Condolences are pouring in for the family of longtime Seattle civil rights activist Bob Santos, who died Saturday at the age of 82.
In an interview with KUOW last year, Santos explained that he first felt the need for political activism at a very young age. He had his awakening when he was in first grade, in 1942.
“All my Japanese American schoolmates were rounded up on buses and taken to concentration camps. Now we were at war with Japan, Italy and Germany. But none of the German kids or Italian kids were rounded up and put in concentration camps. We were thinking, there’s something different here,” he said.
As an adult, Santos would be one of the Gang Of Four, a group of minority rights activists that included Larry Gossett, Roberto Maetas and Bernie Whitebear.
With the death of Santos, only Gossett is still living.
Among other things, Santos helped save historic buildings in the city’s Chinatown-International District in the 1960s, when the Kingdome and Interstate 90 were being built.
Those buildings would later become low income housing, health clinics and social service agencies.
Santos would later work for then Congressman Mike Lowry, ran unsuccessfully for King County Council and helped with several community groups in the city's Chinatown-International District.
He’s survived by his family, including his wife, state Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos.