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Asian Americans Flex Their Voting Power in SF School Board Recall

Proponents of the recall courted voters through Mandarin and Cantonese ads, emphasized the board’s role in changing admissions policies and amplified outrage over Collins’ old tweets, according to KQED.
Supporters of the San Francisco school board recall gather at a rally on Feb. 12. Photo: Stephen Lam/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
Supporters of the San Francisco school board recall gather at a rally on Feb. 12. Photo: Stephen Lam/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Asian Americans proved themselves to be a critical voting bloc this week as San Francisco overwhelmingly voted to remove three school board members from office.

Why it matters: The recall effort was largely driven by Asian American parents who were discontent with the board’s delay in reopening schools, accused board members of unfairly prioritizing efforts to rename schools and were upset about plans to install a lottery admissions system at a prestigious local high school.

  • The controversy spiraled further out of control after one board member’s 2016 tweets resurfaced. Commissioner Alison Collins had used racist tropes to accuse Asian Americans of indulging in “white supremacist thinking” while discussing anti-Blackness in Asian communities.
  • The comments led to an immediate backlash in the city, which experienced a 567% spike in anti-AAPI hate crimes last year.

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