OCA Chapters Nationwide Observe 135th Anniversary of Chinese Exclusion Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. - As the nation kicks off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, 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 2012, a bipartisan Congressional Resolution formally expressed regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act.
In observance of this anniversary, OCA chapters around the country led efforts to pass resolutions and proclamations observing the anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act in their local cities and counties. Cities that issued a resolution or proclamation include: Alameda, CA; Berkeley, CA; Cincinnati, OH; Milwaukee, WI; Pittsburgh, PA; Sacramento, CA; and Seattle, WA. This accompanies other resolutions in San Francisco, CA and Los Angeles, CA.
"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. As we celebrate our numerous achievements in this country, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders must continue to remain steadfast in speaking out for inclusion of all members of our society, regardless of 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 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.