Traveling Festival
Special Screenings

The Constitution Project: Yick Wo and the Equal Protection Clause

The Constitution Project: Yick Wo and the Equal Protection Clause

(20 minutes) USA

Tuesday, 10/26, 4:00pm (Session XIII)

Director/Producer: Robe Imbriano


In 1880, the city of San Francisco passed a health and safety ordinance—all laundries in wooden buildings had to get the approval of the Board of Supervisors in order to obtain a license. The law, on its face, didn't single out the Chinese. But when it was applied, every Chinese laundry owner in the city was denied a permit. Every white-owned laundry was granted a permit. Yick Wo refused to shut down his business and was arrested. He fought his case from behind bars. He took it all the way to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court determined that the ordinance was unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment's "equal protection" clause because of the unequal application of the law. It was the very first Supreme Court case to use this standard and it did so almost eighty years before the Court's landmark rulings striking down Jim Crow statutes enacted in the segregationist south. Yick Wo was not an American citizen—because by law he wasn't allowed to be. Yet the Court ruled that his rights were still protected by the 14th Amendment because it says that no state shall "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." It does not limit that protection only to citizens.


Robe Imbriano has produced for everyone from Peter Jennings to Bill Moyers, from Ted Koppel to Oprah Winfrey, winning numerous awards along the way.  In over a decade at ABC News, he was part of the production teams that first brought to air series' such as "PrimeTime Live," "Day One," and "World News Now," as well as special events such as "The Century."  In 1999, he founded Crystal Stair Productions, Inc., his own production company dedicated to bringing traditionally marginalized stories to a national audience. For the last six years he has led a team that has produced eleven films about the Constitution, reaching tens of thousands of schools across the country.

Contact Information:

The Documentary Group
1103 North El Centro Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
E-mail: info@thedocumentarygroup.com
Web site: www.thedocumentarygroup.com

©2010 United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF)

Select a film

$100 a Day
The 10 Conditions of Love
All At Sea
The Bicycle
Children of Gaza
Climate Refugees
The Constitution Project: Yick Wo and the Equal Protection Clause
Crossing Hispaniola: Stories on Statelessness and Migration
The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan
Dead End: Afghan Migrants
Delicious Peace Grows in a Ugandan Coffee Bean
The Desert of Forbidden Art
Determined to Dance
Dreams Awake
Education on the Boat – Hope for Tomorrow
The First Kid to Learn English from Mexico
Home for Hawksbill
Home is Where You Find It
In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee
Killing in the Name
The Last Elephants in Thailand
Let's Make Money
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
Mrs. Goundo's Daughter
New American Soldier
The Old Immigrant's Dance
Oliviero Toscani - The Rage of Images
Our Summer in Tehran
Prayers for Peace
Presumed Guilty
Queen of the Sun
Rabbit a la Berlin
Rapping in Tehran
Rescuing Emmanuel
Satellite Queens
Scientists under Attack -
Genetic Engineering in the Magnetic Field of Money
Secrets of the Tribe
Sing China!
Slaves - An Animated Documentary
Stinking Ship
Strange Birds in Paradise - A West Papuan Story
There Once Was an Island
Three Songs About Motherland
Wahid's Mobile Bookstore
Waliden, Children of Others
War and Love in Kabul
War Don Don
Which Way Home
Who Killed Chea Vichea?
Without Country
World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements