Angel Island Insight #7: Heather Knight

What a beautiful day in the bay. Took the ferry to Angel Island and hiked to the top. Back to work Monday. Sounds like there’s plenty to write about. 😉 #TotalSF

Heather Knight is the San Francisco bureau chief of The New York Times, reporting on the biggest stories in the Bay Area and Northern California. A columnist working out of City Hall and covering everything from politics to homelessness to family flight and the quirks of living in one of the most fascinating cities in the world. She believes in holding politicians accountable for their decisions or, often, lack thereof – and telling the stories of real people and their struggles.

HEATHER KNIGHT 5:41 PM · Apr 2, 2021 · Twitter for iPhone

In 2021, Heather was co-host of the Chronicle’s TotalSF podcast, co-founding the #TotalSF program with Peter Hartlaub, to celebrate the wonder and whimsy of San Francisco.

“Secrets of Angel Island“ with retired ranger and historian John Martini, recorded for the June 18, 2021 Total SF podcast.

Two decades earlier in 2001, Heather visited Angel Island, following a group of students visiting the Immigration Barracks on a field trip.

“About 47,000 Bay Area students — ranging from fourth grade to college — take the Angel Island tour every year, said Ellen Loring, volunteer coordinator for the Angel Island Association. Weekday field trips are booked solid through June.

Cap Wilhelm-Safian, who teaches English and history at River Glen, a Spanish immersion school for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, said he’s taken students to Angel Island for six years.

“I find with students that to actually experience something and be in the place, it brings it home,” he said. “It’s important for them to understand that everybody in this country is an immigrant. It expands their sense of community beyond the school.”

Kids Learn Angel Island Not Always Heavenly by Heather Knight, Chronicle Staff Writer, Jan. 26, 2001.

John Martini, a historical consultant and State Parks volunteer, took views photos from Angel Island while documenting the island’s historical structures. Photo from San Francisco Chronicle article, “Angel Island is open. Here are 5 wonders from the underrated state park,” published on June 19, 2021.

In 2021, ferry service from San Francisco to Angel Island was in question, and the public was invited to submit their comments to the CPUC HERE. Facing declining ridership, increased operating costs and plummeting revenues even before the pandemic, Blue & Gold Fleet submitted a request to the California Public Utilities Commission to discontinue passenger trips from The City to both Angel Island and Tiburon. “We just strongly believe there has to be direct service from San Francisco to Angel Island. “Not having that is similar to not having direct service from Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty,” says Ed Tepporn, Executive Director of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation.

At the May 4, 2021 meeting of the Board of Supervisors, a resolution was introduced, reaffirming the importance of Angel Island State Park and the Angel Island Immigration Station as sites of immense public and historic interest, and urging the California Public Utilities Commission, California Department of Parks and Recreation, and Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District Board of Directors to take all necessary measures to ensure continued access to Angel Island. “When my father and my grandmother came to this country, like thousands of other immigrants from China and elsewhere, they were detained at the Immigration Station on Angel Island. As we recognize Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we have to recognize this history,” said Supervisor Gordon Mar. “Angel Island remains a vital part of our city, our state, and our nation’s history of immigration, and racist and exclusionary treatment of immigrants. To build a more just future, we have to contend with the injustices of our past. We have to preserve these places, their memories, and their lessons.”

On December 13, 2021. Golden Gate Ferry took over service to Angel Island State Park after Blue and Gold Fleet announced in December 2020 its intentions to cease operations to Angel Island.

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