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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 Contact Person: Malcolm Yeung, (415) 984-1458

An Open Letter and Community Call to Action


We, the undersigned, offer these words to the Chinese American community and to the public at large: With the revelations of the corruption indictment of Senator Leland Yee, the past several weeks have been a shocking, troubling period for the people of San Francisco and the greater Bay Area. Its been especially alarming for Chinese Americans, as the inevitable fallout has brought intense scrutiny on our community and, from some quarters, misguided doubts about the integrity of Chinese American leadership as a whole. After years of toil and effort, and hardfought gains, to become full participants in our local politics, we cannot let the alleged corruption of a few set back the progress of the great many. Some members of the media and others are tempted to interpret the indictments of Leland Yee and his co-conspirators as a stain on the entire Chinese American community or, worse, to approach our community with renewed suspicion. Some have gone so far as to ask whether the Yee indictment should cast doubt on all Chinese American elected officials in the Bay Area. But, the fact is, nobody maligns the entire collection of white elected officials when a John Edwards or Eliot Spitzer is disgraced; nobody suggests all Latino leaders are complicit in the Ron Calderon affair; African Americans are not blamed for the crimes of Rep. William Jefferson or Mayor Ray Nagin. And the same is true here: there is nothing about the Chinese American political community, or its culture, that is under indictment, only the shocking allegations against a few. In fact, law enforcement has done the Chinese American community a great service. It has weeded out alleged wrongdoing that, if proven, has festered way too long! Far from casting doubt on the reliability of Chinese American leaders generally, the Leland Yee indictments should re-affirm our faith in the American political system, of which we have fought so hard to be a part. If you cheat, you get caught. It's that simple. . This is nothing to celebrate or smile about, but justice is justice. For Chinese Americans, this incident should also encourage us to participate in the civic process more, not less. Our votes matter as do the politicians we help elect. Our participation is critical to the integrity and fairness of the system, and its important that we act as full participants at every level and not operate on the margins. In fact, this past week should illustrate the maturation of our communitys place in the Bay Areas political system, as well as our resilience over the many decades. Theres no doubt Leland Yee was a

prominent Chinese American political figure but he is not the only representative from our community. The vast majority of our elected officials will pour their hearts and souls into representing their constituents to the best of their ability. The FBIs tenacity in pursuing this case shows that, going forward, other politicians, including any Chinese American ones, must think twice before breaking the law. Theyre going to get caught, and they should. Law enforcement has shown its determination to protect the integrity of the system. Just as important, we must show our determination to respect, and reflect, todays more inclusive civic institutions, and the best way to do that is to participate. One politician does not make an entire political system. The people make the political system. So take note, brothers and sisters, but do not let anyone put you on the defensive. Now Leland Yee will have his day in court to defend himself; we as a community have nothing to defend. Signed, NAME: Rose Pak Rev. Norman Fong Anni Chung Gordon Chin Sarah Wan Wing Hoo Leung Kinson Wong Phil Chin Chang Jok Lee Carol Kuong Patricia Thomas Amor Santiago Jon Osaki Allan Low Cindy Wu Eric Wu Victor M. Hwang Charles Chan Tilly Chang Eva Tam Tong Zhang Douglas Wong Malcolm Yeung Michael Kay ORGANIZATION FOR IDENTIFICATION PURPOSE ONLY Community Leader Chinatown Community Development Center Self Help for the Elderly Community Leader Community Youth Center of San Francisco Community Tenants Association R&G Lounge Chinatown Transportation, Research and Improvement Project Ping Yuen Residents Improvement Association Committee for Better Parks and Rec in Chinatown SF Housing Authority Commission APA Family Support Service Japanese Community Youth Center SF Recreation and Park Commission SF Planning Commission SF Youth Commission Community Attorney Chinese American Association of Commerce Washington Bakery AOPA Cathay Post #384 Chinese Chamber of Commerce Chinatown CDC Sam Yup Association

Linda Chow Donald Luu Tony Zhang Florence Kong Grace Yuen Harlan Wong Kitman Chan Eddie K. Au Esther Li Michael Lau Teresa Cheung Kenny Tse Francis So Sidney Chan ###

Chase International Inc. Community Architect Chinese Chamber of Commerce Chinese Chamber of Commerce Chinese Chamber of Commerce Chinese Chamber of Commerce Chinese Chamber of Commerce Chinese Chamber of Commerce Chinese Chamber of Commerce Chinese Chamber of Commerce Chinese Chamber of Commerce Chinese Chamber of Commerce Chinese Chamber of Commerce Community Leader

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