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SF students create a resolution urging the city to apologize for its anti-Chinese past

San Francisco students resolution

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    San Francisco may finally follow the steps of other California cities that have apologized for their historical discrimination toward the Chinese American community.

    A century and a half late: A resolution introduced at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday is calling for an official apology from the city for the discriminatory laws and practices imposed against the Chinese and other Asian immigrants since the 1800s, reported NBC Bay Area.

    • Supervisor Matt Haney, who filed the resolution, said: “Law after law passed in this building targeting Chinese immigrants. When we don’t confront it, that’s when we see it being used and continued.”
    • During the meeting, the board of supervisors acknowledged the racism that Asian Americans endured for over 150 years.
    • The resolution, which will be put up for a vote later this year, was prepared by three local students, according to the SF Chronicle.

    Historic racism: A UC Berkeley student named Drew Min approached Haney last month with the idea for the resolution following similar official apologies made by Antioch, San Jose and Los Angeles.

    • Min and friends, Dennis Casey Wu of Lowell High School and George Tilton-Low of Stanford University, did some research and were shocked to discover how the city treated the Chinese American community in the past.
    • Race-specific laws such as the “foreign miners’ tax” mainly targeted Chinese workers who had arrived in San Francisco during the Gold Rush in the 1850s.
    • In the decades that followed, individuals of Chinese descent would face restrictions from getting government jobs, opening and operating certain businesses, using work equipment and more.
    • Min’s group also found that many of the racist laws enforced across the country that targeted Asians were patterned from the very laws crafted by San Francisco’s own board of supervisors.
    • “It just comes to show that history is not so far, it’s not so distant, and history tends to repeat itself,” Min said. “And, what better way to try to mend the future but by correcting the mistakes of the past?”

    The impact of such discriminatory laws is still felt today, particularly on how Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are perceived as perpetual foreigners.

    Featured Image via NBC Bay Area

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