Chinatown Lantern Stories

Bigotry and intolerance continue to be on the rise across the country. Of great alarm is not only extremist rhetoric rooted in white supremacy, but legislative proposals to ban gender-affirming care, erase African American history, and demonize all concerns related to or associated with China and Chinese people.

Yet solutions to real harms — such as those caused by assault weapons and the reality of more than 130 mass shootings this year — are being blocked by the same right wing extremists committed to instead scapegoat communities who are struggling to assert their place in America.

Read on to learn more about the many ways in which CAA is leading and addressing the most pressing concerns our communities face.

Arrowood Nomination Defeated

CAA welcomes President Biden’s decision not to renominate Casey T. Arrowood as United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee. CAA and allies met with several member offices of the Senate Judiciary Committee to express our concerns and to question Arrowood’s fitness for the role based on his wrong and racist prosecution of Professor Anming Hu.

The first academic to go on trial under the China Initiative, Dr. Hu was ultimately acquitted of all charges and a federal judge found that Arrowood’s evidence was wholly insufficient.

Texas Introduces Anti-Immigrant and Anti-China Bills

Republicans in the Texas State Legislature have introduced four bills targeting nationals from China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, including SB 147 and SB 711, which replicate the racist and unconstitutional California Alien Land Laws of the early 20th century. Though an amendment to SB 147 has been proposed to exempt green card holders and private homes, CAA continues to oppose on principle and because the bill still discriminates against other immigrants including asylees, refugees, DACA recipients, and individuals with pending immigration applications.

Thus far, we have gathered over 1,000 signatures to our petition opposing these anti-immigrant bills and submitted them to the Texas State Senate. CAA’s Nick Gee provided written testimony at the public hearing on SB 147 and joined Asian Texans for Justice for Advocacy Day on March 9th. In San Francisco, CAA worked with Supervisor Connie Chan and others on a resolution condemning SB 147, which if passed by the full Board of Supervisors will be sent to Texas leaders and continue to build a national movement against these types of racist laws.

Vigil for Half Moon Bay in San Francisco chinatown
Half Moon Bay Vigil in SF Chinatown

Half Moon Bay & the Epidemic of Gun Violence

Mass shootings in the U.S. continue unabated as Republicans in Congress continue to stymie federal action on gun violence — including calls from the majority of Americans to ban assault weapons. In January, this inaction impacted Asian Americans directly as more than dozen community members were killed in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay.

With our partners in Stop AAPI Hate coordinating response efforts in Southern California, CAA led support and healing efforts in the Bay Area along with Community Youth Center, Chinese Progressive Association, Asian Law Caucus, Self Help for the Elderly, and others. In addition to providing in-language services, CAA also housed the Half Moon Bay Victims Fund, which raised over $200,000 for family members of those who were killed and other impacted community members.

Started over a year ago, CAA is a founding partner in the AAPIs Against Gun Violence Coalition to help educate and advocate for common sense gun safety and gun violence prevention efforts in America.

Fight to Protect SF Sanctuary Ordinance

San Francisco’s Sanctuary Ordinance — to ensure that all residents regardless of immigration status are able to safely access public services — has been under attack and CAA and its immigrant rights allies have been pushing back.

Most recently, CAA and the Free SF Coalition mobilized on March 8th to support Supervisor Hilary Ronen’s resolution to reaffirm San Francisco’s sanctuary ordinance as District Attorney Brooke Jenkins and Supervisor Matt Dorsey have been floating and proposing measures to undermine and weaken it. In a 10-1 vote, the full Board voted in favor of Ronen’s resolution and DA Jenkins has since backed down.

However, Supervisor Matt Dorsey continues to push forward legislation that blames and conflates the fentanyl public health crisis with the presence of immigrants in San Francisco. CAA and allies have been meeting with key stakeholders, including the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office and the San Francisco Police Department, to urge them to commit to sanctuary policy and stop any rhetoric that scapegoats immigrants.

Making Public Transit Safer For All

With Stop AAPI Hate (SAH) data on hate incidents showing that 10 percent of hate incidents against Asian Americans occur on public transit, CAA, SAH, and California State Senator Dave Min have introduced Public Transit for All (SB 434). The bill would reduce hate incidents and harassment on the largest transit systems — like BART and LA Metro — by requiring agencies to collect, report, and address how riders are experiencing hate and harassment, which will be critical to these systems restoring their ridership.

SB 434 builds upon the legislative successes that CAA had last year with the No Place for Hate campaign that included the passage of two California bills that also focused on safety on public transit as well as at private businesses. . Read here to learn about a CAA-led focus group conducted in partnership with the Mineta Transportation Institute to help implement that legislation.

CAA In The News and Media

CAA’s Cynthia Choi testified before the United States Commission on Civil Rights on the Federal Response to Anti-Asian Racism in the United States.

“Ed Blum’s deeply conservative attacks on civil rights and network of funding does not have the interest of Asian Americans at heart if you look at his track record,” says CAA’s Sally Chen on Higher Ed Rewired: “Reassessing the Impact of Affirmative Action on Higher Education.”

CAA’s Jose Ng advocates for unemployment benefits for undocumented workers as San Francisco passes a resolution to support the Safety Net For All Workers Act (SB 227).

In a slew of Texas’ anti-immigrant bills, CAA’s Nick Gee is reminded of his own family in Texas who emigrated from China and opened up a grocery store 75 years ago.

Yudy, who came to the U.S. from Hong Kong when she was 17, shares her undocumented journey with CAA’s Kelly Wong in Ep. 17 of our Cantonese workshop.