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The International Examiner October 4, 2005 0


Filipino vets honored
The Metropolitan King County Council and County Executive Ron Sims recognized the bravery and sacrifice of the more than 200,000 Filipino soldiers who fought in World War Two at the Oct. 3 Council Meeting. October is celebrated nationally as Filipino History Month.

The meeting was held at Council Chambers, 10th Floor of the King County Courthouse. About 15 of these veterans were on hand for the presentation.

Along with the recognition, the Council also urged President George W. Bush and Congress to take action to give Filipino veterans full United States veteran status with military benefits and compensation.

“These men, who grew up while the Philippines were considered a colony of the U.S., fought side-by-side with American soldiers to defeat Japan,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett, sponsor of the recognition. “They were rewarded for their bravery and sacrifice by being relegated to second-class status when it came to veteran’s benefits. We want to honor these men for their service to this County. It is also time for this country to honor the promise made to these men over 60 years ago.”

“Making these men wait is a disgrace,” said Gossett. “My colleagues and I are raising our voices in asking Congress to right this historic wrong and grant these veterans full equity.”

Seattle Foundation awards organizations
The Seattle Foundation announced that it has awarded $1,039,000 in grants to 48 King County nonprofit organizations in third-quarter giving through their Community Grantmaking Program. An additional $23,101 was awarded to six nonprofit organizations outside of King County in Washington state through the Jennie S. Baker Fund. Grants range from $1,500 to $100,000.

Among the grant recipients are Wing Luke Asian Museum and Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority.

“The Seattle Foundation is proud to support the International District and the organizations working to preserve the cultural and ethnic characteristics of the District,” said Phyllis Campbell, president/CEO of The Seattle Foundation. “The ongoing work of the Wing Luke Asian Museum and Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority contribute to the continued development of the neighborhood as a viable and safe community for its residents, businesses and visitors.”

Chinatown ID Candidates Forum
The Chinese/Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, the Chong Wa Benevolent Association, Organization of Chinese Americans and the International District Housing Alliance are sponsoring a “Chinatown International District Candidates Forum” on Wednesday, Oct. 12. The location is Chong Wa Assn. Hall, 522 Seventh Ave. S.

The forum will begin at 5:30 p.m. Benjamin Lee, Seattle Chinese/Chinatown Chamber, will welcome the candidates, along with Doug Chin, Organization Chinese Americans and Stella Chao, International District Housing Alliance.

Invited candidates include Seattle City Council candidates for Positions 2, 4, 6 and 8. The Seattle Mayor candidates, incumbent Greg Nickels and opposing candidate Al Runte, will speak. King County Executive Ron Sims and candidate David Irons are also invited.

Other candidates invited are for Seattle school board members, Port of Seattle and King County Sheriff. Asian Pacific American candidates from around the state may also speak, including Conrad Lee for Bellevue City Council, John Chang for Shoreline City Council and Cindy Ryu for Shoreline City Council.

For information: www.ChineseChamber.net.

Open space issues examined
The graduate community design studio at the University of Washington this fall will be examining open space issues in the Chinatown, Japantown, Little Saigon—International District.

The studio project coincides with the City’s Livable South Downtown Plan that looks at zoning change and future transportation and housing development, among other issues. The project provides a timely opportunity for the community to reflect on issues of development and ways to make the neighborhood a better place to live, work and visit.

In the next few weeks, students from the studio will conduct analysis, observations and interviews in the community. In addition, they will also assemble stakeholder groups to collectively develop open space and urban design initiatives. The goal is to work with neighborhood stakeholders to develop a set of specific design and planning initiatives to help the community maintain and improve its livability and diversity.

Contact jhou@u.washington.edu, or (206) 351-1094.

Leaders call for relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina
On Sept. 29, community leaders called on the government and relief agencies to work more closely with the Asian American community and create a more effective response to meet the needs of the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Asian American relief workers and volunteers report that they have been unable to get timely help and information due to language difficulties and the general disarray of relief efforts. Many Asian American faith-based organizations are providing relief in places like Bayou La Batre, AL, Baton Rouge, LA, and Gulfport, MS but they are now overwhelmed by the need.

“Without the government and the big relief organizations efficiently stepping in, I fear for the mental and physical health of the victims and relief workers,” said Huy Vu Bui, executive director of the National Alliance of Vietnamese American Service Agencies (NAVASA). Vietnamese Americans are among the most affected by Hurricane Katrina, with more than 10,000 of them in Louisiana forced to evacuate to Houston.

The 2000 Census estimates there were a total of 129,975 Asians in three Gulf Coast states. Alabama was home to 40,465, Louisiana had 65,633 Asian Americans, and Mississippi was home to 23,877. Of the Asian American population in these three states, the Vietnamese numbered most with 36,572, followed by Indians (22,630), Chinese (18,913), and Filipinos (14,928). Many of them are refugees and immigrants, some are undocumented.

“The government and those who receive federal funds are required to provide assistance to people with limited English proficiency,” said Karen K. Narasaki, chair of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA). “Language barriers and citizenship status should not be a barrier to receiving critical medical help and long-term assistance.”

The appeals were made in a briefing organized by the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), NCAPA, and NAVASA. It featured an evacuee and leaders of organizations working in the Gulf Coast states like the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), Boat People SOS, the Buddhist Temple in Biloxi, MS, the Vietnamese Martyrs Church of Houston, TX, and the Baptist Church of Bayou La Batre, AL.

“The Gulf Coast region is home to nearly 130,000 Asian Americans and many lived in areas directly affected by Hurricane Katrina,” said Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA), chair of CAPAC. “With Asian American community infrastructure and resources limited throughout the storm area, many victims are relying on faith-based AAPI organizations that lack resources for an extended recovery effort.

“The appeals for help we have heard should compel an immediate government response.”

Congress has been working on legislations to help Katrina’s victims. For example, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3827, Immigration Relief for Hurricane Katrina Victims Act of 2005. The bill has been sent to the Senate for consideration. H.R. 3827, however, provides very little relief for non-immigrants who lost their immigration status as a result of Katrina.

Speakers at the briefing included Congressman Al Green (D-TX), Jon Melegrito of NaFFAA, Pastor Joseph Vu of the Vietnamese Martyrs Church of Houston, TX, the Venerable Thich Hang Dat for the Buddhist Temple of Biloxi, MS, and former New Orleans resident Tich Van Tran.
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