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  • October 01, 2021 5:02 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    Connie Young Yu, Gerrye Wong, Mayor Sam Liccardo, Councilmember Raul Peralez, County Supervisor Otto Lee, and State Assemblymember Evan Low display the Resolution of Apology.

    On September 29th, the city of San Jose held a historic ceremony to commemorate the adoption of a resolution that was passed on September 28th, apologizing to Chinese immigrants and their descendants for past acts of injustice and discrimination.

    The city had five Chinatowns with the largest one, the Second Market Street Chinatown, built in 1872 where the former Fairmont Hotel is located in downtown San Jose. In 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, the nation's most restrictive immigration bill prohibiting all Chinese laborers from immigrating to the United States and preventing Chinese from becoming citizens. Five years later, the San Jose City Council declared the Second Market Street Chinatown a public nuisance and unanimously approved an order to remove it to make way for a new City Hall. Before officials acted, the thriving Chinatown was burned down by arsonists, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses and displacing about 1,400 people.

    Click to enlarge

    In 1987, a plaque commemorating the centennial of the burning of the Second Market Street Chinatown was installed at the former Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose, but no formal resolution of apology was issued at that time. 

    This ceremony is the formal apology by the city to the public for its 1887 racist order that helped incite the arsonists to burn down Chinatown. The recording of this historic ceremony can be viewed below. 

    Table of Contents for the recording:

     Start Time  Speaker
     00:55 Raul Peralez, SJ District 3 Councilmember
    09:53 Sam Liccardo, Mayor of San Jose
    25:20 Connie Young Yu, CHCP Advisory Board Member & Historian
    35:42 Gerrye Wong, CHCP Trustee & Co-Founder
    42:00 Otto Lee, County of Santa Clara Supervisor 
    46:40 Evan Low, California State Assemblymember
    52:40 Raul Peralez, SJ District 3 Councilmember  - final remarks 
    53:35 CHCP Dragon and Lion Dance

    The video below is a consolidation of San Francisco Bay Area evening news clips from Fox, CBS, NBC, and KTSF that covered the San Jose ceremony of apology.

  • September 30, 2021 5:09 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    At their September 28th meeting, the San Jose City Council voted for adoption of a resolution apologizing to Chinese immigrants and their descendants for past acts of injustice and discrimination.

    Listen to CHCP Trustee & Co-Founder Gerrye WongCHCP Advisory Board Member & Historian Connie Young Yu, CHCP Director Brenda Hee Wong, and others speak starting at time 3:06:45 of the proceedings.

  • September 24, 2021 7:13 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    CHCP Trustee & Co-Founder Gerrye Wong was interviewed by Amanda del Castillo of ABC7 News concerning the San Jose City Council's resolution apologizing for the city's role in past mistreatment of the Chinese.

    Watch the ABC7 News episode below:

  • September 23, 2021 6:18 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    A plaque at the former Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose, dedicated May 4, 1987, commemorates the fiery destruction of the Market Street Chinatown a century earlier. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)

    The following is an excerpt from the San Jose Mercury News published 09/22/21 and updated 09/23/21:

    By Sal Pizarro, Bay Area News Group

    In May 1887, a deliberately set fire tore through San Jose’s Chinatown on Market Street, destroying homes and businesses and displacing 1,400 people. The fire happened not long after the City Council had declared Chinatown — the second on that site and one of five in the city’s history — to be a public nuisance in the way of plans to build a new city hall.

    This was just perhaps the worst example of the discrimination faced by the Chinese community in San Jose, and all happening during an intense anti-Chinese period of California history that included the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

    Next week, the San Jose City Council is expected to pass a resolution apologizing to Chinese immigrants and their descendants for the city’s role in these historical misdeeds.

    On May 4, 1887, an arson fire destroyed the entire Chinatown on Market Street, two months after the San Jose City Council had called it a public nuisance and a health hazard. (Photo courtesy History San Jose) 

    “San José has worked to be an inclusive and welcoming city for all and that means facing head on its past mistakes,” said City Councilman Raul Peralez, whose district includes the site. “Our Chinese community has long been an important part of our city and this long overdue apology from the city will be a step forward towards much healing.”

