We reflect on 2017 as a time of tremendous change and new opportunities for CHSA. We began 2017 fresh off the opening of Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion, the groundbreaking exhibition that interprets the Chinese American community’s experience and struggles with discrimination and exclusion as a key part of American history. The timing of this exhibition’s arrival could not have been more prescient. Nationally, a rising tide of racist extremism, backed by the new administration’s anti-immigration policies echo many of the horrors of the Chinese Exclusion era.
Now more than ever, CHSA needs to be a voice and a place for people to learn about the parallels between historic events and today. In May, we were proud to stand with other Chinese and Asian American community organizations at the “Rally for Inclusion” to mark the 135th anniversary of the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act. In August, we gathered again to denounce violence and racism from a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that resulted in the death of one protestor.
2017 was also a time of mourning for CHSA. On March 16, 2017, we lost our dear friend and CHSA Board Emeritus Philip P. Choy, the architect and grand historian of Chinese American history. We are proud to have been able to celebrate Phil Choy’s life and legacy during “This Land Is Our Land,” our international academic conference in October attended by over 200 scholars. And most recently, we mourned with the City of San Francisco the loss of its first Chinese American mayor, Mayor Edwin M. Lee, who was a champion for Chinese American culture and history. CHSA’s status as a San Francisco Legacy Business, and the opening of our new exhibit Chinese in the Sunset thanks to support from Supervisor Katy Tang and other City agencies, exemplifies the growing partnership between CHSA and the City and County of San Francisco under Mayor Lee’s leadership. We hope that we can continue to honor the legacies of both of these pioneers in the coming year.
We are an organization in transition. In June, we bid farewell to our former Executive Director Sue Lee after over 13 years of service to CHSA. In August, we welcomed our interim Executive Director and board member Jane Chin, who stands committed to guiding the organization towards program expansion and a sustainable future in concert with CHSA Staff and Board.
Despite the challenges, our daily work continues. We are proud to be looked upon as a resource and an inspiration to those who seek precedents of resistance and resilience in the face of oppression. We remain committed to presenting the history and contributions of Chinese in America, and sharing its relevance to today’s struggles among communities of color for full inclusion and equality.
We call on your support once again to continue our important work in 2018 and beyond. Please donate before the end of this year at chsa.org/support, or call 415-391-1188, or mail a donation to CHSA: 965 Clay Street, San Francisco CA 94108. All contributions are tax deductible (Federal tax ID #94-67122446). Your participation enables us to share the untold stories of Chinese in America with a broad international audience, and ensure the place of our history within the American multicultural narrative.
The CHSA Board and Staff extends our warmest holiday greetings to you, and wishes you a very Happy New Year!