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Originally published Monday, September 17, 2012 at 8:27 PM

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Seattle council's 'Cheryl Chow Day' honors a former member

The Seattle City Council on Monday honored former member Cheryl Chow, who recently announced she has brain cancer and revealed she is gay, with a proclamation and an ovation.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The Seattle City Council declared Monday "Cheryl Chow Day" and honored the former council member and educator who is battling brain cancer.

Two former mayors, Norm Rice and Paul Schell, joined several former City Council members in council chambers to honor Chow. Chow attended the ceremony in a wheelchair with her partner, Sarah Morningstar, and their daughter, Liliana.

Council President Sally Clark read a proclamation that praised Chow for her "relentless commitment to youth," her 18 years as a teacher and principal in Seattle schools, her 47 years as a participant and adult leader of the Seattle Chinese Community Club girl's drill team, 30 years as a youth basketball coach and eight years on the City Council, from 1990-1997.

Clark noted that Chow was known for her direct style, her wicked sense of humor and her "quiet protest for bathroom equity" on the 11th floor of the old city Municipal Building by using the men's restroom.

Chow took the microphone after the proclamation was read and talked about how hard it had been for her to show love and affection, growing up in an Asian household with a strong mother, former King County Council member Ruby Chow. She said Morningstar had taught her how to love.

Chow announced in July, at age 66, that she is gay. She told reporters last month that she felt she'd wasted 66 years that could have been spent helping more kids and their families accept who they are.

Chow also thanked Shannon Gee, from the Seattle Channel, who made a video about Chow's achievements and legacy shown during the ceremony.

Chow said that Shannon was the tallest basketball player she'd ever coached and a former member of the drill team.

"My circle goes around and around," Chow said.

Lynn Thompson: 206-464-8305 or lthompson@seattletimes.com.

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