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  • July 30, 2023 4:04 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    “Sheltering Wing,” an 18-foot tall stainless steel sculpture created by Stoller Studio, was installed at Heinlenville Park, which is under construction in San Jose’s historic Japantown district, on Friday, July 21, 2023. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)

    The following is an excerpt from the 07/30/23 San Jose Mercury News:

    By Sal Pizarro, Bay Area News Group

    There’s a new landmark in San Jose’s Japantown neighborhood in the form of an 18-foot-high stainless steel sculpture called “Sheltering Wing.” The gleaming metal artwork was installed July 21 at Heinlenville Park, which is still under construction.

    Artist Roger White Stoller of Stoller Studio in Portola Valley said the piece is about Asian positivity and is also a nod to John Heinlen, the businessman who leased property to Chinese immigrants who were burned out of the previous Chinatown in downtown San Jose in the 1880s. Heinlenville, which was on the site of today’s Japantown, was a hub of Chinese cultural activities in the city for the next five decades, centered around the Ng Shing Gung temple.

    Stoller consulted with historian Connie Young Yu, San Jose Taiko co-founder PJ Hirabayashi and others from the city’s Asian community about what imagery should be contained in the metal-lace artwork. “Sheltering Wing” was completed a couple of years ago, but delays in the park’s construction schedule pushed back its installation to this year.

    The opening date for the park has not been set, but until then, the piece is visible from North Sixth Street between Jackson and Taylor streets.

  • July 18, 2023 6:22 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    Connie Young YuRecognizing the power of art to challenge and change us, National Geographic partnered with the artist collective, For Freedoms, on a series of photo essays inspired by American history. One of those photo essays, by photographer Philip Cheung, features descendants of the Chinese immigrants who helped build the Transcontinental Railroad and includes CHCP Advisory Board Member Connie Young Yu.

    The following are excerpts from the 07/18/23 National Geographic photo essay by photographer Philip Cheung:

    As many as 20,000 Chinese were recruited during the building of America’s first transcontinental railroad. They lived in segregated areas, earned less than their white counterparts, and were denied citizenship after Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882. Descendants, historians, and activists are fighting for recognition of the Chinese workers’ contributions.

    Connie Young Yu , a historian and an advocate for recognition of the contributions of Chinese railroad workers, is the great-granddaughter of Lee Wong Sang, who worked on the Central Pacific Railroad.

    For more information: Read the full 07/18/23 National Geographic essay.

  • July 14, 2023 5:41 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    Photos of Dublin by Jessica Christian and Nick Otto/The Chronicle

    Shared from the 07/07/23 San Francisco Chronicle eEdition:

    By Adriana Rezal

    The Asian population is growing across the United States, and three cities in the Bay Area’s Tri-Valley have some of the fastest-growing Asian communities.

    Dublin, Pleasanton and San Ramon were among the 10 largest cities with at least 30% of their population identifying as Asian that had the highest growth since 2010, an analysis of census data shows.

    Dublin is the fastest growing city in California overall, and its Asian population is fueling that growth. In the past decade, the suburban city’s Asian population grew from 12,000 in 2010 to nearly 39,000 in 2020 — a 219% increase, according to census data. The Asian populations in Pleasanton and San Ramon — two other Tri-Valley area cities — grew by 94% and 68%, respectively, during the same 10-year period.

    The Tri-Valley has had an infusion of new residents who are seeking better housing opportunities and school districts, said Steve Minniear, a volunteer city historian in Dublin.

    “Many people are coming here as young families (and are then) realizing that … they’re going to have more kids and the kids are going to grow up or … that they want their parents to live with them,” he said. “So, they’re looking for bigger houses — three, four bedrooms — and Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore, to some extent, are the places that tend to have those (housing options) coming out.”

    With 56% of its total population identifying as Asian, 2021 estimates show that Dublin is now an Asian-majority city. San Ramon is close to being majority Asian, with 49.7%. In Pleasanton, Asian residents made up just over 40% of the total population in 2021.

    Indian and Chinese communities made up the majority of the Asian populations in the Tri-Valley, data shows. In Dublin, more than a quarter of the population — about 19,600 people — identified as Indian and nearly 14% — 9,900 people — identified as Chinese.

    In addition to being the two largest ethnic groups, Indian and Chinese communities in the Tri-Valley were also the fastest-growing Asian populations in recent years. Across the Tri-Valley, there were 20,000 more Indian people in 2021 as compared with 2016, and 10,000 more Chinese people.

    Not all Asian ethnic groups saw an increase in populations during this time period in the region, however. The region’s Japanese, Filipino, Thai, Mongolian and Vietnamese communities saw declines in their populations from 2016 to 2021, data shows.

