Hispanic and Latino Community Leaders Call on Kansen Chu to Apologize for Racist Remarks and Abstention on ACA5

In World Journal, June 11, 2020 Mr. Chu claims many Latino parents do not care about their children’s education or college attendance, that many Latino and African Americans are 'unable to compete' due to 'unresolved structural economic and educational problems, and perpetuates the "model minority" racial stereotype by suggesting the current unjust system benefits Chinese Americans because they 'are already good at school and employment and would suffer even more.' 

June 15, 2020


SAN JOSE, CA - On Wednesday, June 10, 2020, the California State Assembly voted on Assembly Constitutional Amendment (ACA) Number 5, to place an amendment to repeal California Prop 209 (a 1996 initiative that eliminated demographic and ethnic information from consideration in hiring and admissions), on the November ballot. The Assembly passed the measure by a narrow margin, but a notable abstention from South Bay legislator Kansen Chu has raised serious concerns. More concerning are statements he made the following day, which bring to light beliefs and values that are not beholden to someone in public office. On June 11, 2020, the World Journal interviewed Kansen Chu about his ACA 5 vote and his feelings about Prop 209. Chu referred to addressing systemic inequality as “entrance tickets”, and falsely claimed that “many Hispanic American parents explicitly stated that they did not care about their children’s education, they are busy with their livelihoods, and they did not intend to let their children attend college”. He went on to say that “many Hispanic and African ethnic groups are unable to compete” and that younger people, especially Chinese Americans, in support of ACA 5 don’t understand the issue.* Click Here for World Journal Link 

The abstention, in conjunction with his recent comments in the Chinese news media, has called into question Chu’s values and fitness for office and has prompted many prominent Latino Community leaders to respond.

Víctor Garza, Chairman of La Raza Roundtable de California has called for Assemblymember Chu to be removed from office, “I have been involved in the education arena in San Jose, California for over 50 years. I have yet to hear one Hispanic/ Latino parent state that they don’t want their children to be educated. Education is our freedom and freedom should be everybody’s business. Kansen Chu’s most recent vote in Sacramento on ACA-5 in June 2020  is a reflection of his racism against, women and people of color. Assemblyman Chu should be removed from the Assembly and any other Board, Commission, and or Committee where his participation impacts women and people of color."

Blanca Alvarado, the first Latina elected to San Jose City Council and the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and the first Latina to serve as the board's chairperson expressed her disgust with Mr. Chu’s recent comments, “I am offended that Kansen Chu believes, as stated in a newspaper article, that Latino parents do not care about their children’s' education or attending college. His publicly stated comments reflect ignorance and cultural bias. Such baseless and divisive beliefs only serve to perpetuate negative stereotypes that have to be denounced by society at all levels. I urge the voters to support Otto Lee for County Supervisor because he has consistently championed human rights and justice for all the people.” 

Mr. Chu is currently running against former Mayor of Sunnyvale Otto Lee to replace Dave Cortese on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. Otto Lee has been clear and vocal in his support for affirmative action and ACA-5, his resolve stemming from personal experience. Lee expressed his disappointment and concerns regarding both Kansen’s no vote and statements, “It is clear from his comments that Mr. Chu understands systemic racial inequity exists, and yet he chose inaction,” noted Lee. “Then to use non-English media to make racist statements and to mislead his Chinese speaking constituents about this vote is incredibly troubling. To speak with such openly prejudiced rhetoric hidden under the veil of a language barrier is both unacceptable and tone-deaf to this moment in our Nation’s history. Mr. Chu needs to explain his actions and apologize immediately for both his racist remarks and attempts to mislead voters.” 

The last few years have been a stark reminder of the need for leadership that will speak up and speak out to defend all members of their communities and embrace the beautiful and growing diversity of our neighborhoods. 


Otto Lee is running for Santa Clara County Supervisor in District 3 and has the support of the Democratic Party, League of Conservation Voters, Congressmember Anna Eshoo, Former US Secretary of Transportation and San José Mayor Norman Mineta, Former Congressman Mike Honda, Former San José Mayor Ron Gonzales, and dozens of local elected officials. A full list of endorsers is available at ottolee.org/endorsements.


*All quotes from Assemblymember Chu have been translated from Chinese

Click here to see the San Jose Spotlight article: "South Bay leaders demand Kansen Chu resign over racially-charged remarks"

Click here to see the Mercury News article: "Civil rights leaders call for Assemblyman Kansen Chu to resign over 'racist' remarks"