Founded in 1967, Wing Luke Museum is a culture-imbued place where Asian-American history is retold through art and informative exhibits. On Sunday 11/10, Pathway members took the opportunity to visit the history center and soak up the rich viewpoints it had to offer.
The Historic Hotel Tour showed the layered stories immigrants had lived. Interns saw the East Kong Yick Building, where many laborers would find a new home, or just stop for a brief respite of a few days.
One exciting aspect of the tour was going into the meeting room and seeing the places where people would come together to relax after a long day. There was a sense of community in the Asian-Pacific community. These people had met criticism and seen racism with their own eyes. They had different experiences with segregation, be it the Chinese Exclusion Act or explicitly-directed racial discrimination.
The tour guide told us about the oppression this community faced. It was hard to hear how such atrocities could be committed in this little “safe bubble of Washington,” but it was more empowering to hear about the fight against them.
In Seattle, the Asian American movement emerged in the 1930s, where successful campaigns against bills that would have made interracial marriage illegal in Washington State brought Japanese, Filipino, and Chinese activists together. Interns learned how Filipino activists took the lead and erased many stereotypes that had been cemented before they could take a stand. It was empowering to hear about leaders from Seattle’s Asian and African American communities coming together to advocate for neighborhood improvement issues and important civil rights advocacy. Hearing about the fight against discrimination made this tour more worthwhile.
In summation, the Historic Hotel Tour gave interns a piece of immigrants’ lives, a very-large kernel of wisdom, and pride for knowing that our freedom-filled life is only possible because of the work that has come before it—the work that has shown discrimination will not be tolerable. The work that immigrants did in the 1900s in Washington. Making history is a dream, but that dream only becomes meaningful when a community makes it together.
Written by Neha Dubhashi