  • June 30, 2023 5:24 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    On June 14, 2023, Calvin Fong presented a very informative presentation, "Pioneers in the California Commercial Fisheries - The Chinese Fisherman of Old," for the Bay Area Chinese Genealogy Group (BACGG).

    Calvin Fong discussed the Chinese fishing industry in California that began in the mid-1800s to the early 1940s. Calvin's father, Fong Wan, lived an amazing life as a Chinese herbalist, nightclub owner, and now we learn he also ran a fishery.

  • June 14, 2023 6:13 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    CHCP Advisory Board Member Art Low, SJ Mayor Matt Mahan, and CHCP President Dave Yick

    By Dave Yick, 2023 CHCP President

    While attending the Dia de Portugal Festival held at History Park San Jose on June 10th, San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan took time to visit CHCP's Chinese American Historical Museum (CAHM) and to pose with CHCP President Dave Yick and CHCP Advisory Board Member Art Low (father of CA State Assemblymember Evan Low).

    This photo was taken in front of CHCP's framed copy of the City of San Jose's Resolution of Apology to the Chinese immigrants and their descendants, which apologized for the city's past acts of injustice and discrimination against the Chinese. The resolution was unanimously passed by the San Jose City Council on September 28, 2021 to acknowledge San Jose's past role in nearly a century of violence and discrimination, including the dismantling and destruction of the city's Chinatowns. On September 29, 2021, CHCP participated in a formal public ceremony which was held by the City of San Jose to commemorate the adoption of the resolution.

    While at the museum, Mayor Matt Mahan was thanked for his role in supporting the passage of the resolution in 2021 as a San Jose City Councilmember.

  • May 31, 2023 6:51 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    Fourth graders from Oak Avenue Elementary School are seen on a field trip at History San Jose. (Courtesy Emily Nakajima)

    The following is an excerpt from 05/31/23 CNN:

    By Natasha Chen

    Tales of a fourth-grade field trip

    “What is the one thing you can carry in your hand if you were fleeing your country?” Monica Pelayo Lock asked a group of fourth graders from Oak Avenue Elementary School in San Jose, California.

    Lock, the director of education and community engagement at History San Jose, often takes school children through the city’s “History Park,” full of original and reproduction homes, business, and landmarks, complete with running trolleys and an old-fashioned ice cream shop.

    The park includes several museums featuring the stories of Chinese, Vietnamese, Portuguese and Mexican immigrants to California, offering students as young as fourth grade a chance to learn about the wars, famines, and other factors driving people to emigrate from one place to another.

    In answer to her question on a recent field trip, the 9- and 10-year-olds spat out answers including “an iPhone,” “money,” “clothing,” “food,” “water.” Then, they meandered through the various museums, looking at items like a real Vietnamese immigrant’s ID from the 1970s and artifacts dug up after an arson of San Jose’s Chinatown in the late 1800s.

    “Everything I learned just now was new to me,” said 10-year-old Noa Kumayama. She told CNN she’s Japanese and felt empathy for the way Asian Americans were discriminated against throughout American history.

    “I’m thinking, ‘oh, that’s never happened to me, thank goodness’…but I’m thinking ‘wow, what if that happened to me?’… a lot of people died,” she said.

    Gerrye Wong, co-founder of the Chinese Historical and Cultural Project, often hosts these students in the Chinese American Museum at the History Park. Wong, who grew up in San Jose in the 1940s, was never taught anything about Chinese immigrants, or their contributions to California agriculture and railroads.

    “I grew up with no knowledge of the discriminating (Exclusion Act) forbidding entry by Chinese sojourners to America. Neither my own children nor my grandchildren learned in their school studies about this history either. So finally, thanks to Gov. Newsom’s law on mandating studies in ethnic history…the new generation can grow up, learning about the early struggles and contributions of the Chinese settlers,” Wong told CNN.

    Laura Kliewer, the Oak Avenue fourth graders’ teacher, said the children made connections between the history learned on this field trip with the struggles of today.

    Students discussed how migrants are trying to cross the US Southern border today, for some of the same reasons people fled to the United States 150 years ago. Kliewer said the students also learned about the era of the Chinese Exclusion Act when Chinese immigrants were deemed “dirty” – and when asked if that has happened any other time, one of the students responded, “Covid-19.”

    San Jose's History Park includes museums featuring the stories of Chinese, Vietnamese, Portuguese and Mexican immigrants to California. (Courtesy Emily Nakajima)

    Kliewer has noticed a shift in her 25 years of teaching, which now includes more non-European perspectives. For example, when learning California history, as is required for all fourth graders in the state, her class has read aloud from a Native Californian’s experience at a Spanish mission. But teaching nuance to 9- and 10-year-olds is also important to her.

