Guest Post by Karen L. Ishizuka
A traditional Filipino appellation of respect, anyone older than you is called auntie or uncle. But beyond protocol, Uncle Bob Santos was truly everyone's favorite Uncle Bob, Filipino or not. Greeted by a jaunty "Hey Kiddo!," whenever you saw him, you knew you could always count on him for lunch money, to bring 200 people to a demonstration or to keep a community from becoming gentrified.
He was called "the Asian American community's elder statesman and enduring rabble-rouser,"i "an advisor, mentor, confidante, and drinking buddy for a generation of our community's Jedi Knights,"ii and "a hero in an urban hamlet called the International District"iii. And this was while he was still alive and raising hell. Now hailed as one of Seattle's greatest civil rights and social justice champions whose accomplishments you can read about in HistoryLink, his autobiography Hum Bows, Not Hot Dogs!: Memoirs of a Savvy Asian-American Activist (International Examiner Press, 2002), Gang of Four: Four Leaders, Four Communities, One Friendship (Chin Music Press, 2015), and the multitude of tributes by the many organizations he was a part of, the following remembrance is not so much on the importance of his achievements as the magnitude of his character.