District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim, who was one of 7X7 magazine’s “Hot 20 2010,” is now a cover-legislator to boot.

Kim graces the front of this month’s KoreaAm, a monthly magazine about the Korean-American experience. A couple of extracts from her interview:

QUESTION: Why are you interested in issues like equity?

JANE: Having grown up in a variety of neighborhoods in New York City, I was very aware of racism; it was much more in-your-face when I was growing up. The tangible experience of watching your parents get treated disrespectfully is hard to understand as a child. Then in eighth grade, I first learned about the hate crime [by Detroit autoworkers] that killed Vincent Chin, and that was when there were growing tensions between African American communities and Korean American businesses, and it moved me. The 1992 Los Angeles riots also made an impact. In high school, I got involved in community service groups, and I had teachers that picked me out and put me in leadership development programs. Then before I knew it, this kind of work was all I wanted to do.

QUESTION: There was some grumblings on blogs and the internet during the campaign that you were playing the race card. Did you play the race card?

JANE: I don’t think so. I don’t think we ever thought about [using my race during the campaign]. I found that having an immigrant family experience allowed me to connect with a lot of different communities, whether it was Filipino, Vietnamese, Central American or Mexican. I do think being a daughter of immigrants [helped voters relate to me].

Kim has also caused a bit of a stir with her refusal to say the Pledge of Allegiance at Board of Supervisor meetings. (Video report from KTVU here.) This has irritated conservatives as well as some locals. (Not that the two are mutually exclusive.) (Well, not entirely.)

Kim recently talked to the Bay Area Reporter about her stance:

“It was a personal decision I made in high school. Every time I stand, I get a chance to reflect on how the work is so important,” said Kim, the first Korean American to serve on the board.”

Kim said her stance is similar to the one taken by Will Phillips, an Arkansas boy who garnered national news attention in 2009 when he refused to recite the pledge with his then fifth grade class because of laws banning LGBT people from marrying or adopting children.

“There are many examples in our country where we are still trying to move forward to that ideal we espouse. A great example is marriage equality,” said Kim, 33, a civil rights lawyer and community activist. “There are so many civil rights issues we are still working on in this country. It is not just LGBT rights but also communities of color, immigrants, and women. That is why I am so committed to public service. I do want to be a part of helping our nation achieve those ideals.”

Really if you think about it, it’s hard to believe that Kim is the first San Francisco supe to opt out of the pledge. You mean Chris Daly stood there with hand over heart mouthing “one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all”?

Maybe he had his fingers crossed…


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor for KQED's daily health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED News Fix.

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