Chinatown’s merchants and workers are “bound by geography because of unique language and cultural needs,” Lee said, so protecting them from eviction is crucial.
Local protests over the police killing of George Floyd spilled into the International District over the summer, leading to extensive property damage at dozens of Asian-owned stores.
Many merchants share the sentiment, said Maiko Winkler-Chin, executive director at the nonprofit Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority, which works with half of the neighborhood’s 425 small businesses.
In February, activist Sarah Baker, 31, co-founded a Facebook group to share information about and help small shops in the International District.
She said the multigenerational composition of the International District helps to keep it a tight-knit, self-sufficient community — and that this will be a key to its recovery.