The 1882 Foundation was among eight organizations from around the world to receive awards for their work promoting the history and culture of Overseas Chinese. Other organizations included language, social services and community entities from Australia, Japan, Italy, and Malaysia. The Chinese American Citizen Alliance’s Pedro Chan was also recognized for his work promoting the history of the WWII Flying Tigers.
The awards culminated a symposium on the preservation of Chinese culture organized by the Zhigong Party, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China Radio International, and China International Broadcasting Network. The one day seminar was held at the Guangzhou Academy of Socialism in Guangzhou. Keynote speakers and panelists included Alhambra City Mayor Stephen Sham, Singapore Nanyang University Director of Chinese Heritage Center Zhou Min, and Fudan University historian Professor Ge Jianxiong. Ted Gong, Executive Director for 1882 Foundation, accepted the award on behalf of the 1882 Foundation. Below are his acceptance remarks in English and Chinese:
Comments at International Forum on Chinese Culture
I want to thank the Guangzhou Zhrgong Party, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China Radio International and China Internal Broadcasting Network for their recognition of the work the 1882 Project Foundation does.
Their support encourages us to continue telling the world that Chinese exclusion laws were enacted first in 1882, again in 1892, again in 1902… and it was not until 2011 and 2012 (130 years later) did the U.S. Congress acknowledge the harm and violence and killings these laws justified. This story of exclusion was being lost until the 1882 Project led a grass roots campaign to tell Congress that we –the descendants of peasants, farmers and workers from China– would not be forgotten. Our stories will be told.
Importantly, regardless of being Chinese or American, there are lessons to learn from understanding what the Chinese exclusion laws were, how they come to be enacted historically, and their consequences to civil rights of all peoples in the United States then and today.
The 1882 Foundation does this through three initiatives: 1) Organizing an annual national conference in Washington DC of museums, historical societies and private/government agencies from around the U.S.; 2) Developing curriculum and teacher guides; 3) Collecting and sharing oral histories.
We have been doing this since 2012. Each year, we have expanded. What makes our effort difficult is the lack of a permanent central location to plan and carry out our projects and programs… We need a museum or history center to sustain and grow our programs.
In Washington DC, there are museums for the many people and their cultures. This is proper because we should memorialize their contributions to strengthening and enriching the American nation. In DC, we have a museum for the American Indians. We will open the African American Museum next year. We will soon begin to study the building of a museum for Hispanic Americans. But, there is nothing for Chinese Americans. We need your support to establish such a museum in Washington DC.
In closing, I want to point out that, while I represent the 1882 Foundation, I also represent the Chinese American Citizens Alliance (Tongyuanhui同源会”). This organization was formed in 1895 (almost a contemporary to the Zhrgongtang (致公堂)) to help the Chinese people in the United States.
Those people at that time came largely from here –from Guangdong， Szeyup , Toyshan…and for me, from Fayuan, …. This is the heartland. But, it also part of a larger common source that includes all of China, including Fujian, Shangdong, and Taiwan. And, while my Chinese is terrible, it is comforting to know that the work we do in the 1882 Foundation over 8,000 miles away in America is recognized here by people whom I can say share a common root with me, who are “of the same language and same race.” Tongwen, tongzhong 同文同種
Again, thank you for encouraging us to tell the stories of our people, to ensure their legacy of courage, struggle, sacrifice, perseverance and exploration continue. ##
1882基金会通过三项活动来做到这点： 第一，组织每年在华盛顿召开的，有来自美国各地的博物馆从2012年以来，历史学会和私营或政府机构代表参加的全国性会议; 第二，开发课程和教师指南; 第三，收集和分享口述历史。
我们一直在进行这些活动，并且一年年扩大。我们觉得困难的是缺乏一个固定的工作场所来规划和执行我们的项目和活动……我们需要一个博物馆或历史中心来维持和扩展我们的活动。 在华盛顿，已经为许多种族和文化建了博物馆。这是合情合理的，因为我们应该纪念他们为增强和丰富美利坚国家所作的贡献。在华盛顿，已有美国印第安人博物馆。明年将开放非裔美国人博物馆。很快将开始讨论建造一个拉美裔美国人博物馆。但是却没有为华裔美国人的博物馆。我们需要大家的支持在华盛顿建立这样一个博物馆。 最后，我想指出的是，虽然我代表1882基金会，但同时也代表同源会（也称华裔美国公民联盟）。同源会成立于1895年，与致公堂几乎同一时代，目的是帮助在美国的中国人。 这些中国人当时大部分来自广东，四邑，台山，。。。和我的祖居地，花县。。。这些是中心地带。但是，这只是更大地区的一部分，那就是整个中国， 也包括了福建，山东，台湾。。。虽然我的中文很差，但感到欣慰是，知道我们1882基金会远在8000英里外的美国所做的工作能得到这里人们的褒奖，我可以说，因为这里的人和我同出一个根，正所谓“同文同种”。