May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage month, a time to honor and celebrate the unique contributions these communities are making to help create the country we strive to be.

Metro recognizes the evolution of the demographic term Asian to AANHPI is important, as it more accurately recognizes the varied lived experiences, immigration histories, and effects of colonization on AANHPI communities.

This shift is not merely symbolic. Recognizing and celebrating distinct AANHPI communities is one way we can stand against the continuing hate crimes committed against our friends, co-workers and communities. White supremacy and racism would have us lump all that is AANHPI into a monolithic and dehumanized racial category, when equity invites us to celebrate and wonder at the diversity of these human experiences and cultures.

In King County, over 20 percent of the population identifies as Asian, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander, making King County home to one of the largest AANHPI communities in the country. The impact of this can be seen throughout our region.

You can learn more through reading a brief history and by visiting the acclaimed local Wing Luke Museum. Through stories of both long ago and recent days, we are able to better evaluate how the decisions we make and actions we take either uphold inequitable systems or work to get us closer to our goal of becoming an anti-racist mobility agency.

Seattle is home to a number of historically AANHPI neighborhoods. The most popular of which is Chinatown-International District (CID). The CID is the collective of three distinct neighborhoods: Chinatown, Nihonmachi (Japantown), and Little Saigon. The area also historically included Filipino Town. Our partners HistoryLink offer a self-guided walking tour of the area and is accessible by numerous Metro services and Link light rail.

AANHPI community hubs, businesses and restaurants can be found across our county. Providing access to them is one way Metro honors and celebrates these communities in our everyday work.

I encourage you to explore and learn more about areas like:

  • White Center, a central location for a growing Khmer community (served by Route 120 – future RapidRide H Line)
  • South Asian community hubs in the Crossroads/Overlake neighborhoods on the Eastside (try routes 221, 226, 245, 249, and RapidRide B Line)
  • Korean community hubs in Federal Way (try routes 181 182, 187 and RapidRide A Line) and North Seattle/Shoreline (try routes 301, 330, 348, and RapidRide E Line)

While more dispersed throughout the county, there are also many Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander establishments to frequent. If you need help finding one, the Intentionalist has compiled useful search guides. And be sure to keep an eye out on special events in the Auburn area where we have a growing Marshallese community.

Please join me in celebration of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month by experiencing for yourselves the rich history and culture these communities have brought to our area.