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George Lim Reflects on COVID-19 Anti-Asian Incidents

To our members and followers:

As I observe the people in my community trying to cope with the challenges the COVID-19 Pandemic has imposed into all our lives, I see how it has taken a toll on everyone’s spirit and dispositions. With the implementation of government mandated social distancing, stay at home orders and the shutdown of businesses, underlying tension and struggles in everyone’s daily life have become more visible. I am reading online, more and more reported incidents of violence towards members of our Asian communities across the country. As I read of escalating reported incidents of crime and violence directed at Asians in our community, I cannot help but to remember the history of acts of violence towards targeted ethnic minorities for the purpose of spuriously assigning blame for whatever political strife is happening at that particular time.

“Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” – Made popular by Winston Churchill, but originally written by George Santayana in 1905 – “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

In either version, the words are pointedly relevant to what we are experiencing during these trying times, and more so for all of my friends and family living in the State of Washington and especially in Tacoma. The city of Tacoma has already endured a terrible act of racism that was named The Tacoma Method.

During the depression of the 1880s, the country was enduring a period of unrest and uncertainty; jobs were disappearing and food and the necessities becoming more scarce. As jobs became more scarce, the Chinese were blamed for taking work from ‘Americans’, even though the jobs the Chinese held were not jobs that other members of the community even wanted, like doing laundry, working at the canneries, and laying railroads. When people started becoming ill in the community, the Chinese were blamed for bringing illnesses into their community just because they were different.

In the City of Tacoma in 1885, prominent members of the community in cooperation with the local government were working to perpetuate political strife and forcibly remove the remaining Chinese from the city. What was even more appalling about this attack on the Chinese community was that the violence was led by local leaders, including the mayor and the police chief. This act of racist violence, directed at the Tacoma Chinese in 1885, was termed the Tacoma Method.

In 1882, the United States Government had passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. Because the climate of the country was in such unrest and uncertainty, this gave local governments across America the approval to freely remove Chinese from their communities. In 1885, as tensions got higher and unrest increased across the country, local government leaders began to champion the removal of Chinese under the guise of the Chinese Exclusion Act. The Chinese Exclusion Act, initiated by the highest levels of the United States Government, made it very easy for local governments to carry out the expulsion of Chinese from within their communities. This enabled and led to the Tacoma Method, and resulted in a dark stain on the history of the City of Tacoma.

Sadly, I am seeing an eerie resemblance to the past as the quarantine for the COVID-19 Pandemic stretches into more days and businesses are closed even longer. More and more people are losing their jobs and the fear of food and supply shortages is resulting in the increase of irrational behavior, and is starting to show itself on the television, social media and our physical environment.

Despite my adolescent efforts, I remember, every now and then in my childhood, how I was reminded by someone or some incident, that I was different. I remember playing baseball in a little league game, and when I was at bat, hearing the father of the pitcher yell out, “Strike that Chink Out!” I remember the coach and his wife comforting me after the game, asking me if I was ok. I recall that I was not even upset or emotional about what this man had said. They explained to me, a young child at the time, what this racist word meant. I have heard this word many more times as I grew into adulthood – as I got older the meaning became more hurtful and painful.

I wish I could say the attacks ended, that as an adult I have never experienced any racism or personal attacks purely because I was Chinese, but I cannot. I have experienced racist attacks at the violent level of having bottles thrown at me as I stood at a public bus stop. The attackers were in the back of an open truck bed, yelling at me to “go back where you came from,” while they pitched the glass missiles at my body. More passive but much more painful attacks have included people approaching me to tell me to, “stay with your own kind” as I walked down the street holding hands with a blond, blue-eyed young lady.

And now the attacks have a new catalyst, and during this COVID-19 Pandemic I have found myself the target of virus related racial attacks. Standing at a local market (wearing my mask) I heard a very loud and deliberate coughing coming from behind me. When it persisted and became louder, I turned to see a man standing about twenty feet from me coughing directly towards me to get my attention. When he saw that I acknowledged his coughing, he angrily and aggressively tells me, “I’m just giving it back to you since you brought it to this country!” 

As much as I have tried to belong, to be an American, these incidents remind me that my desire to be part of the social fabric of America is always going to be conditional on the acceptance of others.

As a board member of the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation I share my story to plead with all who may read this to help stop the senseless violence directed toward the Asian members of our community. If we do not stand up and voice our protest regarding this violence and overt racism, and instead listen to the uneducated and incendiary remarks made by some leaders of our country, we may see a repeat of The Chinese Exclusion Act, something we at the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation work hard to make sure never happens again.

