This afternoon, the Seattle City Council declared today Cheryl Chow Day, as city officials past and present honored former council member Chow for her decades of public service—including as a city council member, School Board president, Chinese drill team coach, and girls' basketball coach.

“Everything that she was about was advancing the welfare of children,” said former School Board president Steven Sundquist, in a moving tribute compiled by the Seattle Channel.

The tribute included interviews with former colleagues and clips of a younger Chow herself, who explained that community service came naturally to her: “My parents always gave back; giving back was what community was.”

Chow with daughter Liliana and partner, Sarah Morningstar.
  • The Stranger
  • Chow receives a kiss from daughter, Liliana, with partner, Sarah Morningstar.
Council President Sally Clark then announced that today would be Cheryl Chow day, and that all Seattle citizens should strive to, "Nurture the children, pass on traditions and values" to ensuing generations.

Taking a microphone and surrounded by family, Chow then thanked the council for giving her a forum to fulfill her final act of public service: Encouraging young people to not be afraid to come out to their parents. Chow recently came out as a lesbian in the midst of her battle with brain cancer.

"Why did I come out after 66 years of being in the closet and quietly being gay?" Chow asked. "I want kids out there—Asian, white, black, Filipino, whatever—to pick up the newspaper and say to their parents: Look, you’ve been voting for Cheryl chow for years. You’ve been supporting her. And you didn’t see anything wrong with her being gay. So what’s wrong with me being gay? If I can help one child from committing suicide or feeling bad about themselves, then this is my last crusade."