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ACR-55 The 150th Anniversary of the Chinese Massacre of 1871.(2021-2022)

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Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 55
CHAPTER 47

Relative to the 150th Anniversary of the Chinese Massacre of 1871.

[ Filed with Secretary of State  June 11, 2021. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


ACR 55, Chau. The 150th Anniversary of the Chinese Massacre of 1871.
This measure would commemorate October 24, 2021, as the 150th Anniversary of the Chinese Massacre of 1871 to foster awareness about this incident in an effort to promote inclusiveness, tolerance, and unity, while recognizing and appreciating the contributions individuals from all backgrounds, including immigrants, make to the United States and California.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, Nearly 150 years have passed since the tragic event known as the Chinese Massacre of 1871 that resulted in the deaths of 18 Chinese residents in the City of Los Angeles; and
WHEREAS, In 1871, the City of Los Angeles had a population of 5,728 people and a Chinese population of 172; and
WHEREAS, After the Civil War, California’s rising unemployment caused attention to be directed toward the Chinese laborers for unfair labor competition, which resulted in anti-Chinese sentiment; and
WHEREAS, In 1869, anti-Chinese attitudes began to develop as the Los Angeles News and the Los Angeles Star began publishing editorials against Chinese immigration and portraying the Chinese population as inferior and immoral; and
WHEREAS, Such press coverage allegedly led to an increase in racially motivated attacks against the Chinese population; and
WHEREAS, In October 1871, a feud between leaders of two rival huignan (mutual benefit associations) over the kidnapping of a young Chinese woman led to a shootout between several Chinese men that ultimately resulted in the wounding of one police officer and death of one civilian who was assisting two police officers in responding to the incident; and
WHEREAS, A mob of about 500 people, approximately 10 percent of the city, reacted to the death of the civilian by attacking and rounding up members of the Chinese population, then lynching them; and
WHEREAS, As a result, 18 Chinese residents of the city, including one child, comprising 10 percent of the Chinese population, were killed on October 24, 1871, only one of whom was believed to have participated in the original gunfight; and
WHEREAS, Twenty-five indictments were brought for the murders, 10 men stood trial, and 8 were convicted on manslaughter charges, but the charges were later overturned based on technical aspects of law, including that Chinese persons could not testify against a White man in court, and the defendants were never retried; and
WHEREAS, The incident increased anti-Chinese sentiment in the city, including the further publishing of anti-Chinese editorials; and
WHEREAS, The Chinese Massacre of 1871 is a cautionary tragedy of what can happen in a society when hate crimes, bigotry, and racism go unchecked; and
WHEREAS, Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, public officials and others on various media platforms have helped exacerbate anti-Asian American bias and discrimination by using terms like the “China Virus” and “Kung Flu” in describing the COVID-19 virus; and
WHEREAS, According to the Stop AAPI Hate coalition, nearly 3,800 hate crimes occurred across the United States against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community between March 2020 and February 2021, including nearly 1,700 incidents in California; and
WHEREAS, These incidents include numerous assaults against AAPI community members, including the elderly, resulting in severe injury and death, and the most recent of which involved the killing of eight people in Atlanta, Georgia, among them six women of Asian descent; and
WHEREAS, There are alarming parallels between the Chinese Massacre of 1871 and current hate crimes being perpetrated against the AAPI community in California; and
WHEREAS, It is important to reject racism and anti-AAPI bias to create a more inclusive and harmonious society in California and across the nation; and
WHEREAS, We must teach our future generations about the horrible history of such racially motivated violent events in order to remain vigilant against bigotry, hatred, and persecution to prevent similar atrocities from being repeated; and
WHEREAS, The Chinese Massacre of 1871 is an important part of the City of Los Angeles and California history and it is critical that we mark the 150th anniversary of this event appropriately; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That the Legislature commemorates October 24, 2021 as the 150th Anniversary of the Chinese Massacre of 1871, one of the most significant incidences of racially motivated violence in California history; and be it further
Resolved, That the Legislature commemorates this day as a means of fostering awareness about this incident in an effort to promote inclusiveness, tolerance, and unity, while recognizing and appreciating the priceless contributions individuals from all backgrounds, including immigrants, make to the greatness of the United States and especially to our great state, California; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the Governor, the Speaker of the Assembly, the President pro Tempore of the Senate, and the author for appropriate distribution.