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Lawsuit alleges school district, other commissioners twisted racial ‘seasoned social metaphors’

San Francisco Board of Education Commissioner Alison Collins on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the San Francisco Unified School District and five of her fellow commissioners who voted last week to remove her from her role as board vice president.

The resolution to remove Collins as vice president was drafted by commissioners Jenny Lam and Faauuga Moliga, after Twitter comments Collins made in 2016 that demeaned Asian Americans resurfaced last month.

In addition to the district, the suit also named commissioners Lam, Moliga, Matt Alexander, Kevine Boggess and Mark Sanchez as defendants.

The suit alleges the resolution was illegal and commissioners violated Collin’s first amendment rights of free speech by stripping her of her vice president role.

The suit said:

“Rather than take actions to protect Black and Brown children from racist harassment and bullying, defendants opted to ‘burn’ the messenger, using a pretzel-twisted redirection of Ms. Collins’ seasoned social metaphors aimed at uniting all marginalized, colonized and racially oppressed people against racism and oppression.”

The suit further alleges the action to remove Collins as vice presidents caused “irreparable injury, loss and damage to Ms. Collins, including damage to her reputation and standing in the community.”

The suit is seeking $12 million in damages from the district, as well as each of the five board members, in addition to an additional $3 million in punitive damages from the five board members, totaling $87 million altogether.

In the 2016 Twitter thread, Collins addressed anti-Black racism at her daughter’s Asian American majority school, using terms like “tiger moms” and “house n****r” toward Asian Americans and also accused Asian Americans of using “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.'”

When the old tweets were brought to light over a week ago, they were met with outrage and calls from several city leaders for Collins to step down, including both Lam and Moliga. Collins has since apologized for her past comments.

Collins and her supporters held a rally late Wednesday afternoon outside SFUSD headquarters.

“I will continue to advocate for children and family and for those whose voices are often unheard and whose futures lie in the balance,” Collins said at the rally. “I invite you to join me in making this moment count to not let me or anyone else be swept under the rug, canceled, or dismissed for speaking truth to power.”

SFUSD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Collins is being represented by attorney Charles Bonner.

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