WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 6, 2017) — OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates and its chapters recognized the 135th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act by supporting Day of Inclusion efforts nationwide.
The Chinese Exclusion Act was signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1882. This was the only law in American history to specifically exclude an ethnic group from entering the United States, as a result of decades of anti-Chinese sentiment where Chinese were blamed for unemployment and crime, the law also prohibited Chinese immigrants and their descendants from obtaining citizenship. This law remained in effect for over 60 years until it was finally overturned in 1943, and remains among the most shameful episodes in our nation’s history.
In observance of this anniversary, OCA chapters around the country led efforts to pass resolutions, proclamations, or citations observing the anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act in their local cities and counties. Communities that issued a resolution, proclamation, or citation include: Alameda, Berkeley, Sacramento in California, Flushing, N.Y., Milwaukee, Wis., Pittsburgh, Penn., and Seattle. This accompanies other resolutions in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
“The Chinese Exclusion Act continues tarnish America’s reputation as a nation of immigrants. We are glad that our chapters have called upon their elected officials to openly state that exclusion was wrong then, and it is wrong now. We are living in a time where anti-immigrant sentiments are on the rise and we have encountered the same kind of xenophobic policies that sought to strip Chinese immigrants and residents of their civil liberties. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders must emphatically state that we will not tolerate the exclusion of any member of our society or any immigrant based on religion or national origin. Let this day be known as a Day of Inclusion, as a reminder that we can never fall back to exclusion,” said Vicki Shu, vice president of OCA public affairs.
Organizers will convene a Rally for Inclusion today in Portsmouth Square in the San Francisco Chinatown. For more information on the Rally for Inclusion in San Francisco, visit nomoreexclusion.org. Copies of resolutions and proclamations can also be found on this website.
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).