Muslim, Civil Rights Groups Mourn Passing of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee

Today, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus (“Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus”) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations of the San Francisco Bay Area (“CAIR-SFBA”) mourn the passing of San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee. Mayor Lee was a dedicated public servant who spent his career and life working to advance the rights of vulnerable communities. We are deeply saddened by the loss.

“The staff and board of the San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations sends its condolences to Mayor Lee’s wife and daughters, as well as his many friends and colleagues who today walk with a heavy heart,” said Zahra Billoo, CAIR-SFBA Executive Director. “Our communities mourn a leader who courageously stood with us before and after the recent election.”

Mayor Lee signed the Safe San Francisco Civil Rights Ordinance (“Ordinance”) into law in 2011; the Ordinance ensures that local police officers working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation follow stronger local and state law, instead of problematic federal rules, when working on federal task forces. This key protection for the AMEMSA community is more important than ever, given the openly-Islamophobic agenda of the current President.

“Mayor Lee knew that standing with the AMEMSA community by supporting the Safe San Francisco Civil Rights Ordinance was the right thing to do for the City, and we are grateful to him for taking up the mantle” said Christina Sinha, Staff Attorney and Program Manager at Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus. “During his tenure, San Francisco has taken several key steps to protect the AMEMSA community from federal abuses, all of which have become models for other cities to emulate.”

Under Mayor Lee’s leadership, San Francisco also passed the first Anti-Registry (“Non-Cooperation with Identity- Based Registry”) Ordinance in the country to protect communities against Donald Trump’s campaign promise to create a so-called “Muslim registry.”

“Mayor Lee took bold steps to enact laws with real teeth to protect our communities against racial and religious profiling,” said Elica Vafaie, Staff Attorney and Program Manager at Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus. “His leadership and commitment to our AMEMSA communities set the tone for the rest of the country, particularly in the wake of the national elections.”