Elected leaders call for San Francisco school board member to resign after 2016 ‘racist’ tweets
A chorus of elected officials are calling for a San Francisco school board member to step down, saying tweets she posted in 2016 were racist against Asian people.
Alison Collins, vice president and a two-year member of the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education, posted a Twitter thread four years ago that said she was “looking to combat anti-Black racism in the Asian community at [her] daughters’ mostly Asian Am school.”
In her Twitter thread, posted before she became a school board member, Collins said many Asian people do not talk about critical race theory and instead promote a “model minority” myth and use white supremacist thinking.
“Where are the vocal Asians speaking up against Trump? Don’t Asian Americans know they are on his list as well?” she tweeted. “Do they think they won’t be deported? profiled? beaten? Being a house n— is still being a n—. You’re still considered ‘the help.’ ”
The commissioner’s tweets resurfaced over the weekend, leading to a torrent of backlash from San Francisco leaders and residents, including calls for Collins to resign.
“We are outraged and sickened by the racist, anti-Asian statements tweeted by School Board Vice President Alison Collins that recently came to light,” began a letter signed by several San Francisco supervisors and other leaders. “No matter the time, no matter the place, and no matter how long ago the tweets were written, there is no place for an elected leader in San Francisco who is creating and/or created hate statements and speeches.”
In a separate statement, education board Commissioner Jenny Lam, who signed the letter, called for Collins to resign and publicly apologize. Lam added that seeing the tweets left her “shocked, dismayed and personally hurt.”
“Collins must address her racist comments. Instead, her refusal to apologize takes time and energy away from our work at the district,” Lam wrote.
Collins addressed the issue in a blog post Saturday, apologizing and saying that the tweets were “taken out of context.”
“But whether my tweets are being taken out of context or not, only one thing matters right now. And that is the pain our Asian American brothers and sisters and siblings are experiencing. Words have meaning and impact,” Collins wrote. “For the pain my words may have caused I am sorry, and I apologize unreservedly.”
As a Black mother, educator and advocate, Collins said, she used social media platforms to speak out against racism. She condemned anti-Asian bigotry and said she stood with the Asian American community.
Collins, along with Board President Gabriela López and Commissioner Faauuga Moliga, are the subject of a recall effort from parents and community members.
Mayor London Breed added her voice to the chorus calling for Collins’ resignation, tweeting: “Our students and our API community deserve better.”
“When communities are pitted against each other, we all lose,” Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) said in a statement. “During this moment of crisis and instability, we need school leaders who are unifying, and not dividing.”
Collins, who did not respond to a request for comment, pointed out in her blog post that the tweets were written less than a month after the 2016 presidential election, when “Donald Trump had just won an election fueled by division, racism and an anti-immigration agenda.”
Her daughter had also witnessed an Asian American student bullying a Latino classmate, prompting Collins to take to Twitter to ask for her followers for news stories highlighting hate speech or bullying of Asian students.
“It was a time of processing, of fear among many communities with the unknown of how the next four years would unfold,” Collins wrote in the blog post.
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