San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney joined members of Chinese community in a rally to denounce past mistreatment and racist policies enacted by The City throughout its history.
The Wednesday rally in Chinatown came one day after the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution apologizing to Chinese immigrants for cruel and antiquated policies that ultimately sought to undermine their progress.
“The Chinese community in San Francisco has a deep and rich history but we have to acknowledge the harmful wrongs that our city has committed against this community,” Haney said in a statement.
“Although many of these injustices occurred long ago, it’s clear this discrimination continues to happen today. This apology and commitment to budget investments will not erase what has been done but is a necessary step for us to address the continued violence and discrimination that the Chinese community is still experiencing,” he said.
In 1860, the state’s education code prohibited Asian students from attending public schools, prompting San Francisco Unified School District officials to close all Chinese schools in 1870 for the next 15 years. Additionally, the 1870 Consolidation Act, approved by supervisors, disallowed anyone of Chinese descent to be employed by any state, county or municipality.
Haney authored the resolution along with former San Francisco students. Other cities, including San Jose, Antioch and Los Angeles, have enacted similar legislation.
The ordinance comes as the organization Stop AAPI Hate has recorded 762 hate crimes in San Francisco against people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent since July. Of those cases, victims of Chinese descent accounted for the largest portion with 63%.
With the resolution now approved, the Asian Pacific Islander Council, a San Francisco-based advocacy group, is next calling for increased funding to help advance the city’s Asian and Pacific Islander communities and cultural institutions.
“The goal of this budget proposal is to acquire and preserve key assets in API immigrant corridors and enhance API community-based organization’s capacity and sustainability. While we cannot change the past, acknowledgement and reflection offer a path forward to address historical wrongs and make positive change,” said API Council Executive Director Cally Wong.
“This public acknowledgement of our city’s history of systemic racism against Chinese immigrants is timely as we urgently work to stem the latest tide of hate and violence against Asian American,” said Supervisor Gordon Mar. “As a city that values inclusion and equity, facing our past mistakes head on is an important step towards healing, safety and justice.”
According to Haney’s office, the Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Appropriations Committee over the next months will work to finalize funding for Asian and Pacific Islander communities.