The untold story of Asian American grassroots in San Francisco's Chesa Boudin recall
Asian Americans are emerging as a potent political force in San Francisco, with some reporting they were key to the recall of its district attorney, Chesa Boudin, on Tuesday
June 9, 2022 8:44am
Updated: June 9, 2022 12:39pm
Asian Americans are emerging as a potent political force in San Francisco, with some reporting they were key to the recall of its district attorney, Chesa Boudin, on Tuesday.
Reporter Zaid Jilani drew a connection between the Boudin’s recall to the recall of three progressive city school board members in February, in which Asian Americans (AAPIs) played a key role in volunteering turning out voters.
“The story of the Chesa Boudin recall is closely tied to the recall of three school board members earlier this year. Largely Chinese American grassroots organizers were involved in both,” Jilani tweeted Tuesday evening.
“Much of the organizing and outreach was done on WeChat in Chinese language text messages and chat groups,” he added.
The role of Chinese Americans in the earlier school board recall has been widely covered, driven by the implementation of a lottery system at a highly selective prep school and tweets by one board member that suggested Asians used “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.’”
The three commissioners were removed by almost 80% of voters in what the New York Times politely called a “lopsided victory.”
Boudin’s relationships with the Asian community chilled over the perception he was not taking the city’s wave of anti-Asian attacks seriously, like when his office dropped charges against a man who recorded an attack on an elderly Asian man collecting aluminum cans.
A poll by the San Francisco Standard in May found that 67% of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters were in favor of recalling Boudin, compared to 52% of Hispanics, 51% of whites, and 34% of Blacks.
Jade Tu, who volunteered for the recall effort the day of the election, said she got involved in politics for the first time in her life because she saw attacks, some fatal, against Asian Americans continue unabated.
Jade Tu, an outer Sunset native, has been up since 3:55 a.m volunteering. She never got involved in politics before but felt compelled as she saw attacks, some fatal, against Asian-Americans, and what she felt was as a lack of empathy and consequences from Boudin. pic.twitter.com/eDeeUlFzIz— Mallory Moench (@mallorymoench) June 8, 2022
“I just want hard criminals to be prosecuted and those who deserve a second chance to get a second chance. When someone murders someone, they don’t deserve a second chance,” Tu told San Francisco Chronicle reporter Mallory Moench at the pro-recall party after polls closed Tuesday.
“I care about my community and they are suffering because of policies. He needs to go.”