A resolution supporting the economic development and cultural vitality of Seattle’s International District is causing concern in the Filipino American community.
The resolution unanimously passed the Seattle City Council on August 2. So did a resolution removing a reference to Manilatown, reported the International Examiner.
The amendment read “WHEREAS, the area known as Chinatown/International District (C/ID) includes the neighborhoods of Chinatown, Japantown,
historic Manilatown, and Little Saigon.”
Council president Bruce Harrell told Seattlenet the language was changed “based on what we thought was some feedback from the community.” He acknowledged not enough discussion took place with leaders of the Filipino American community.
He said he would introduce a new resolution within a few weeks.
Former Seattle council member Dolores Sibonga was critical of the resolution.
“In doing so, you essentially denied and denigrated my existence and those of Filipino Americans who lived and worked in the ID,” Sibanga said during the public hearing.
A letter from concerned members of the Filipino American community was published in the International Examiner and sent to the City Council. Part of the letter read:
How could the City Council unanimously vote on such a flagrant and racially motivated exclusion to the resolution? Why did the Council resolve to strikethrough Manilatown at Full Council through amendment without dialogue among the Filipino community? This should not have even occurred considering that the council members also sit on multiple commissions for equity and civil rights. The desired city practice of applying a racial equity lens to changes was not engaged. Filipinos do have an active community who celebrates the Carlos Bulosan Memorial on Maynard Ave, the regular patronage of the historic Eastern Café, and we have ongoing Filipino History Walking Tours of the C/ID today. Our community is still alive and celebrating our history, and culture; it is not forgotten by us or others. It should not have been forgotten by the council either. The removal of reference to “historic Manilatown” in the C/ID should have included our voice; instead this reference should have been changed to “historic Filipino Town” within Resolution 31754.
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