Ron Chew is a lifelong Seattle resident whose parents were Chinese immigrants who worked in the restaurant and garment industries in Seattle’s International District. Chew attended the University of Washington from 1971-1975. While there, he channeled his participation in the Asian American movement into his work as a reporter for the UW Daily, where he sought to challenge mainstream media's poor representation of communities of color.
In 1975, he left the UW to pursue a career in community-based journalism at the International Examiner. A year later, he became the paper’s Editor, a position he held until 1988. Chew’s work as a socially conscious community journalist facilitated his involvement in a number of labor and social justice organizations operating in Seattle, including the Alaska Cannery Workers Association, the International District Economic Association, Seattle Rape Relief, and the Organization of Chinese Americans.
He organized the Chinese Oral History Project of Seattle in 1990 and edited the Project’s 1994 companion volume, Reflections of Seattle’s Chinese Americans. In 1991, Chew was hired as the Executive Director for the Wing Luke Asian Museum, transforming it from a struggling artifact-based museum into an award-winning center based on collaborative projects with the region's diverse Asian/ Pacific Islander communities. Chew was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the National Council on the Humanities in 2001.
Ron Chew shared his memories in an interview conducted by Trevor
Griffey and James Gregory December 15. 2005. To the right are
streaming-video excerpts of the interview in windows media format. Video editing by Daren Salter.
Work on this interview was made possible by a grant from
4Culture/King County Lodging Tax.