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Antioch Mayor Issues Apology to Chinese Americans for Discrimination Dating Back to the 40s

The city of Antioch Friday made a public apology to a Navy veteran for discrimination he faced in the city back in the 1940s.

“I’m sorry that you had to experience that in my city,” said Mayor Lamar Thorpe. “But today we want to rectify that.”

It’s an apology 82 years in the making to a man sitting in his San Leandro senior living facility.

Alfred Chan, 98, was surrounded by family as he recounted the discrimination and hate he, and two other men, faced eight decades ago.

“It’s a shame, all three of us served in the armed forces to help this country. We all got up and walked out,” said Chan. “I hope this will never be again.”

At just 16, Chan and his friends were denied service from an Antioch restaurant for being chinese.

An experience that still frequently occupies his mind. 

“Our blood is red, we are no different. Please treat everyone, please treat everyone the same,” he said.

Last year, the city of Antioch was the first city in the state to issue a public apology to the 

Chinese community for a long history of discrimination. 

“This is just a small gesture but hopefully a small gesture that brings him some level of closure that Antioch has evolved,” said Thorpe.

The restaurant incident wasn’t the only time the World War II Navy veteran came face to face with America’s racism. In fact, he faced discrimination frequently, from the classroom to war zones.

His family says it’s a shame their father has never wanted to discuss. 

“By talking about it today and making it visible to all, I think it is a healing process, not only for him but for all of us who are Chinese American,” said his son Ron Chan. 

Righting a wrong eight decades later, Chan and his family believe there is no deadline on an apology.  

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” said Chan.  


Source: NBC Bay Area

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