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Harrell, a second generation Japanese American, would be Seattle’s first Asian American Mayor

SEATTLE – In the wake of community gatherings in Seattle denouncing anti-Asian hate, including the murder of six women in the Atlanta area by a white gunman, mayoral candidate and former City Council President Bruce Harrell today announced the support of leading voices in Seattle’s large and diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

Harrell, a second generation Japanese American, announced his campaign hours before the hate-fueled killings in Atlanta, noting in his press conference and launch video the experience of his mother’s family in another era where Asian Americans were singled out for hate. Harrell told the story of his family in more detail in a Seattle Times column.

“My mother was nine years old when her family lost their business, their home and their freedom, and were forcibly removed to an incarceration camp,” said Harrell. “So, for me, these issues of hate and racism are very personal. We must unite around a zero-tolerance policy and call out hate before it leads to violence. We must work with kids and educators in teaching compassion and acceptance. We must set an example for all young people that hate is not an American value, and not to be tolerated in our city and society. We must show that we are better than this.”

Harrell has long been a champion of protecting and lifting Seattle’s Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities, including residents of Asian ancestry. Harrell led City Council efforts to establish anti-bias programs, make needed cultural and community investments, and promote equity and opportunity for youth and immigrant populations.

“Bruce will be an excellent mayor because he has the personal experience and proven record to protect our communities – and unite Seattle around shared values of inclusion and opportunity,” said State Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-Seattle). “I have known Bruce for years as a leader with passion, integrity, and a deep commitment to the AAPI and all marginalized communities.”

“Asian-owned businesses were particularly hard hit over the past year, once the former President began scapegoating and mocking the Asian community,” said Benjamin Lee, Chairman, Greater China Hong Kong Business Association of Washington. “I know Bruce will work overtime to build a dialogue of support, and work tirelessly to end the violence and intimidation in our communities.”

“We learned over the past several years that the best way to fight racism and stereotypes is to elect leaders who look like America, give young people role models and hope, and are in positions of leadership to fight back for all of us,” said U.S. Representative Marilyn Strickland, (WA-10), elected last year as the first Black and Korean-American to represent Washington in Congress. “Bruce Harrell is the mayor Seattle needs at this moment in our national reckoning with structural racism.”

Harrell’s early AAPI endorsements include:

Honorable Marilyn Strickland, US Representative (WA-10), and former Tacoma Mayor
Honorable Sharon Tomiko Santos, 37th LD State Representative
Honorable Cindy Ryu, 32nd LD State Representative
Honorable Conrad Lee, Bellevue City Council, and former Bellevue Mayor
Betty Patu, former Seattle School Board Member
Denise Moriguchi, CEO, Uwajimaya, Inc.
Tay Yoshitani, former CEO, Port of Seattle
Tomio Moriguchi, former CEO, Uwajimaya Inc.
Jamie Asaka
Rita Brogan
Matt Chan
Henry Chen
Phillip Fujii
Danielle Higa and Francis Eugenio
Warren Higa
Taylor Hoang
Frank and Felicita Irigon
Fred Kiga
Elaine Ikoma Ko
Benjamin Lee
Jerry Lee
Perry Lee
Dr. Lawrence Matsuda and Karen Matsuda
Jill Nishi
Paul Patu
Harold Taniguchi
Tony To
John Yasutake
Mike Yasutake
Joan Yoshitomi