Chinatown/International District task force to address public safety, livability

Hing Hay Park in the Chinatown/International District of Seattle. (Photo by Tracy Hunter via Flickr.)
Hing Hay Park in the Chinatown/International District of Seattle. (Photo by Tracy Hunter via Flickr.)

Five months after the shooting death of International District community activist and leader Donnie Chin, Mayor Ed Murray announced the convening of a task force to address public safety and livability in the neighborhood.

The task force will be co-chaired by Maiko Winkler-Chin, executive director of the Seattle Chinatown-ID Preservation and Development Authority and Tam Nguyen, board president of Friends of Little Saigaon and the owner of Tamarind Tree.

“The Chinatown-International District is one of the most unique neighborhoods in Seattle. We remain a cultural center for many Asian-Pacific Islander communities,” Winkler-Chin said in a prepared statement released by Murray’s office. “We look forward to working with the City and local advocates to identify systemic changes and new ways to improve the livability and vitality of a place many of us consider home.”

While the shooting death of Donnie Chin brought a city-wide spotlight to public safety and livability in Chinatown/International District, those issues are not new to those who live and work in that neighborhood.

Chin founded the International District Emergency Center in the 1970s to address a gap in public safety, often personally responding to assist in emergencies service assistance, patrolling the International District for suspicious and dangerous activity and providing security and first aid at community events in Chinatown.

While the organization was met with skepticism when it was first founded, IDEC eventually won the respect of the Seattle fire and police departments, which started working with the organization.

According to the press release from Murray’s office, the goal of the task force is to develop strategies to improve neighborhood policing and economic development. The task force’s findings are due in Spring of 2016.

The list of people on the task force are:

  • Maiko Winkler-Chin, (Co-Chair), Executive Director, Seattle Chinatown-ID Preservation & Development Authority
  • Tam Nguyen, (Co-Chair), Owner, Tamarind Tree, Board President, Friends of Little Saigon
  • Sharyne Shiu-Thornton, Board Member, Seattle Indian Health Board
  • David Leong, Board President, Greater Seattle Chinese Chamber of Commerce
  • Richard Mar, Board President, International District Emergency Center
  • Minh-Duc Nguyen, Executive Director, Helping Link
  • Sue May Ho, Board President, Chong Wa Benevolent Association
  • Sheila Burrus, Community member, Filipino Am community
  • I-Miun Liu, Business Owner, Oasis Tea Zone, Eastern Café, Board Member CIDBIA
  • Sokha Danh, Economic Development Specialist, SCIDpda
  • Abdi Mohamed, Organizer, Working Washington
  • Zamzam Mohamed, CEO, Voices of Tomorrow
  • Larry Larson, Manager, American Hotel
  • Greg Garcia, Community Impact Manager, United Way
  • Paul Murakami, Property Owner, Nisei Vets
  • Ron Chew, Executive Director, ICHS Foundation
  • Sonny Nguyen, Engagement Coordinator, Washington Bus
  • Karen Yoshitomi, Executive Director, Japanese Cultural & Community Center
  • Alan Lai, Coordinator, Chinese Information & Service Center