    Peralez’s office worked with the city’s office of racial equity and members of the city’s Chinese community on the resolution, which the council will vote on Tuesday. That will be followed by a ceremony at noon Sept. 29 at the Circle of Palms Plaza between the San Jose Museum of Art and the former Fairmont hotel, which was the site of the Market Street Chinatown. (A plaque at the hotel building, dedicated 100 years after the fire, commemorates the tragedy.)

    Gerrye Wong and Connie Young Yu will speak at the Circle of Palms ceremony on behalf of the Chinese community, and they’re expected to be joined by Assemblyman Evan Low and Peralez. The public is invited to attend as well.

    San Jose has been a diverse city since its founding, but it has not always been hospitable to newcomers or non-white residents. As parents, we tell our kids to apologize when they hurt somebody, and our city should be held to the same standard. San Jose is doing the right thing — even if it’s taken 134 years.

    Also read about the city of Antioch's apology to the Chinese: 05/20/21 NY Times: "California City Apologizes for Treatment of Early Chinese Immigrants"

  • September 21, 2021 6:11 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    CHCP manned an outreach booth at Viva CalleSJ, a free open street event that temporarily closed San Jose streets to bring communities together to walk, bike, skate, and explore the city.

    At the event, CHCP shared stories of Chinese and Chinese American history and culture and most especially about Heinlenville, the last Chinatown of San Jose and the origin of Japantown. There were lots of informational materials available about CHCP, the Chinese American Historical Museum, Chinese Railroad Workers, Chinese American Veterans of WWII, and the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.

  • September 15, 2021 5:58 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    CHCP is sad to advise that Gerry Low-Sabado passed away after a battle with cancer at the age of 71.

    Gerry was one of the most dedicated and passionate persons about Chinese American history, especially in the Monterey area.  She was a valuable member of CHCP's Advisory Board and was featured as a panelist in one of our Speaker Series events. 

    She has left a legacy as a Pre-School Teacher and Director, a Community Preservationist, amateur Archeologist, and Historian. Her energy, passion, and enthusiasm in telling the story of the Chinese on the Monterey Peninsula will live on in the many interviews, videos, and stories written about her. She also considered herself to be an activist, who for many years, has been involved in the struggles of Asian Americans.

    To learn more about her contributions and legacy:

  • August 28, 2021 3:19 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    Hear from a panel of alumni, including Richard Mar (Moderator), Phillip Chan, Paul Chan, Wing Soo Hoo, and William Lee, as they share their personal experiences and memories of what it meant to grow up at the Chung Mei Home for Chinese Boys and how it has shaped their lives today. Tom Panas, past President of the El Cerrito Historical Society, shares rich photos and the history of the orphanage, which is now an historic building.
  • August 23, 2021 4:57 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    The Tsung Tsin Association of Hawaii (TTAH), in conjunction with the Chinese Family History Group of Southern California (CFHGSC) and the Bay Area Chinese Genealogy Group (BACGG), presented a fascinating 2-part webinar series about the migration of the 19th Century Hakka and Cantonese people to America.  Presented by Dr. Brian Dillon, noted author and professor, who references historical research, which included his own Chinese relatives.

    Part I, presented on August 14, looks at the Chinese that emigrated to Hawaii and their early experiences there.  

    Part II, presented on August 21, examined those who settled in California. 

  • August 21, 2021 5:14 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    Click to enlargeClick to enlarge

    For History San Jose (HSJ)'s Spirit of '45 Living History Day, CHCP screened their WWII film: "Our Story of War and Remembrance: Chinese American WWII Veterans of the China-Burma-India Theatre." Through interviews of the veterans and their family members, the CHCP film project team of both students and adults told the stories of four Chinese American veterans from the San Francisco Bay Area in this moving documentary of patriotism.

    Click to enlargeWWII film project members were recognized at the event for their participation in making this film possible.

    Click to enlargeIn addition, high school and college students from CHCP's Student Docent Cultural Ambassador Program (SDCAP) were recognized by CHCP for their hard work, serving as docents in the Chinese American Historical Museum as well as volunteering for other CHCP activities.

  • August 21, 2021 4:44 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    In a program titled “Journey to Gold Mountain: Chinese and the Gold Rush,” author and historian Connie Young Yu talked about the life and times of early Chinese in California and the racial discrimination they faced. Connie is a member of CHCP's Advisory Board. The talk was hosted by Los Altos History Museum (LAHM).

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San Jose, CA 95112

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San Jose, CA 95150-5366

Email: info@chcp.org

Chinese Historical & Cultural Project

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