Standing Strong for Inclusion: Commemorate the 140th Anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act

Dear Friends,

On behalf of the Commemoration Committee, we invite you to join us as a community partner for a series of commemorative events to highlight the resilience of our communities and affirm our solidarity with all people who are fighting for inclusion, not exclusion. You may help us by signing on as a community partner, sharing, and encouraging your members to attend our events. If you would like to be a community partner, please send your logo to Eddie Wong eddieoak@att.net. To be included in the print poster, please send in logos by 4/23. May 6, 2022 marks the 140th anniversary of the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, the nation’s first law to single out an ethnic group as undesirable and ineligible for U.S. citizenship. In the decades that followed, this exclusion was expanded to cover most countries across Asia and the Pacific. The Act was repealed only in 1943, finally ending 61 years of official discrimination. But did its effects ever truly leave us? Today, we are experiencing a dismaying rise in violent attacks on Asian Americans. We cannot afford to stay silent; we must instead stand together to stop the hateful legacy of this Act that our community continues to face.

We have planned the following events:

Friday, May 6 at 10:30 a.m.  on Angel Island – SF Bay Area community leaders will lay a memorial wreath at the Chinese Immigrant Monument at the Angel Island Immigration Station. Participants will also place the remaining pieces of a 140-candle display for the “Lighting the Darkness” exhibit in the Detention Barracks. 

Friday, May 6 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture  – “Off the Grid” opens at 5pm, at 8pm filmmaker Felicia Lowe and visual installation artist Ben Wood will present “Exclusion/Inclusion,”  a site based video projection on the walls of Fort Mason’s building B, and onto the windows of the Guard House showing a series of videos about Angel Island Immigration Station. 

Saturday, May 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – San Francisco Chinatown.   “Standing Strong: 140 Years After the Chinese Exclusion Act,” a program at the Chinese Culture Center.  Two short films by Felicia Lowe: What’s Your Real Name? and Carved in Silence, will be followed by remarks on current immigration issues by USF law professor Bill Hing, and reflections by community and youth leaders addressing the need for solidarity amid the continued rise of anti-Asian hate. 

The program concludes with artists Summer Mei Ling Lee’s and Stephan Xie’s  “In Honor of Our Belonging,” a procession and remembrance of survivors of anti-Asian hate. Priests from the Taoist Lotus Institute will perform a blessing ritual while the names of 140 people whose lives were impacted by the Chinese Exclusion Act are read by members of our community and those standing in solidarity with us.  Participants will then walk on the pedestrian bridge into Portsmouth Square where incense and photos will be placed at a community altar. For those interested in signing up for the procession, or bringing photo for the altar, please contact jenny@cccsf.us

June and July 2022. Dates and location TBD.  As part of the community program “The Conversation from Vincent Chin to George Floyd” in June, a 90-minute youth-centered workshop entitled “A River’s Journey: Diaspora, Othering and Statehood” will be offered. The workshop contextualizes U.S. immigration policy as it pertains to our own immigration histories. The emergent wave of anti-API hatred has historical and material roots, and the practical and political need for community solidarity across ethnic and racial lines will be highlighted.

Additionally, in July an event focused on creative expression will take place, offering youth the opportunity to create artwork, murals, and skits in celebration of multicultural solidarity.

Supporters/Partners can also make a donation to underwrite activities with a tax-deductible gift. All tax-deductible contributions may be made out to Chinese for Affirmative Action, 17 Walter U Lum Place, San Francisco, CA 94108. Please indicate that the donation is for the Commemoration Committee.

Sincerely,

The Commemoration Committee
eddieoak@att.net/jenny@cccsf.us