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Equitable Development Initiative Projects Share Their Stories of Service to the Community

For Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, the Office of Planning and Community Development has partnered with youth filmmakers to create videos of two of our Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) projects. These videos seek to  uplift, empower, and educate  about the value of these community-led projects in a time when information on local resources can be scarce, especially during this current pandemic and increased xenophobia towards AAPI communities. 

“In Seattle, we are committed to empowering the AAPI community, embracing their vision for a positive future in Seattle, and lifting up their voices and stories,” says Rico Quirindongo, OPCD Interim Director. “We must respond to racial injustice and violence by honoring and recognizing the value of our many AAPI cultures — and by investing the City’s time, energies, and resources. The City as an institution has played a role in causing harm to the AAPI community, and we must challenge ourselves to repair past harm and prioritize healing practices in our future work with this community.”

Cham Refugees Community of Seattle video, courtesy of Remove the Gap Productions.

The Cham Refugees Community of Seattle is a nonprofit organization that provides Islamic educational, social, and cultural relevant services to Cham and other ethnic minorities in South Seattle and South King County for over 30 years. The organization plans to upgrade their existing location in South Seattle into a 12,000 square foot community center. The Development will be sharia-compliant and will expand programming for youth, the elderly, and disabled members of the community. 

Friends of Little Saigon video, courtesy of Remove the Gap Productions.

Friends of Little Saigon was formed in 2011 to promote, plan, and advocate for their neighborhood, located in the Chinatown-International District. The Little Saigon Landmark Project seeks to address displacement amongst local businesses and development pressures due to rising rents. The facility will be a gathering place that will bring together the district’s cultural, shopping, and culinary aspects in a distinctive physical anchor. The mixed-use project will include a cultural center, Southeast Asian grocery, Emerald Night Market, and restaurant. Each component of the development will reflect Vietnamese Americans’ rich culture, history, and future.

About Our Remove the Gap Productions Filmmakers:  

The video projects were created by Remove the Gap Productions (RG Pro), a youth-led film production company at the Northwest Film Forum (NWFF). RG Pro believes that to achieve equity and advancement in today’s film industry and creative economy, female gender non-conforming and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) filmmakers must be active participants in all aspects of media production. RG Pro provides training, mentorship, professional development, and early career production experiences. Their immersive and sustained mentorship model helps build lasting relationships with various film and media professionals.

Ha’aheo Auwue-Dekker joined RG Pro in 2017 as a participant in the Apprenticeship workshop, becoming an Intern for their Apprenticeship Program in 2018. They have worked on numerous projects for RGPro, and in many capacities such as creative ideation team member, camera operator and audio recorder as well as editing. 

Vivian Chuang recently graduated in Film Studies from the University of Washington and was a participant in RG Pro’s Apprenticeship Program in 2019. Since then Vivian has been a valuable contributor to their client’s projects. 

Camille Winslow is a Seattle native and is passionate about filmmaking and social justice issues. She holds a BA in Design from Western Washington University and a certificate in Film & Video Production from the University of Washington. She is a freelance video editor who has worked with Remove the Gap Productions since April 2020.

Video production was overseen by lead producer Laura Jean Cronin and NWFF executive director Vivian Hua. 

About the Equitable Development Initiative: 

The EDI addresses displacement and the unequal distribution of opportunities to sustain a diverse Seattle. The EDI fosters community leadership and supports organizations to promote equitable access to housing, jobs, education, parks, cultural expression, healthy food and other community needs and amenities. For more information, visit the EDI website