Podcast

Seattle’s International District with Ron Chew

Seattle Chinese Community Girls Drill Team
Seattle Chinese Community Girls Drill Team – opening celebration for the streetcar line.    Photo: SDOT (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The past, present, and future of Seattle’s International District with Ron Chew – a lifelong Seattle resident with a long history of socially conscious journalism along with involvement in several labor and social justice organizations.

As is the case with many places around the world, Seattle has an area where residents with international backgrounds tend to cluster. The International District – often referred to as the ID is home to three neighborhoods: Chinatown, Japantown, and Little Saigon.

Little Saigon celebrates Vesak Day, the Buddha's Birthday, or Full Moon Day.
Little Saigon celebrates Vesak Day, the Buddha’s Birthday, or Full Moon Day.    Photo: Canopic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

In addition to his career in journalism and activism, Ron Chew was the Executive Director of the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. Currently, Ron runs Chew Communications, a community history and resource development consulting firm and is the Foundation Director for International Community Health Services. He describes himself as an “oral historian” and a “storyteller.”

Two boys chat and keep their hands warm watching the New Years Dragon and Lions Dance
Two boys chat and keep their hands warm watching the New Years Dragon and Lions Dance.    Photo: Wonderlane (CC BY 2.0)

We dive into the ID and understand the conditions that led to its formation. Was it the result of an organic accumulation of population or was it forced into being by social and political actions? We discuss whether Seattle’s robust growth will be a good force for the ID or will result in the dilution of a vibrant cultural scene.

You can’t frame your future without somehow acknowledging and providing a place for the past to emerge. It provides an emotional connection to who you are.
Hing Loon 2011
Hing Loon restaurant – 2011.    Photo: Ian Lucero (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Episode Links

Chinatown – International District History

Kingdome Protest and HUD March – November, 1972

New Journalism” movement

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian American Experience

International Community Health Services

Chew Communications


Credits
Podcast intro music: “Mister S” by Luc Marcotte
Podcast exit music: “Neogrotesque” by Luc Marcotte
Marquee image on home page:
International District, Seattle” by Curtis Cronn