Notre Dame's AAPI (Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders) students joined San Jose City Council members and many of our downtown neighbors for a historic ceremony commemorating the City Council Resolution apologizing for the city's role in acts of injustice towards Chinese immigrants and their descendants. The ceremony was held at the Circle of Palms Plaza in downtown, the location where Chinatown once stood before being burned to the ground in 1887 after the city council had declared the neighborhood a public nuisance to make way for a new city hall. The devastating fire destroyed dozens of stores and restaurants, displacing more than 1,400 residents. Although other Chinatown locations had been burned and rebuilt by the hard-working Chinese, the mayor declared the request to rebuild permit out of order.
More than 100 years later, San Jose officially apologized to Chinese immigrants and their descendants for the role the city played in "systemic and istitutional raciscm, xenophobia and discrimination." The resolution was drafted after a string of hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans which escalated during the Covid pandemic.
"Thirty-four years ago, San José commemorated the tragic destruction of the 2nd Market Street Chinatown, a century prior--but with each new generation, we must reemphasize our commitment to justice and renew our contrition, not just for these failings but for all acts of disrespect and violence against our Black, Latino, Indigenous, and AAPI community members," said San José Mayor Sam Liccardo. "This reconciliation acknowledges the mistakes of our city's past and serves as a reminder to continue striving for an inclusive society."
“San José has worked to be an inclusive and welcoming city for all and that means facing head on its past mistakes,” said Councilmember Raul Peralez. “Our Chinese community has long been an important part of our City and this long overdue apology from the City will be a step forward towards much healing.”