    “I noticed my kids would sometimes be like, ‘Oh, they’re so bad!’ You know, and they try to label the Spanish as just being terrible. I also try to stop and say ‘wait, wait – were all of them bad? Could there have been some bad actors there? But they weren’t all bad.’ And so, in any story, you’re going to have people that were behaving poorly, and some people who are doing their best,’” Kliewer said.

    In other states, parents, lawmakers and other groups have sometimes pushed back against studying ethnic histories, for fear that it would teach students that White people had been exclusively aggressors while others are perpetual victims.

    But lessons of this field trip did not necessarily cast an entire group as a villain. In fact, Kumayama said when they learned about an arson that destroyed San Jose’s Chinatown, they also learned that a German man named John Heinlen braved death threats to lease property to the displaced Chinese.

    Parent Julie Broms, whose 10-year-old son was on the field trip, said what her child is learning is much broader in scope than what she remembers of her own California elementary school education.

    Broms said their school district has always been open to discussing all topics: “The more we can learn, the more informed we are. And so, I really appreciate where we live, and we’re able to have access to that knowledge.”

    For more information:  Read the full 05/31/23 CNN article.

  • May 28, 2023 5:30 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    By Gerrye Wong, CHCP Co-Founder and Trustee

    Under a beautiful California sunny day, CHCP welcomed visitors to an afternoon of cultural dances, singing, entertainment, tours and exhibits at History Park San Jose to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Amidst booming drum beats, the program started with the Rising Phoenix Dragon Team rallying the audience to follow it in a parade to first stop and bless the Japanese Friendship Garden, march on to the Viet Museum, and return In a flurry of intricate movements to the front of the Chinese American Historical Museum (CAHM). There it entered CAHM with wild fanfare to bless the site, greet the museum’s Lion Head exhibit with ferocious fervor, and then return to the outdoor front stage to whirl around the audience outside to the delight of the children in attendance. In true Chinese tradition, a red lai see (money-filled envelope) was placed in the dragon’s mouth in thankfulness for its visit. CHCP Director Mike Mak, CHCP President Dave Yick and CHCP Co-Founder Gerrye Wong opened the program, welcoming all and stressing the importance of acknowledging and showcasing the many Asian cultures which now inhabit our Santa Clara County.

    San Jose City Councilman Bien Doan, who represents District 7 where our museum is located, also encouraged the audience to think about the future of our Asian American community, and stressed we must all work together to proudly share the many aspects of our culture and history that is being shown today by CHCP. The amiable and friendly young Councilman Doan cited that since this is the first time an AAPI festival event has happened here, he in his council capacity hopes to bring city support in the future for an even bigger event during next year’s AAPI Heritage Month.

    Rising Phoenix Dragon at Japanese Friendship Garden Rising Phoenix Dragon greets Lion Head Exhibit inside CAHM Rising Phoenix Dragon Team outside CAHM

    Rising Phoenix Dragon visits Viet Museum Memorial Rising Phoenix Dragon, CHCP Members, and SJ Councilman Doan

    As people streamed in and out of the Chinese and Vietnamese museums, ongoing entertainment was enjoyed by the audience outside. The Silver Creek High School Polynesian Dance Club members put on a thrilling Hawaiian dance routine, followed by the Northeastern Art Troupe lovely ladies, clad in the traditional Vietnamese ao dai dress, who performed a Vietnamese dance. The beautiful ladies of the Silver Creek High School Filipino Club performed in front of the museum next.

    Silver Creek High School Polynesian Dance Club Northeastern Art Troupe Dancers Silver Creek High School Filipino Club Dancers

    The concluding act was the Golden Turtle Lion Dance Association performing in the open air setting with swift and harrowing moves on platforms and each others' shoulders. The intricacies of Chinese Lion Dancing takes many hours of practice by the young members of this troupe, and this Golden Turtle troupe performance thrilled the audience at the festival. It was heartwarming to hear from so many that they knew nothing of Chinese American contributions to the making of the Transcontinental railroad and contributions during WWII, until coming to our museum. These topics were shown in banners lining the walls in our second story area, on loan from the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) in San Francisco. Also shown that day was a CHSA virtual exhibit titled "Towards Equality: California’s Chinese American Women."

    Golden Turtle Lion Dancers Towards Equality: Chinese American Women Virtual Exhibit CHSA Transcontinental Railroad Worker Exhibit

    Historic Altar on 2nd floor of CAHMCHCP Board members Edith Gong, Debbie Gong-Guy and Brenda Wong happily greeted over 200 visitors to the museum where people learned about the history of the first four Chinatowns that had been mysteriously burned down during the late 1800s. Although culprits were never found or prosecuted, the anti-Chinese hate violence was evident and a safer community called Heinlenville was eventually established with a wall encircling it for safety against intruders. Many of the original pieces from this Chinatown are displayed in the CAHM including the ornate gold leaf altar, which is considered the largest historic altar on display in a public venue in the United States. Thankfully CHCP had it restored for the opening of this museum in 1991 and has since been seen by thousands of school children on tours, many of which CHCP has funded when school money for tours was not available in low income schools.

