SEATTLE -- Community members in the Chinatown-International District are working to support one another during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jeffrey Liang is an attorney who started offering pro bono consulting to community members locally and nationally.
“I was even contacted by someone in Chicago that had a lease issue,” said Liang, owner Ling-Liang PLLC. “Someone else on the East Coast, a senior, being told to go into work even though she is sick. There’s just a lot of unknown, a lot of understanding what your rights are.”
He’s poured in over 30 hours of free consultations. That includes time with his business neighbors in the International District, some who have recently been victim to racially charged property crimes and acts.
“It made me just trigger that fear and how do you get by, let alone, I’m scared to go out because of coronavirus but to also be a victim of racism is fearful,” said Liang.
Chinatown-International District is a neighborhood that embraces acceptance and diversity, which at its core is what Brysen Angeles loves about his dance studio Massive Monkees.
“How welcoming everyone feels, how inclusive they feel, how when they walk into this space it feels like community,” said Angeles of the feedback he’s received since opening the studio in 2013.
Massive Monkees has been recognized by dancers around the world. They’ve battled dance crews from other country, and are featured on a YouTube video that has gotten over 75 million views.
“They’re starting them as young as two or three years old,” said Angeles of his clients. “I think the little ones, it’s really fun for them, because they’re so carefree at a young age.”
It’s a stark contrast to the now empty dance studio. Liang has been advising Angeles on local and federal government assistance programs that are available.
“Just hang in there. We’ll figure it out,” said Angeles. “I’m trying to be as optimistic as possible while thinking, what even am I going to do? What is me and my family going to do following this thing? With this being the main business that I’ve been running for the past seven years.”
As for Liang, he said his why in all of this has been grief. His sister died in March. It wasn’t because of Covid-19, but it did hinder his ability to travel and mourn her loss with his loved ones.
“One of her last text messages she said to me, ‘I’m sorry you’re going through this, let me know how I can help,” said Liang. “So for me this is a way to honor my sister’s memory. This is something she would’ve done.”
To schedule a free consultation, head over to Liang’s website.
Some examples of Liang’s free legal consulting services included helping businesses that were being fined for not cleaning up racist graffiti; advising a person whose car was stolen; advising small business owners who employ undocumented workers on how they can legally offer financial support to these employees; advising small business owners who do not speak English on how to apply for disaster loans, and helping seniors find toilet paper, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies.