Seattle, Washington – October 3, 2023
Seattle and the Washington State Department of Commerce are joining forces to allocate $100,000 in taxpayer funds to address the vandalism inflicted on the “Wing Luke Museum” in “Seattle’s Chinatown International District” following a hate crime incident.
The Wing Luke Museum stands as a tribute to the art, culture, and history of Native Hawaiians,Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders. However, on September 14, the museum’s physical structure fell victim to a destructive act committed by a 76-year-old man named Craig Milne. Caught on camera, Milne used a sledgehammer to shatter the museum’s windows, leading to charges of a hate crime due to the motivation behind his actions.
The combined funding of $100,000 is earmarked for the restoration and repair of the damages caused by Milne’s destructive act. In a news release, Washington State Department of Commerce Director Mike Fong expressed the department’s profound sense of responsibility not only to facilitate the museum’s recovery but also to foster meaningful dialogues aimed at curbing the concerning rise in hate crimes and intolerance within our communities.
Jamie Housen, who serves as the Director of Communications within the Seattle Mayor’s Office, revealed that the $100,000 fund has been evenly divided between the city and the Department of Commerce. The city’s $50,000 contribution for the Wing Luke Museum’s repairs originates from the Seattle Office of Economic Development. Unfortunately, at the time of publication, the Department of Commerce has yet to provide additional details regarding the source of its $50,000 in funds.
Statistical data from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office reveals that, from January through August, the county has seen 20 hate crime filings. This disturbing trend underscores the pressing need to address and combat hate crimes in the region effectively.
This incident is not isolated, as The Center Square previously reported in August on a surge in robberies specifically targeting older Asian American residents in the city’s “South Precinct.”Between June and August 25, the South Precinct of the Seattle Police Department documented 14 reported cases of pattern robberies, raising concerns that additional incidents may have occurred but remained unreported.
Mayor Bruce Harrell has emphasized the city’s unwavering commitment to fostering a welcoming environment for all residents of Seattle. He asserted, “It’s our obligation to demonstrate that there is no place for hate in the city of Seattle or anywhere in Washington. [Asian American and Pacific Islander] communities deserve to feel safe and welcome, and unwarranted attacks on community members, businesses, and cultural staples like the Wing Luke Museum are wholly unacceptable.”
As Seattle and the Washington State Department of Commerce rally together to repair the damages inflicted by this hate crime, they send a powerful message that their communities are united against intolerance and committed to upholding values of inclusivity and diversity.