The first White House Economic Summit in Seattle for Asian American and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders (AP & NHPI) was held this past week.
This special event sheds light on the rapid growth of the AA & NHPI peoples in Washington state. According to the US Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey, AA & NHPI collectively represent just over 20% of Washington State’s population, making them the largest minority group. Hispanic/Latino, the second largest minority group, comprises 13% of the state’s population. The five fastest-growing Asian populations in Washington from 2010 to 2020 were Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Japanese, and Korean.
During the Business Track Panel discussion on challenges retailers have been facing, Rose Gundersen, WR’s VP of Operations and Retail Services, highlighted four primary issues, including persistent wage pressure for retail frontline workers despite corporate and tech layoffs, regulatory demands, inflation, and organized retail crime (ORC). ORC is of particular concern as it jeopardizes the safety of both customers and employees.
A Chinese business owner shared their experience in the Seattle International District, indicating her business has lost customers and employees due to rising crime.
The growing population of Asian Americans in Washington highlights the significance of magnifying the voices of small ethnic retailers, as conveyed by those belonging to this community.
Representing the voices of small business owners, especially those owned by minorities, to policymakers is a way to achieve equity and inclusion, which aligns with WR’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) principles. WR is working to develop strategic outreach to ethnic businesses to include their voices in how we approach policy and government affairs.