Seattle City Council expresses regret for anti-Chinese laws

And sorry for that time a mob forced all the Chinese to get the hell out of town.

On Monday, the Seattle City Council approved a resolution expressing regret for legislation passed by the Washington Territory and previous City Councils in 1800s that discriminated against Chinese immigrants.

Seattle issues gesture of regret over 1800s anti-Chinese laws

The resolution is an acknowledgement of the city's racist past. As a result of discriminatory laws adopted by the Washington Territory, which became Washington state in 1889, Chinese people were denied the right to vote, prohibited from giving evidence in the courts in cases involving Caucasians, and denied the right to own land.

The Seattle City Council also passed several discriminatory laws directed against Chinese in 1885, relating to living space, commercial licenses, and public laundries. And most infamously, in 1886, an anti-Chinese riot forced 350 Chinese to leave Seattle.

"There's no escaping that in the past Seattle had a day of shame -- February 7th, 1886 -- when a mob tried to expel the Chinese workers who built our railroad, worked in our industries and helped build Seattle. That was a dark day in our history, a day of injustice that we must own along with other wrongs and now move forward to address," said Councilmember Jean Godden.

"If we are to address persistent issues of racial and economic inequality in Seattle, we must acknowledge the institutional racism of our past," said Mayor Ed Murray. "I commend the Council for making this statement of regret about our City's painful history of legal racial discrimination."

According to the City Council, the resolution also recognizes "the past and continuing contributions of the Chinese to Seattle and reaffirms the City's commitment to the civil rights of all people, and celebrates the contributions that all immigrants have made to Seattle in the past and present."

Better late than never, I guess.

More here: Council Adopts Resolution Expressing Seattle’s Regret for Historical Anti-Chinese Legislation


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