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Chinese Historical Society of America Summer Bulletin of Events






Last Thursday, California State Parks put Angel Island State Park, home of the U.S.Immigration Station, a National Historic Landmark, on the chopping block.  Unless the Legislature rescinds or amends Gov. Schwarzenegger's budget cut of $143 million for the state parks, Angel Island State Park will be closed after Labor Day.  

The Legislature will make its decision by June 30, 2009 on the state budget cuts. On Tuesday, June 2, the Budget Conference Committee will meet at the State Capitol in Room 4203 starting at 9:30 am.  Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation will testify and the public is also invited to comment on the proposed cuts. 

If you cannot make it to Sacramento tomorrow, you can help by sending a letters to Governor Schwarzenegger and to your state representatives. Click here to act now! 

The hour is late and the stakes are high.  If Angel Island State Park closes, the effort to restore and stabilize the crumbling Hospital, future home for more exhibition space, a genealogy center, and conference space, could grind to a halt.  Thousands of school children and members of the public would be denied the opportunity to experience the haunting and moving poetry carved on the walls of the Detention Barracks.  Our society would lose a lasting reminder of our nation's complex immigration experience.  

We have worked too long and come too far to turn back now.  The Immigration Station and Angel Island State Park must remain open to the public.  Join CHSA in the fight to save the Immigration Station and stop the closure of the State Parks. Please contact with any further questions! 

Thursday, June 4, 12:30 pm

A Talk by Connie Young Yu

SPUR Urban Center
654 Mission St
San Francisco

A dark theme of 19th century San Francisco was its racism, including the passing of anti-Chinese city ordinances, and the participation in demonstrations and Congressional hearings leading up to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. 

Connie Young Yu
, historian and vice president of CHSA, discusses how Chinese survived in San Francisco in the era of Exclusion with the help of American friends and business partners.

This hour-long talk is presented as part of SPUR's Lunchtime Forum series. Admission is free for SPUR members and $5 for non-members. Lunch bags are welcome. 
Saturday, June 20, 1:30 pm

A Memorial Service & Celebration

Chinese Culture Center
750 Kearny St
San Francisco, CA

Please note that the Him Mark Lai Memorial Service & Celebration will take place on Saturday, June 20, 2009 at the Chinese Culture Center in San Francisco. The service will begin at 1:30 pm, with a reception to follow at 3:30 pm. (This reception takes place in lieu of the dinner mentioned in the previous email blast).
Him Mark Lai, an internationally renowned archivist and historian of Chinese America and a highly respected leader of the community, died peacefully on Thursday, May 21, 2009. He was 84 years old and is survived by his wife of 56 years, Laura.  

In lieu of flowers, his family asks for donations to the "Him Mark Lai Digital Archive Project" of the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA), the "Him Mark Lai Heritage Fund" of the Chinese Culture Foundation (CCF),  or Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA).

PHOTO ABOVE: Him Mark & Laura Lai leaving CHSA's "Civil Rights Suite" APA Heritage Month event on May 18, 2008. Photo by Leland Wong.

History Alive! "Uncle Toisan" 


Featuring the experience of a Chinese American immigrant to the United States, Uncle Toisan, as performed by CHSA Artist-in-Residence Charlie Chin, bridges the historical relevance of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the emergence of present-day Asian American consciousness.

Upon entering the country as a 17-year-old paper son (immigrants commonly purchased legal immigration status as a "paper son" of an American citizen), Uncle Toisan is detentioned at Angel Island Immigration Station and drafted to fight in World War II, before returning home to face discrimination as a laborer on the streets of San Francisco Chinatown. Through it all, he experiences tremendous changes while witnessing first-hand the altering demographics of American society.

Riveting & provocative, these last performances will take place on: 

Sunday, June 7th at 3 pm 
Oakland Museum of California
1000 Oak St (@ 10th St, one block from Lake Merritt BART), Oakland

Saturday, June 13th at 3 pm
San Francisco Public Library, Chinatown Branch
1135 Powell St, San Francisco

Sunday, June 14th at 2 pm
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
 150 E San Fernando St, San Jose

Tuesday, June 23 at 6:15 pm
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
150 E San Fernando St, San Jose
*Admission is FREE for all performances, except for the June 7th presentation that is a part of Oakland Museum of California's Family Explorations! program. The"Uncle Toisan"performance, however, is FREE with OMCA museum admission.  All performances are an hour long. 
Voice & Vision Gala 

Saturday, September 12, 6 pm
Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel
One Nob Hill 
San Francisco, CA

Alien Registration Files Ceremony in Washington, DC

In a victorious milestone for Chinese American genealogical and historical research, an "A-Files" (or Alien Registration Files) schedule signing ceremony will take place on Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at the National Archives Building in Washington DC. 
The event marks the permanent retention, preservation, and public access of the A-files by the National Archives in San Bruno. CHSA, as one of the major supporters of this cause, will be represented at this occasion by Sue Lee, Executive Director. 

Under the Alien Registration Act of 1940, all foreigners in the United States were required to register with the Immigration and Naturalization. The A-files are records about these registered individuals, including: photographs, birth certificates, visas, employment records, and other important biographical and historical information.

For more than ten years, the SONA (Save Our National Archives) coalition has lobbied and organized letter-writing campaigns urging that the A-Files be transferred to NARA's (National Archives and Records Administration) San Bruno facility. 

"SONA has been instrumental in making sure our history remains accessible," Sue Lee, CHSA Executive Director, said. "Our legacy will remain for future historians, researchers, and descendants to know our stories and past experiences. As important as it is for Asian and Pacific Island immigration records, the A-files is inclusive of a diverse array of nationalities, and this victory is for everyone."  

SONA is a broad consortium of non-profit organizations and individuals dedicated to the preservation of public access provided by the regional offices and collections of NARA. Participants include: Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, California State Genealogical Alliance, CHSA, Museum of Chinese in the Americas (NYC), National Japanese American Historical Society, Jewish & Polish Genealogical Society, Chinese Canadian Historical Society, Chinese Historical Society of New England, independent historians, genealogists, researchers, journalists, filmmakers, and many others.

Photo above: 
SunYatSen is an example of one of the most famous A-Files in the collection,source: Sun Yat Sen, 9995; Arrival Investigation Case Files, 1884-1944; 
San Francisco District Office; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group 85; National Archives and Records Administration - Pacific Region.
Chinese Historical Society of America
965 Clay Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

415-391-1188 or

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