By Sam Gerstle, Summer 2012 Intern
Last month, I had the opportunity to attend a press conference held by Representative Judy Chu to celebrate the passage of House Resolution 683 (H. Res. 683), legislation that joined Senate Resolution 201 (S. Res. 201), expressing regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 banned Chinese nationals from entering America. This act isolated the Chinese American community from their friends, relatives, wives, and children. At the press conference, representatives from various community organizations and leading co-sponsors of Resolution 683 acknowledged the importance of this moment, not only for Chinese Americans, but for all citizens and residents of this country. The passing of this Resolution led by a Chinese American member of Congress shows how far we, as a country, have come since the 19th century.
For me, the most stirring speech was given by Texas Representative Al Green, who likened the struggle for acceptance by the Chinese American community to struggles by the African American community. Representative Green recognized the importance of Resolution 683, but also warned that the fight must go on in order for all Americans to feel welcome and equal in this country.