The Board of Supervisors passed the apology resolution
presented by city supervisor Matt Haney on Monday, coinciding with the Lunar New Year.
Citing heinous behavior from the mid-1800s
when the city was taking shape, the resolution acknowledges “the shameful history of structural and systematic racism and discrimination against Chinese immigrants and the Chinese American community by the City and County of San Francisco (that) reaches back over 150 years and touched every aspect of life including employment, housing, education and culture.”
A violent three-day riot targeting Chinese Americans in 1877 was also among the racist incidents for which the supervisors apologized.
But anti-Asian sentiment has yet to be erased from San Francisco.
Just last week, a federal lawsuit was filed
by the Alliance for Asian American Justice against the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and the City and County of San Francisco, seeking to institute procedures that protect the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and ensure equal protection for justice.
San Francisco is the fourth California city to formally apologize for its racist past, following Los Angeles, San Jose and Antioch.
In October, San Jose formally apologized
for its “role in acts of discrimination against the Chinese immigrant community and its descendants” through an unanimous resolution.
City officials, including Mayor Sam Liccardo, and community leaders announced the resolution for past racist acts against the Chinese community in downtown San Jose, the site of a Chinatown destroyed by arson in 1887. A portion of the area was set ablaze shortly after the City Council had declared it a public nuisance and health hazard.
Antioch also officially apologized last year
to early Chinese immigrants for treating them unjustly, calling it a “first step” toward racial reconciliation.
In the mid-1800s, Antioch — like other cities in the state — witnessed a population spike as migrants, including those from China, moved into the area in search of gold. Chinese immigrants were then exploited for cheap labor, notably in the construction of railroads.
CNN’s Leah Asmelash contributed to this report.