WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA, a national organization dedicated to advancing the political, social, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), is overwhelmed with community pride in the passage of the H.Res. 683 by the United States House of Representatives. Introduced by Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), the resolution is an acknowledgement and regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
“OCA is honored to share in this work with strategic allies from all corners of the APA community to reach this historic milestone,” says Tom Hayashi, OCA Executive Director. “The passage of the resolutions in both Houses poignantly echoes the very virtues that this great nation aspires to live up to since its founding.”
Passed within the resolution, Congress acknowledges that the framework of past anti-Chinese legislation, including the Chinese Exclusion Act, is incompatible with the basic founding principle that all persons are created equal. In recognition that Chinese Americans continue to play a significant role in the success of the United States, Congress officially expresses regret for the passing of six decades of legislation targeting the Chinese people for physical and political exclusion.
Congress has never before acknowledged the wrongful actions of the past in violating the fundamental civil rights of persons of Chinese descent. This specific piece of legislation does not only encompass regret, but also seeks to educate the current and future generations about the challenges around and remedies for race based oppression in America.
“We are extremely pleased with Congress’ commitment to ensuring equality for all,” says Ken Lee, OCA National President. “The extraordinary work of the 1882 Project, along with strong Congressional leadership, has brought us to this historic moment that we should all be proud of.”
The 1882 Project, a nonpartisan and grassroots effort focused on educating lawmakers and the public on the Chinese Exclusion Laws and the impact that such legislation had on our history, has been instrumental in moving the legislation forward. OCA sits on the steering committee of the effort and whole-heartedly supported the passage of H.Res. 683 in recognizing the injustices committed of the past while the displaying a commitment to equality of the future.
“We are particularly grateful for the countless citizen advocates from all walks of life who faithfully answered our call to ensure that their collective voices were heard by members of Congress,” says Hayashi. “They mobilized passionately because they believe in the importance of a just society.”
OCA would like to thank all the supporting organizational partners for their continued efforts: the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, Committee of 100, Japanese American Citizens League, and the National Council of Chinese Americans. We would especially like to thank former OCA President and Executive Director Michael Lin, Chair of the 1882 Project Steering Committee, for his tireless work in making this dream into a reality.
The full text of the Resolution can be found at: http://www.govtrack.us/