Providing allyship to fight anti-Asian racism

Supporting businesses in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District is crucial for the Asian community that often feels dismissed.

COVID shutdowns and the rise in anti-Asian discrimination have severely impacted the businesses and community. The uptick in violence toward Asians across the country has many frustrated and demanding change, even prompting some to come forward with their stories.

“This thing has been happening for a long time now, like we got attacked by, we get harassed, we get robbed, we never speak out,” said Trinh Ong, Owner of Mi La Cay Restaurant.

For Trinh Ong, the ugliness of anti-Asian hate has been endured in silence. Ong’s family came to Seattle from Vietnam in 1980. Growing up, Ong never talked about the pain of racism with her parents.

“We want to raise our voice, and I think the culture keep us silent, all the time, afraid, I think we are afraid more, just keep it to ourself whatever happens,” said Ong.

In 1992 Ong and her brother opened Mi La Cay, a Vietnamese- Chinese fusion restaurant in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. The recent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in her neighborhood and across the country is fueling a conversation that Ong can no longer ignore.

“I want to say it to our community out there, if it happens, we speak out, we don’t hold back, and we share so the community know what’s happening because it’s been going on for a long time,” said Ong.

Ong’s business, like so many in the AAPI community, has struggled to survive during the pandemic. Laura Clise, CEO and founder of the Social Purpose Corporation Intentionalist, teamed up with consulting firm Reverb to elevate Asian women-owned small businesses.

“In the same way that it is important to stand up and speak out, when we vote with our dollars, in support of Asian owned and other diverse businesses we’re letting them know we value them and want them to continue to be a part of our communities,” said Clise.

A movement that helps provide allyship and takes meaningful action to fight anti-Asian hate. Giving these businesses a much-needed spotlight to gain support.

“To reassert narratives that celebrate diverse Asian owned small businesses in our community and tell the stories of the people behind them,” said Clise.

Showing up for our neighbors, showing solidarity and showing enough is enough.

“We come here, that’s why we call it United, United States, the color skin doesn’t determine anything, we are here together,” said Ong.

For information on Intentionalist or Mi La Cay: https://intentionalist.com/b/mi-la-cay/