San José apologizes for its racist past towards the Chinese community
Stella Chan, CNN
San Jose formally apologized for its “role in acts of discrimination against the Chinese immigrant community and its descendants” in a unanimous resolution that city leaders announced this week.
City officials, including Mayor Sam Liccardo, and community leaders announced resolution of past racist acts against the Chinese community in downtown San Jose, the site of a Chinatown destroyed by arson in 1887 Part of the area was burnt down shortly after the city council declared it a public nuisance and health hazard.
âThirty-four years ago San JosÃ© commemorated the tragic destruction of 2nd Market Street Chinatown a century ago, but with each new generation we must reaffirm our commitment to justice and renew our contrition, not only for these failures but for all. acts of disrespect and violence against members of our Black, Latino, Indigenous and AAPI community, âsaid San JosÃ© Mayor Sam Liccardo. âThis reconciliation recognizes the mistakes of our city’s past and reminds us to continue fighting for an inclusive society. “
The city crafted the resolution, which lists decades of racism, in close collaboration with local historians and several Chinese-American community organizations. It recognizes the five Chinatowns of San JosÃ© that existed between 1866 and 1931 and recognizes the racism and xenophobia that influenced policies and actions towards the city’s Chinese community.
âThe city’s apology is an act of grace,â said local historian Connie Young Yu. âAs a descendant of a Chinese laborer driven from Market Street Chinatown by arson, I feel peace.â
The resolution also recognizes that âthe recent increase in anti-Asian violence and racial discrimination demonstrates that xenophobia remains deeply rooted in our societyâ. It reads, in part: âWhereas Asian Americans are still considered perpetual strangers; and whereas the history of Chinese immigrants and the dehumanizing atrocities committed against them in the 19th and early 20th centuries should not be purged or minimized in the narration of the history of San JosÃ©. “
“I want to thank everyone who works for justice today, for making sure this is not just a reckoning of past things, but a change in our focus on one another. and this community in the years to come, âMayor Liccardo said at a press conference on Thursday. .
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