(KTSF by Michelle Yue)
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan joined state officials and other community leaders tonight to commemorate the “Day of Inclusion” which celebrates cultural diversity in American society.
On December 17 1943, the US congress repealed the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and marked a turning point regarding the country’s harsh attitudes towards immigrants.
In 2009, Assemblymember Mike Eng introduced Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 76, designating December 17 as “Day of Inclusion.”
Eng flew from southern California for tonight’s celebration. He stressed that the Day of Inclusion is a day to acknowledge a dark period in American history and to honor all immigrants who have contributed to this country. He said “We are going to say no to discrimination, no to pitting one group against another, and yes to affirming our common roots, and yes to forming coalition building, yes to remembering that what they did to the Chinese Americans should never be repeated again.”
Quan, who became the first Asian mayor in a major US city early this year, pointed out that the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act is not just a victory for Chinese Americans, but for all immigrants. “We are a growing immigrant city. Between Latinos and Asians, we are nearly half of the population in the city,” said Quan. “We want to respect all immigrant struggles”.
Some Chinese community leaders tonight expressed hope of using the celebration for the Day of Inclusion to make the next generation remember the Chinese Exclusion Act.
“It’s a day to remember the Chinese Exclusion Act. It’s part of our history,” said Edward Yu, Vice President of Chinese American Citizens Alliance Oakland Lodge. “It’s kind of unfortunate that when I do some outreaching work in Chinatown, many people don’t know what it is.”
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