Despite Asian Americans making up over a third of Santa Clara farming, Mountain View was a regional leader in organizing anti-Asian local, state, and federal policies. The center of this movement was the Mountain View Anti-Coolie Club/Anti-Chinese Club that met downtown. Among its hundreds of members was Mountain View founding city council member Benjamin E. Burns. Other leaders then that shared these views included then school leader, now school namesake, Frank L Huff. The Anti-Coolie Club of Mountain View actively intimidated MV residents to not hire Chinese labor in hopes of driving them out of town. These attitudes were common throughout the Bay Area, propagated by leaders like Leland Stanford. What Stanford has done to reconcile this is to actively teach about its sad past. Mountain View must do the same. Learn more here.
Mountain View along with most cities in the region celebrated the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
AAPI MV's first rally post was designed to reconcile with this terrible part of Mountain View and Bay Area history.
Many of Mountain View's early farmers were Asian American. Ryohitsu Shibuya came to Mountain View with $60 and become a highly regarded grower of chrysanthemums. Mrs. Shibuya died in the internment camps.
While some Mountain View residents helped watch after their Japanese American neighbors' property, many more stood by silently as families were processed at the Castro train station for internment.
SSGT Bill Iwao Yamaji student of Mountain View schools from elementary through high school. He volunteered for the army while his family was interned. He died June 15 1944, fighting in Italy.
1946, the last remnants of Mountain View's original Chinatown (200 block of View St burned down (while MV Chinatown faced many earlier threats, no evidence of arson for this fire).
Today, Mountain View downtown is a regional center of Asian stores. Its city civic leadership has among the highest APA representation found in the region.
Yet too few in Mountain View or the Bay Area know the long history, achievements and struggles made by Asian Americans of the past.
To speak of this past is to reconcile this past, and to remind everyone of Asian American history. We march and rally to demand attention to past and present hate crimes.
Documentary on Bay Area Asian American history by NBC Bay Area Revelations. Linked here is an article on Santa Clara County Chinese American history by Dr. Michael Chang. Linked here is a video series by PBS on Asian American and Pacific Islander history.
Pictured below are the previous mayor Margaret Abe-Koga (left) and current Mayor of Mountain View Ellen Kamei (right). Wish founding city council member Benjamin E. Burns could see this photo.