|June 8, 2018-- The U.S. West Coast city of San Francisco is considering renaming a downtown park that bears the name of a U.S. congressman who initiated a notorious anti-Chinese act in the early 20th century.
San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee said Wednesday in a signed article that the city's "Board of Supervisors must rename the Julius Kahn Playground because we cannot bury our own history by overlooking who we choose to honor in our public spaces."
Kahn served and represented San Francisco in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1899 to 1903.
In 1902, he introduced a bill to make permanent the racist Chinese Exclusion Act that barred Chinese laborers from entering the United States and further imposed debilitating immigration requirements on people of Chinese descent.
"He was a key San Francisco leader who promoted racism, bigotry and exclusion," Yee said.
Though Kahn lived more than 100 years ago, the ideas and rhetoric he espoused still ring familiar today, he said.
"Kahn's immigration policies did not espouse the values that San Francisco stands for today: respect for diversity, tolerance, and the appreciation of the contributions of our immigrant communities," Yee wrote.
Some other supervisors like Aaron Peskin and Jeff Sheehy, and several Asian American groups such as the Chinese Historical Society of America and Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), have expressed their support for Yee's appeal.
"We must rename Julius Kahn Park. We can't change history, but we right the wrongs," the CAA tweeted Wednesday.