SAN FRANCISCO — Supervisors of the city with the oldest Chinatown in the U.S. approved a resolution Feb. 1 to apologize to Chinese immigrants and their descendants, becoming the fourth city in the country and in California to do so in the last year.
The vote of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors was unanimous and without comment. The resolution was approved on the first day of the Lunar New Year and amid a steep rise in assaults and harassment directed at Asian Americans.
The San Francisco Bay Area city of Antioch was the first to offer a formal apology in May, followed by the city of San Jose in September and Los Angeles in October.
More than a third of San Francisco’s estimated 900,000 residents are of Asian or Pacific Islander descent, with Chinese Americans making up the largest share.
The resolution apologizes on behalf of the board and the city for “systemic and structural discrimination” and targeted acts of violence. The Board of Supervisors passed numerous laws to harass Chinese immigrants, including more than a dozen ordinances to restrict Chinese-run laundries, according to the resolution.
They couldn’t use traditional gong percussion instruments in performance because the instruments produced an “unusual noise disturbing the peace,” the resolution states.
The resolution’s chief sponsor, Supervisor Matt Haney, and Chinese American civic leaders plan to rally Wednesday for increased budget investments in the community.