By Marie Ramos, Fall 2012 intern
Last July, former Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program intern Sam Gerstle blogged about the passage of House Resolution 683 (H. Res. 683) and Senate Resolution 201 (S. Res. 201), that formally expressed regret for the discriminatory policies of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. As one of the new APAP interns, I had the honor of attending the reception to celebrate this momentous occasion, hosted by the 1882 Project at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. The 1882 Project is a collaborative effort by the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, Committee 100, the Japanese American Citizens League, the National Council of Chinese Americans, and OCA to educate both lawmakers and the public about the effects of the Chinese Exclusion Laws throughout history.
As an Ethnic Studies major, one of the first things that we covered in school were the effects of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. So this was definitely an exciting event for me. What I enjoyed the most about the reception was listening to the speakers. Representative Mike Honda and Ted Gong (Steering Committee Member of the 1882 Project) stressed the importance of remembering our past. Others noted the progress of both our government and communities by pointing to the success of the 1882 Project—that took two years of planning and pushing—but cautioned that we should not forget the steps that were taken. There are many more issues that need to be addressed, so it is necessary that we continue to be active agents in telling and retelling our stories.