    Thank you to CHCP for carrying on the mission to bring Asian American culture through music, dance, and dragon and lion performances at this event. New members are always welcome to join this fine group of dedicated CHCP volunteers, so contact the organization if you believe in its mission and would like to help further its cause with future events.  If you missed attending this AAPI celebration, hopefully the photos will encourage you to join in the next CHCP upcoming event.  Hope to see you there.

  • May 27, 2023 5:33 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    Chinese Ribbon Dance Indian Drum Performance Filipino Tinikling Dance

    All Asian Heritage Night Performers Asian Costume Cutouts

    By Peter Young, 2023 CHCP Director and HELP Grant Chair

    CHCP awarded Rancho Milpitas Middle School with a $200 HELP Grant for its Asian American Heritage Night on May 18th.  The event was held at the school quad and featured 15 cultural performances by the students.  The ethnic performances included Hawaiian, Vietnamese, South Indian, Korean, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Tahitian dances, and a martial arts performance.  Hosted by four MCs, the event was enthusiastically received by students, staff, and guests. 

    An added treat at the Asian Heritage Night was the display of various cutouts of Asian costumes.  The cutouts were created by the students and had information on the significance of the costumes and when the costumes would be worn.  Food and drinks as well as Stop Hate T-shirts were sold to help offset the cost of the Asian Heritage Night.  It was an entertaining and fast-paced event for all to enjoy.

  • May 26, 2023 4:37 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    Photo: Sgt. Sing Lau Kee (aka Lau Sing Kee), awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for actions taken near Mont Notre Dame in 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, WWI.

    The Chinese American Museum DC (CAMDC) held this online event moderated by military expert, Monty Hom, to discuss the incredible stories and legacy of Chinese Americans serving in the U.S. Military since the Civil War.

  • May 11, 2023 5:25 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    By Allan Low and Debbie Gong-Guy, 2023 Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs

    For the ninth year, the Chinese Historical & Cultural Project (CHCP) was honored to recognize the recipients of the Lillian Gong-Guy Memorial Scholarship (LGGMS) awarded during Student Recognition Day held on Sunday, May 7th at History Park San José. Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs Allan Low and Debbie Gong-Guy introduced each of the scholarship winners to an enthusiastic audience of family, friends, and fellow students. Each of the recipients expressed much appreciation and thanks to CHCP for their scholarships.

    The Lillian Gong-Guy Memorial Scholarship was established in 2014 in tribute to CHCP’s late co-founder, Lillian Gong-Guy, to recognize exemplary seniors who have demonstrated academic achievement balanced with strong community service and involvement. Our eight scholarship award recipients this year truly represent the future leaders of our community.

    Click to enlarge

    Our 2023 scholarship winners are (left to right above):

    • Lisa Fung of Saratoga High School
    • Samantha Leong of Lynbrook High School
    • Christina Chang of Saratoga High School
    • Anna Yang of Notre Dame High School
    • Katie Lam of Notre Dame High School
    • Adrienne Ferguson of Prospect High School
    • Aaron Cheung of Henry M. Gunn High School
    • Jolina Wei Hor of Milpitas High School

    In addition to the Co-Chairs, Allan Low and Debbie Gong-Guy, this year’s Scholarship Committee members were Helina Chin, Brenda Wong, Judy Wong and Karyn Wong.

    For more information, please contact us at scholarship@chcp.org.

    Click to enlarge

    A special award was given to History San Jose volunteer Tony Ornellas who has always been a special friend to CHCP, helping with maintenance of the 32-year-old museum building and especially helping as the "Godfather to Hoong the Dragon" - helping maintain Hoong, so he looks his best at performances and appearances.

    Click to enlarge Click to enlarge

    Volunteer participants in CHCP's Student Docent Cultural Ambassador Program (SDCAP) were recognized by SDCAP Chair Brenda Hee Wong for their hard work, serving as docents in the Chinese American Historical Museum as well as volunteering for other CHCP activities. The "10 Years of SDCAP" slideshow was shown to highlight and review SDCAP activities through the years. View the slideshow below.

    Thanks to all the donors to the LGGMS and SDCAP programs for their continued generosity and support.

Museum Address:

History Park
635 Phelan Avenue
San Jose, CA 95112

In Ng Shing Gung Building

Mailing Address:

PO Box 5366
San Jose, CA 95150-5366

Email: info@chcp.org

Chinese Historical & Cultural Project

CHCP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to providing an environment that is free from discrimination due to race, color, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or age.

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