Mayor Durkan and Council Propose $1.5M Investment for Asian American and Pacific Islander Community

Including $500,000 toward AiPACE new senior care facility for Asian American elders 

Seattle (March 30, 2021) – Together with Council President M. Lorena González and Council Member Teresa Mosqueda, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan is proposing $1.5 million to support older adults and address the increase in hate crimes and bias aimed at the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community in Seattle.  

“We must stand together in Seattle, and across our nation, against acts of hate, racism, xenophobia, and violence targeted at the Asian American Community,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan. “Solutions best come from community, and leaders outlined additional steps that we can take to best support the safety, community, and mental health needs of those in our community and impacted by acts of hate and bias. Together with Council, we have worked to quickly fund the support that is urgently needed.”  

After the hate-motivated killing of six Asian American people in Atlanta and recent hate crimes in Seattle, Mayor Durkan and City Council are proposing several key investments in response to an increase in anti-Asian bias and hate crimes.  

“In the aftermath of the tragic Atlanta shootings, I committed to searching for investments that would support the safety of our Asian-American and Pacific Islander American community”, said Council President Lorena González. “Today, I am thrilled that the City of Seattle is fulfilling our collective obligation to stand with our AAPIA community in words and in actions. This funding will support upstream interventions that strengthen the resilience and increase the safety of the AAPIA community against gender or race-based violence. We must continue to foster and deepen a sense of belonging and community, and together we will continue to partner on ensuring that Seattle is a welcoming city for all.  Thank you to Mayor Durkan and Councilmember Mosqueda for their partnership on this important effort.” 

“We unequivocally condemn the rising anti-Asian hate crimes, stand in solidarity with Seattle’s Asian-American community, and acknowledge the long history of anti-Asian racism locally, yet this alone isn’t enough. These sentiments must be met with much needed resources,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda. “Today’s announcement is a down payment on our efforts to invest in community-centric solutions to address systemic inequity, prioritize the safety of our communities, and foster solidarity, as called for in Council’s solidarity statement with the AAPI community signed earlier this month. Today’s investments must be part of the ongoing response for actions, not just words, as we work towards systematically uprooting racism, xenophobia, and hate from our city.” 

The Councilmembers and Mayor are proposing to provide funds to community organizations that offer counseling and mental health supports, can support community coalition building, and develop innovative strategies that support community and combat hate. Grants will be available for youth led projects that focus on issues of racism, discrimination, and bias. The City also proposes to provide support to businesses impacted by anti-Asian hate, along with funding toward crime prevention work. 

“CISC joined the Coalition Against Hate and Bias in mid-2020 in response to the rise in anti-Asian racism. With the underreporting of hate incidents and crimes, we wanted to provide linguistically and culturally appropriate services for community members to report their experiences and seek assistance”, said Michael Itti, Executive Director of Chinese Information and Service Center (CISC). “In addition to reporting, the coalition members can advocate together and develop community-based strategies in response to hate and bias incidents. Resources to strengthen and expand the coalition are needed to support capacity-building and the inclusion of more languages and ethnic groups.” 

Additional funds will go to strategies to support community wellness and community safety, including bystander training and a public safety campaign.  

“This work is important, and we need the support fast – and for it to come to us in an easily accessible way. Our organization, and many others, have been in quick response mode for over a year – we are already doing the work and supporting our communities. This investment will help continue to help our communities heal and move towards action,” said Maiko Winkler-Chin, Executive Director of Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDPDA) 

The City is also proposing to provide an additional $500,000 to AiPACE, a partnership started by International Community Health Services (ICHS), to construct a new senior care facility on North Beacon Hill.  

“We applaud the Mayor’s office for prioritizing the health and safety of our AAPI elders during this difficult time for our community,” said Heidi Wong, ICHS Foundation Executive Director. “As AAPI elders continue to experience disproportionate impacts of the pandemic, compounded by anti-Asian violence which has plagued our community for generations, ICHS is committed to addressing their immediate needs while developing a long-term solution through the AiPACE project.” 

If you are feeling unsafe or witness suspicious activity please call 911. Language access and assistance are available. A number of local organizations have produced resources for community members to counter misinformation, racism, and discrimination. Chinese Information Service Center (CISC) has produced a number of translated handouts and videos to help individuals report bias incidents.