Park-Li, Gimmy: Chinese Migration


Gimmy Park-Li: I think in any community, newcomers settle where they find their own community already there. So Chinese immigrants would settle in Chinatown because that’s where the jobs were. The garment factories, the restaurants, the shop-owners; they were all Chinese so that’s where you move. Eventually your family economics changes, it improves. It almost always does. And then you leave that little ghetto community and you go out. You go out into the Richmond, you go out into the Sunset. We should note though that the Sunset has Eric Mar who is a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who was “progressive.” I guess we don’t use liberal so much; we call it progressive. And then Supervisor Carmen Chu was appointed by Mayor Newsom to take over from the remaining term of former Supervisor Ed Jew. But she doesn’t always vote the same way. Just because they’re Chinese they don’t all vote the same way. She represents a different constituency. People in the Sunset have always been noted as more careful, a little more conservative, and even when they didn’t have an Asian-American supervisor. I think when the Anglo supervisor was there that was the case. But peoples’ lives improve, and then they move out. Now, the interesting thing here is that they do move out into other parts of San Francisco, but in many cases they move outside of San Francisco too because probably the properties are a little more affordable, the public school system is probably more responsive. I think in my family most of my nephew and nieces pretty much went to public schools in San Francisco because of that. I think I forgot your question if you want to remind me again. Jon Rubin: You answered it actually. I was asking about the migration, people moving, and demographics [ ] Gimmy Park-Li: They moved into North Beach. You’ll find very few Italian-Americans in North Beach so the demographics changed. Jon Rubin: And in fact we have a Chinese-American State Senator, Assembly member, we have [ ], we have Eric Mar, [ ], Gordon Lau is the first elected [ ], we have an Asian Mayor. Gimmy Park-Li: Today, Ed Lee. Ed Lee whose roots come from the Asian Law Caucus, a progressive organization is now the Mayor of San Francisco. Jean Quan is the Mayor of Oakland. They went to school together, did you know that? They went to UC Berkeley together.


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The Moscone oral history interviews are part of the George Moscone Collection, MSS 328.

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