L-R: Ruby Luke, Marge Young, Bettie Luke, Attorney General Bob Ferguson
Chinese American Citizens Alliance Applauds Namesake
for Washington State’s Newest Civil Rights Division
San Francisco, CA—The Chinese American Citizens Alliance applauds the naming of a new Civil Rights Unit within the State of Washington State Attorney General’s Office in honor of Wing Luke, who served as an Assistant Attorney General for the state in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The Wing Luke Civil Rights Unit will work to safeguard the rights of all Washington residents by enforcing state and federal anti-discrimination laws. It will investigate and facilitate actions against discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, education, credit and insurance transactions, and at government offices and businesses open to the public. Under the direction of Assistant Attorney General Colleen Melody, the unit will work closely with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, the Washington State Human Rights Commission, federal agencies, and civil rights stakeholders.
Born in Canton, China, Wing Luke and his family settled in Seattle in 1931. Following service with the U.S. Army, he would earn a law degree and was eventually appointed the Assistant Attorney General of the State of Washington, in the Civil Rights Division. Luke went on to become the first person of color elected to the Seattle City Council and the first Asian-American elected to public office in the Pacific Northwest. As someone who experience racism, Luke helped to guide the passage of an open-housing ordinance that prevented discrimination in the selling or renting of Seattle real estate. He died in a plane crash in 1965 at the age of 40.
“Throughout his life and career, Wing Luke championed civil rights and fought to improve the quality of life for all people,” said C.A.C.A. National President Ed Gor. “He is an inspiration to many Chinese Americans serving in or aspiring to public service as well as a proud symbol of tolerance in Seattle, where we concluded our 53rd Biennial National Convention in Seattle this past August.”
“My brother Wing Luke had a saying, ‘Don’t do things because of who is right, but because of what is right,’” said Bettie Luke, Wing Luke’s sister and former board member of the Wing Luke Museum. Established in 1967, the museum is the only pan-Asian Pacific American community-based museum in the United States. Since 2008, it has been located at 719 S King Street, Seattle.
Complaints to the Wing Luke Civil Rights Unit can be filed at www.atg.wa.gov/have-civil-rights-complaint.
1044 Stockton St.
San Francisco, CA.
Chinese American Citizens Alliance
The Chinese American Citizens Alliance, established in 1895, is among the oldest civil rights organizations in the United States. Headquartered in San Francisco with chapter/lodges in Albuquerque (NM), Boston (MA), Chicago (IL), Greater San Gabriel Valley (CA), Houston (TX), Las Vegas (NV), Los Angeles (CA), Mississippi, Oakland (CA), Orange County (CA), Peninsula (CA), Portland (OR), Phoenix (AZ), Salinas (CA), San Antonio (TX), San Francisco (CA), Seattle (WA), Tucson (AZ), and Washington, D.C., the Alliance addresses issues regarding voter education, political participation, racial discrimination and hate crimes, youth leadership training programs and equal employment opportunities for all Chinese Americans.