When one is scared and fears the unknown, it becomes easy to target and blame a specific ethnicity or culture for what is happening. I challenge everyone to work harder for truth, to stand up for what is right, to call out and voice concern, and to stand in solidarity with all members of your community, no matter their ethnicity, background, or station in life. Racism, violence, and fear are not core values we want to build, support, or see in our community – as a people we stand for reconciliation, equality, understanding, and empathy.

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, however, if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” – Maya Angelou

George Lim
Board Member
Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation

Presentation & Community Dialogue

February 20, 2020
5:00 to 6:30 PM

Jones Hall, Room 104
University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA 98416

       
THANKS for all members that attended our event and packed the room for a very meaningful presentation and dialogue to commemorate the 135th anniversary of the Tacoma Method.

If you missed the presentation, please click to see:
1. Theresa Pan Hosley’s PPT slides showing updates of programming and further development of the Chinese Reconciliation Park.
2. Professor Lew-Williams’ talk at Emory University (Oct 22, 2018), The Chinese Must Go: Making the Alien In America. This is NOT the talk Prof. Lew-Williams gave at our annual meeting, but it shared similar content. Just as informative!

LewWilliams_Talk022020

You are invited to a presentation and community dialogue. This event is co-sponsored by CRPF and the University of Puget Sound, as we observe the 135th anniversary of the shameful “Tacoma Method.”

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Our featured speaker will be Beth Lew-Williams, History Professor at Princeton University, who will give a presentation on her recent book, The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion,and the Making of the Alien in America.

In addition to Prof. Lew-Williams’ talk, we will hear from representatives from the City of Tacoma and CRPF President Theresa Pan Hosley. Reception will follow.

Click here to see Directions to the University of Puget Sound.
Click here to see a Campus Map.


Annual Dinner 2020

2019 Moon Festival – Saturday, September 21

JOIN US at 2019 TACOMA MOON FESTIVAL
Saturday, September 21, 1:00-7:00 pm
Chinese Reconciliation Park
Click to see this year’s
Poster
Festival Site Map

 

The Tacoma Moon Festival is an annual celebration of the rich diversity of culture in Tacoma today, brought here by our immigrant communities over the 150 years of the city’s history.

This year, special focus is placed upon China, as the City of Tacoma celebrates “Fuzhou Day” in honor of the 25th anniversary of its Sister City relationship with the Chinese city of Fuzhou. Special performers from Fuzhou will perform on the “Fuzhou Ting” stage, as well as professional instrumentalists from the Seattle Chinese Orchestra, and a performance of Beijing Opera by Seattle’s Hwa Sheng Chinese Opera Club.

Additionally, the stage will host splendid Mexican dance from Seattle’s Bailadores de Bronce, Zimbabwean Marimba music from Jekesa Marimba, the Chief Leschi Drum and Dance Group, and music and dance of the Pacific Islands from Lanuola Samoan Performing Arts Academy.

Food will be available through a number of food trucks, and the Moon Festival’s own stand will offer moon cake sampling and a great variety of traditional treats for sale. A wine and beer garden with local craft libations will be available for adults, and a hands-on crafts booth for all ages. Festival goers can browse among different vendors and info booths, attend tea presentations, watch calligraphers paint paper fans, and observe Chinese opera performers putting on elaborate makeup!

As the festival closes at 7pm, a parade of lanterns will be led by the Moon Princess-always a great photo op for parents with kids! It is a family event so bring the kids and grand kids!

The festival annually draws large crowds of attendees from all over the Puget Sound area, and with the event remaining admission free this year, more are expected to attend.

Thanks for the generous support by the following 2019 festival sponsors:

HARVEST MOON LEVEL
The Gottfried and Mary Fuchs Foundation
Tacoma Arts Commission
KBTC Public Television

FULL MOON LEVEL
Annie Wright Schools
City of Tacoma
IBEW Local 76

HALF MOON LEVEL

Dr. Zheng Ge & Lucy Zhou
Pacific Northwest Shop and Proctor Mercantile
Sperry Ocean Docks

QUARTER MOON LEVEL
Wingman Brewing

CRESCENT MOON LEVEL
Calvin Pearson & Josefa Lago-Grana
Old Town Business Association

COMMUNITY PARTNERS & IN-KIND DONORS
Asian Studies at University of Puget Sound
Bert Paul
Confucius Institute of the State of Washington
OrgSupport
Tacoma Public Schools
Tangram Design

BE A SPONSOR!
Click to download Sponsorship Packet.

JOIN AS A VENDOR!
We are seeking food vendors that can offer ethnic foods. Click to fill out the Vendor Application Form.

