barriers to protect workers, like those seen here to protect cashiers at Renton Uwajimaya, become an increasingly common sight.
As re-opening begins, businesses try to adapt to the times and keep their patrons safe. At T&T Seafood in Edmonds, chairs are organized to space customers at least 6-feet apart when ordering and picking up takeout.
Signs at Kubota Garden in South Seattle warn visitors to maintain safe social distance, avoid congregating in groups, and keep moving.
300-acre Seward Park in South Seattle is usually swarming with cars, bikes, and other wheeled vehicles. But in the late stages of quarantine, the parking lot has been closed for weeks and the 2.6-mile loop around the park peninsula has been restricted to pedestrians only to minimize crowding.

COVID-19 Safety Not Stigma: Nikki

Systemic oppression is always there, but it usually goes on unnoticed, like the humming sound from the fridge or heater –– it’s in the background. COVID-19 brings racism to the foreground and exposes existing inequities. I’m hoping as people feel angered by the racist incidents, that we would also look into the structures that uphold racism and inequities and work to take them down, so that the world after the pandemic can be truly transformed.

NIKKI CHÂU

On Monday, President Trump snapped at Chinese American reporter Weijia Jiang during a press conference, telling her she “should ask China” her question. The same day, rock star Bryan Adams posted a xenophobic rant to Instagram, “Thanks to some bat eating, wet market animal selling, virus making greedy bastards, the whole world is now on hold.” Increased racist rhetoric is leading to increased violence. People of Asian descent around the world are reporting more attacks, beatings, and violent bullying. In Canada, three assaults in eight days targeted Asian women wearing masks. One sociologist at the University of Manchester has begun studying “maskaphobia,” discrimination and racism against people wearing face masks. We can fight this racism with counternarratives and positive images like the ones here. You can help. Please share. Thank you.

I am resourceful
I am versatile
I am joyful
I am ever-changing
I am impatient

Nikki

Pictured: “Nikki” Châu, or Châu Ngọc Trân, is a child of the Phạm, Trần, and Châu families, a child of the foggy hills of the K’Ho, Churu, and Maa peoples, and a child of the waterways of Central Việt Nam that connect to the Coast Salish via the Pacific Ocean. Nikki is dedicated to the lifelong work of learning and advocating for a world without systemic, interpersonal, and internalized violence. She has worked in UX Design and teaching yoga. She is an avid fan of xianxia, cats, durian, and instant noodle.

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Mother’s Day #SolidarityFlowers Support Hmong Farmers and Those Excluded From Coronavirus Relief

Throughout this coronavirus pandemic it’s been hard for me to feel positive about anything. I’m deeply frustrated with inadequate government response and the refusal of so many Americans to follow safety protocols. But THEN I have the chance to be on the ground and follow incredible grassroots efforts like Solidarity Flowers that provide covid relief by/for our local communities of color. And I feel a gazillion times better. Shout out to all the folks on the ground who don’t wait for inequitable US systems to protect their communities and take survival/resilience into their own hands–as they always have.