From Lovepreet Dhinsa
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin and USF School of Law Professor Bill Ong Hing had a live discussion on Facebook this week about the long history of anti-Asian racism in the United States.
USF Professor Hing currently teaches at the USF School of Law, has served on the city’s police commission committee, and has successfully published several books on racism and immigration.
Both Boudin and Hing expressed condolences to Daunte Wright’s family.
DA Boudin stated: “We are still watching the trial of George Floyd and now, not far from there, we have another young black person who died by the police. We share your pain. Something has to change. “
Prof. Hing also expressed his sadness and anger over the shooting and wanted to point out the Taser’s apology. Hing, a former committee member of the city police commission, led the opposition efforts against the opposition to the adoption of a taser.
In large part, he attributed the tool’s inefficiency to half the time it didn’t work, and found law enforcement to use this as an excuse far too often.
The conversation then shifted to the cause of renewed attention and increased hate crimes against the AAPI community. Boudin asked Hing to address the increase in these incidents.
Hing firmly believes that the cause of this boom lies in racism and hatred. He pointed to the APPI hate violence program which has followed these actions in which the The program has measured 3,000 incidents over the past six months.
He attributes this boom in large part, but not entirely, to President Trump’s rhetoric at the start of the pandemic when he began to refer to the pandemic as the “China virus.”
Hing believes that some people use this rhetoric as a license to act, while others, who may be unfamiliar with what is happening, might see a country leader saying these words and be forced to respond to them in a similar manner .
Presenter Rachel Marshall spoke briefly about the implications of these incidents for fueling division and undermining public safety. With this in mind, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, co-sponsored by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, recently passed Law SB 299 to ensure that victims of police violence are compensated and well protected.
District Attorney Boudin also stressed that these incidents are being taken extremely seriously with a policy of zero tolerance for racist crimes.
Boudin acknowledged that “the attention we pay to these incidents is necessary but not new. This racism, violence and bigotry is a long-standing problem and more effective tools are needed to address these problems. “
Prof. Hing was asked by the moderator to elaborate on this longstanding issue of racism, and he admits that while this awareness of change is new, racism and hatred towards these communities is not.
In 1982, Hing cited the Chinese Exclusion Law, which stopped the influx of Chinese workers into the United States. However, many people forget the violence that led to this law. In the bay, several grassroots organizations and coalitions have started an area specifically geared towards AAPI communities.
Professor Hing also referred to the 88 Chinese minors who were murdered in California that same year alone.
Similarly, in Antioch in the 1870s, many homes of Chinese immigrants had been burned down and many Chinese were driven from the city where they could be monitored.
Following these incidents, Professor Hing referred to a US spy plane that had landed in China and that the plane would return. Because of this, many began boycotting Chinese restaurants and discriminating against Chinese artists, often imitating their language and making fun of them.
Hing also noted the murder of Vincent China in Detroit at the hands of other auto workers over competition concerns and misguided beliefs about killing a man who was “Asian looking”. Hing stated that these competitive crimes were quite common as many Asians are alleged to be stealing jobs or opportunities.
Citing these references, DA Boudin mentioned that because of the “long and embarrassing history of the United States”, Chinatowns were created across the country in solidarity and as a safe haven.
Prof. Hing agreed with Boudin when he stated that “while some Chinatowns were herded into these communities, others created them out of solidarity”. Hing agrees that Asian people have asked for help here because they couldn’t trust law enforcement to protect them. He cited a law by the California Supreme Court that prevented Chinese immigrants from giving evidence in court.
The conversation then shifted when DA Boudin began asking Professor Hing about the challenges and opportunities we are currently facing in protecting our communities in San Francisco.
Professor Hing stated, “It starts with people like you. You have become much more than this event. It begins with leaders, elected officials, and other community leaders. And these leaders need it to speak out against these incidents. “Professor Hing specifically mentioned the importance of advocating for individuals, whether it be against a friend joking about racial groups or for examples of what our community is about.
The moderator then asked District Attorney Chesa Boudin about the challenges he faces in protecting these communities in San Francisco. While Boudin didn’t want to point out all of the efforts made this year, he focused on the priorities his office has right now, including voice access, trust building / developing and ongoing communication.
District Attorney Boudin emphasized the importance of helping Asian communities with language barriers, whether it be with what happens in a courtroom or getting help when needed. To further these priorities, he is hiring more Chinese-speaking staff and working to ensure that all of the services and resources provided by the office are accessible.
Boudin also stressed the need to build and develop trust.
Compared to a time when Chinese Americans could not testify in court and were not protected by law enforcement, he emphasized the importance of informing the community that his office is available to them and that Asian Americans who seek help from Chinatowns can also seek help in his office.
Boudin also stressed the importance of continuous communication to make sure people actually understand what the office is doing for them.
Boudin said he believes there is a lot of misinformation out there about what his office is doing or what cases they are pursuing; However, to advance these priorities, he participates in weekly roundtables with Chinese news outlets and community leaders.
Boudin stated that he is proactively reaching out to people in the community and working to improve communication efforts. He also stressed the need to work on crime prevention, as victims already suffer losses if a racially motivated crime is committed. Boudin also supports the pursuit of intercultural understanding and direct collaboration with the community.
Boudin also announced an upcoming summit on May 14th where he will join fellow community members and critical thinkers on these issues. Boudin mentioned the importance of community feedback in what they want to see from the office.
Hing acknowledged that repeating history is a central theme in order to be aware and to be proactive in advocating change. He looks forward to working with Boudin’s office and having future discussions.
Closing this discussion, Boudin said that these discussions will take place every two weeks with various members of the community featured on the District Attorney’s Facebook page because, although “we have failed in the past, we cannot allow this to happen together. We have to come together to fight it. “
Lovepreet Dhinsa is a student at the University of San Francisco pursuing her bachelor’s degree in politics with a minor in law. She has a passion for criminal law and aspires to enter law school to fight for clients in need. As such, she is also involved in her university’s bogus litigation program and student government.
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