Chinese Historical Society of America

The Chinese Historical Society of America Presents Awards Ceremony

Chinese Historical Society of America

The Chinese Historical Society of America Presents Awards Ceremony at Press Conference to Celebrate the Passage of House Resolution 683

Friday, August 17, 2012, 1:30pm–2:30pm at CHSA, 965 Clay Street, San Francisco

www.chsa.org

13 August 2012, San Francisco: On Friday, August 17, 2012, from 1:30pm to 2:30pm, there will be a special awards ceremony and press conference at the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum to celebrate the passage of House Resolution 683, a Congressional resolution expressing “regret for Chinese Exclusionary Laws.” Organized by the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA), the event will feature talks by Congresswoman Judy Chu and Assembly member Paul Fong, a video presentation about the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and the campaign to secure the Congressional apology, and a special performance by storyteller/musician Charlie Chin. This event is free and open to the public. The Chinese Historical Society of America Museum is located at 965 Clay Street (between Powell and Stockton Streets) in San Francisco. More information is available at www.apapa.org and www.chsa.org.

To celebrate the historic passage of HR 683, CHSA Artist in Residence Charlie Chin will perform songs that look back over 150 years of the Chinese American experience, and salute the early pioneers who faced the violence, discrimination, and barriers of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Chin dedicates his presentation to his father Chin Hung Ock, who arrived in the United States in 1925 and did not live to see this historic day.

At the event, the Chinese Historical Society of America will announce plans for its 2012 Voices & Vision Gala: Honoring the Spirit, Fortitude & Enduring Legacy of Chinese Americans, to be held on Saturday, September 22, at the Four Seasons Hotel, 757 Market Street, San Francisco.

“Our 2012 Voices & Vision Gala will focus on how the Asian American community is building on its historical legacy,” said CHSA executive director Sue Lee, “and will recognize the achievements of three extraordinary women: Congresswoman Judy Chu, journalist Manli Ho, and community historian Connie Young Yu. The honorees are significant voices expressing the broad range of perspectives and experiences of the Chinese American community, and have provided visionary leadership in realizing important achievements in the name of social justice and equality.”

Congresswoman Judy Chu led the effort to pass HR 683 expressing regret for the passage of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. Journalist Manli Ho investigated the long-lost story of Chinese diplomat Dr. Feng Shan Ho, who saved thousands of Jewish lives from 1938-40 by providing exit visas to Shanghai. Community Historian Connie Young Yu has devoted her energies for more than a quarter of a century to rediscovering a history of Chinese and Asian America that has, for the most part, been forgotten, overlooked, and even hidden.

CHSA’s annual Gala has grown to be an event of national importance reflecting the pioneering role that CHSA has performed for nearly 50 years. Journalist and MSNBC dayside news anchor Richard Lui will emcee the Gala program, which features a special performance by Beach Blanket Babylon.

ABOUT THE CHINESE EXCLUSION LAWS

Between 1870 and 1904, the U.S. Congress legislated a series of Chinese Exclusion Laws, which explicitly discriminated against persons of Chinese descent based on race. In 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which imposed a ten-year moratorium on Chinese labor immigration. This was later expanded to apply to all persons of Chinese descent. Congress revisited the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1884, 1888, 1892, 1902, and 1904, each time imposing increasingly severe restrictions on immigration and naturalization.

By directly targeting persons of Chinese descent for physical and political exclusion, the laws legitimized the political alienation and persecution of Chinese laborers and settlers, affecting the ability of Chinese persons to pursue life in America without fear, and impairing the establishment of Chinese family life in America.

Although the Chinese Exclusion Laws were repealed in 1943 as a war measure after China became a World War II ally of the United States, Congress had never acknowledged that the laws violated fundamental civil rights of Chinese Americans.

Passage of HR 683 during the 112th Congress (2011-2012) resulted from the nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy and education efforts of the 1882 Project, which focused on educating lawmakers and the public about the Chinese Exclusion Laws and the impact such legislation had on Chinese American history. The 1882 Project worked with Congress to pass resolutions expressing regret for the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Laws, and to increase national awareness of the laws. Several national civil rights organizations spearhead the 1882 Project: the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, the Committee of 100, the National Council of Chinese Americans, and OCA.

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Founded in 1963, CHSA is the oldest and largest organization in the country dedicated to the documentation, study, and presentation of Chinese American history. In 2011, CHSA celebrated the 10th anniversary of its opening at the landmark Julia Morgan-designed Chinatown YWCA building in 2001. Through exhibitions, publications, and educational, public programming, CHSA promotes the contributions and legacy of Chinese Americans.

The Chinese Historical Society of America is located at 965 Clay Street, San Francisco, 94108. Museum hours are Tuesday-Friday 12-5pm, and Saturdays 11am–4pm. (Closed Sunday, Monday, and Holidays.) Admission to the museum is $5 for adults, $3 for students/seniors, $2 for children 6-17. The museum is free the first Thursday of the month. Further information is available by calling (415) 391-1188 x101, or at www.chsa.org