Announcements & Events
May 10, 2023
The Social Justice Committee of the San Joaquin Delta Teachers Association monthly remembrance of an anniversary of a significant event in Social Justice, Equity, or Civil Rights from U.S. History.
May 10 is the anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Yick Wo v. Hopkins from 1886. This case determined that no State may “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.” This unanimous decision applied to all citizens and non-citizens alike.
The case involved two Chinese immigrants, Lee Yick and Wo Lee, who ran laundries in San Francisco. The city began to require permits to operate laundries in wooden building, but in accordance with the extremely racist and discriminatory practices of the era, denied permits to any and all such businesses run by Chinese immigrants. When both men continued to operate their businesses and refused to pay any fines, they were arrested and jailed.
The significance of this case, the universal application of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to all citizens and non-citizens within the United States and the extreme bravery needed to file such a case, cannot be underestimated.
It is interesting to note that Yick Wo was the name of the laundry where Lee Yick worked (see illustration) and that the Sheriff of San Francisco was Peter Hopkins.
For further on this topic you can find many online articles and I have provided some related links below.