SEATTLE - Local civil rights organizations are calling for more help and resources to combat violence impacting Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities in Washington.
They say the racist vandalism that recently struck the historic Wing Luke Museum in Seattle's Chinatown-International District highlights deeper concerns among neighborhoods with Asian American residents.
Police Wait Times
"It was so loud that it was actually shaking the seats in the theater," said Stan Shikuma, Co-President of the Japanese American Citizens League Greater Seattle Chapter.
Shikuma was taking an after-hours tour at the museum with another social justice group, when police say Craig Milne used a sledgehammer to shatter nine windows at the museum on the night of Sept. 14.
Shikuma and others kept Milne at the scene in Canton Alley, but say they waited more than 50 minutes for police to arrive.
"There were at least 5 calls to 911, and I think at the end, they told folks not to call about it anymore."
Seattle Police say after the initial call came at 5:22 pm and officers arrived at 6:14 pm.
Shikuma says this is part of a broader "pattern of neglect" when it comes to Asian-American communities crying out for help.
This summer, SPD says there have been at least 14 home invasions where burglars targeted homeowners of Asian descent in South Seattle. In some cases, these suspects even threatened children.
SPD acknowledged that in some cases, there had been a 15 to 20-minute delay in reporting the crimes, due to language barriers.
"She had limited value"
In September, body camera video of Seattle Police Officer Daniel Auderer sparked worldwide outrage after he was heard laughing and joking about 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula, in part saying "She was 26 anyway, she had limited value."
Kandula was a grad student from India that was hit and killed by a Seattle PD patrol car in January 2023.
The culmination of these incidents has local civil rights organizations calling for more accountability and help from Seattle city leaders in this new petition.
The petition is addressed to Mayor Bruce Harrell, City Attorney Ann Davison, and CM Tammy Morales and requests the following:
1. Immediately assign two community service officers/safety coordinators to assist south Seattle residents and work with community organizations
2. The Mayor and Police Chief hold a press conference in the CID immediately to state their support of the CID and the API Community, and their zero tolerance for any anti-Asian activity throughout the City
3. Publish safety tips in multiple API languages safety tips in API newspapers and the media
4. Fund two safety coordinators for South Seattle
5. Convene a public safety task force to work collaboratively with our impacted communities
6. Refund youth programs like Seattle Youth Initiatives that can prevent and redirect youth away from crime towards positive pursuits
"So if you go to Medina, Mercer Island, Queen Anne, you don’t see a cop car on every corner, said Shikuma. "They’re very safe areas, because they have more resources. They have better schools, better parks, cleaner streets, safer sidewalks, and we would like to see that, some of that at least in the CID and south end."
So far, the petition has the support of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, Seattle, Filipino American Political Action Group of WA, Japanese American Citizens League Greater Seattle Chapter and OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates of Greater Seattle, but Connie So says more are interested in joining.
"Asian Americans will have to come together, and we welcome all allies and supporters who had enough of all this violence." said Connie So, President of OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates of Greater Seattle.