Vancouver Sun: One City's Road to Racial Reconciliation by Daphne Braham

City
of New Westminister has released 30+ page report on its racist history,
which explains why the oldest city in BC, which formerly had one of the
oldest and important Chinatowns, forced Chinese out of New Westminster.
Great article by Daphne Braham, stating that “the report concluded that
a succession of civic leaders
tried to make it almost impossible for Chinese to earn a living there unless
they were servants.” I had always wondered why if our family's founder,
my great-great-grandfather ministered at the Chinese Methodist Church
in New Westminster, but none of our family lived there.

Check out the article by Daphne Braham.

http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/city+road+racial+reconciliation/2760353/story.html

One city's road to racial reconciliation

By Daphne Bramham, Vancouver SunApril 3, 2010

Wendy Harris urged the city of New Westminster at a public meeting on Wednesday to be specific about who was responsible for systemic racism against Chinese so that their names can be stripped from streets and schools.

Wendy
Harris urged the city of New Westminster at a public meeting on
Wednesday to be specific about who was responsible for systemic racism
against Chinese so that their names can be stripped from streets and
schools.

Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann, PNG, Vancouver Sun

The
city of New Westminster is the first Canadian city to admit to a
history of sustained and institutionalized racism against Chinese.

It is also the only one trying to find ways to reconcile with its citizens past and present.

The process is both well-intentioned and naive.

Staff
and a consultant looked only at council records and English-language
publications — one of which was edited by the Anti-Asiatic League's
treasurer — from 1860 to 1928. Chinese publications from the time are
readily available, but no one working on the report reads the language.

That
said, the report concluded that a succession of civic leaders tried to
make it almost impossible for Chinese to earn a living there unless
they were servants.

Yet even without those flaws, the process was destined to be painful, frustrating, at times angry, educational and transforming.

There
were hints of all of that at this week's first public meeting, where
suggestions for reconciliation ranged from collecting oral histories to
toppling prominent pioneers from their historic pedestals and renaming
streets, parks and public buildings.

There's no way to judge
whether New Westminster was worse than other cities. But suffice it to
say that New Westminster's civic leaders were extraordinarily
successful in driving Chinese out.

New Westminster's Chinese
population was 3,500 in 1891, a third of the population. Today, Chinese
account for only eight per cent of the population, 4,500 in a city of
64,000. Most have moved there since 2001.

Read the rest of the article:
http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/city+road+racial+reconciliation/2760353/story.html

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