David Chiu makes San Francisco Board of Supervisors history by becoming the first Chinese American elected as Board President. Normally I wouldn’t even have noticed a news event like this one, as I’m already familiar with other Chinese Americans that have attained higher status in political positions.
What made me take a second look at the news event was the name David Chiu, which was also my father’s name. The name David Chiu is of course pretty common, as it’s also the name of a famous poker player. Interestingly enough the article touches on luck/superstition (the topic of my previous posting), discussing the fact that David Chiu was elected President of the Board of Supervisors on January 8, with 8 being a lucky number.
The article also discusses the possibility of a Chinese American attaining the city of San Francisco’s highest position, mayor, a position which to my surprise hasn’t been held by an Asian American. On reflection I guess it should be no surprise to anyone in the Bay Area, since as recently as 1968 (which brought the Fair Housing Act), Asian Americans couldn’t even own a home in many parts of the Bay Area due to “Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions,” or CC&R’s, written in by home developers. When purchasing my first home (built in 1963) I had to sign CC&R’s at closing that indicated I could not own my home or live in it (except as a servant to the white owners). I signed anyway, as the escrow agent assured me all illegal parts of the CC&R’s were not enforceable.
Because we take so much for granted these days, it’s important to realize that small victories like this one for the Asian American community are pretty big, given how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time.