Returning retail vendors and community groups for info booth are welcome!

CHECK OUR FACEBOOK
https://www.facebook.com/TacomaMoonFestival/
for program updates.

 

Dragon Mural

2018 CRPF Annual Membership Meeting

CRPF Annual Membership Meeting

Missed the meeting? No worry. Take a look at this presentation and learn what CRPF had been working on and achieved in 2017. Click here to download the PPT presentation. 

Please join us at our 2018 annual membership meeting to learn about current projects the Foundation has been working on.  Meet our broad members, ask questions, and see how you can get involved.

February 20, 2018
6:30 – 7:30 PM

Wyatt Hall Room 109
University of Puget Sound
Campus Map 

Play about The Tacoma Method

The Chinese Question: The Tacoma Method

November 3-4, 2017

Empathos Company launches into local history with The Chinese Question: The Tacoma Method. This is a staged reading with music and live produced sound effects set inside of a courtroom in Court House Square in downtown Tacoma on November 3-4, 2017 at 1102 A St., Tacoma, WA.

From a Buffalo soldier to a Chinese merchant to a sheriff’s widow to a city mayor, The Chinese Question explores the actions and events that led into the 1885 Chinese expulsion in Tacoma.  Empathos company’s hyper objective is to give a copy of the script to local museums, touring theatre groups, and schools to reach students with this story.

The Chinese Question: The Tacoma Method is a new play written by Alana Fineman, John Levi III, and Samantha Chung.  Traditional Chinese erhu music will be played by Yiying Zhou from the Chinese Arts and Music Association and Seattle Chinese Orchestra.

Actors include:

Percy Lam
Everett McCracken
Virginia Yanoff
John Levi III
Jillian Lee
Tim Hoban
Susan Kaeka
Alana Fineman
Laurice Roberts
Charlie Stevens
Richard Lee
Claire Garcia
Joseph Grant
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TICKET INFO

https://thechinesequestion.brownpapertickets.com/

Purchase tickets in advance online!  Cash only at the box office the night of the reading.

Appropriate for anyone 12 years and older | Wheelchair accessible venue
Doors open at 7:00pm and the play reading begins at 7:30pm.
Running time: 90 minutes with one 15 minute intermission.

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Nov. 4 Walk for Reconciliation

Chinese Expulsion Walk for Reconciliation 
Saturday, November 4, 2017 

Join us on a Walk for Reconciliation to recognize and remember the anniversary of the Chinese Expulsion of 1885. The walk will begin at the Chinese Reconciliation Park and end at Tacoma Art Museum. In 2010, Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation hosted its first Walk for Reconciliation from Union Station to the Chinese Reconciliation Park to remember the 125th anniversary of the Tacoma Chinese Expulsion. This 2nd Walk for Reconciliation is planned in conjunction with TAM’s current exhibition
Zhi LIN: In Search of the Lost History of Chinese Migrants and the Transcontinental Railroads.

CRPF President Theresa Pan Hosley notes that this program is “more than a walk of remembrance, it’s an opportunity to support one another and demonstrate that every person deserves dignity and respect.”
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SCHEDULE

8:30 am Meet at the Chinese Reconciliation Park (Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA 98402).  Light refreshments and coffee will be provided. Participants will have the opportunity to write few words on railroad ballast rocks and carry them back to TAM.

9:00 am Begin walk to Tacoma Art Museum (1701 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402). Route will follow along Ruston Way sidewalk, the entire walk will be approximately 3 miles. Please dress for weather.
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10:30 am-12:30 pm
Tacoma, Railroads, and Constructing the West @ TAM

After the Walk for Reconciliation concludes, participants can choose to visit the Tacoma Art Museum and attend a panel presentation by scholars and community leaders. Topics of presentation include the contributions of the Chinese to the railroads, anti-Chinese legislation and legacy, the expulsion, and the work of the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation. This event is co-hosted by the Tacoma Art Museum. Admission to the museum is required.

Presenters:

Shelley Fisher Fishkin (Professor at Stanford University)
Shawn Wong (Professor at the University of Washington)
Zhi LIN (Artist and Professor at the University of Washington)
Theresa Pan (President of Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation)

 

 

2017 Tacoma Moon Festival Success

 


The 2017 Tacoma Moon Festival Program can be viewed here.

2017 Moon Festival – Saturday, September 16

SAVE THE DATE!
2017 TACOMA MOON FESTIVAL
Date: Saturday, September 16
Time: 2:00 – 7:00 PM

For more information visit the Moon Festival page.

Check https://www.facebook.com/TacomaMoonFestival/ for program updates.