Thousands Attend Immigrant Heritage Wall Dedication
Although the morning started out as a typical San Francisco summer day with fog and low clouds, sunshine burst out over the Immigration Station as the crowd of 1,500 people gathered for the dedication of the Immigrant Heritage Wall. With a flurry of notes from his flute, Francis Wong heralded the opening of the ceremony as Melody Takata performed classical Japanese dance in a new work entitled, "Arrival."
The crowd heard heartfelt comments Assembly member Paul Fong, AIISF Board President Buck Gee, Michael Lopez, Glenn Osaka, Norma Samra and Peter Samra, all descendants of Angel Island iimmigrants. Additionally, Kim Delevette shared her story of leaving Vietnam as a child refugee. Buck Gee summed up the feelings of many people: "Today I look out and see a multitude of teachers, lawyers, doctors, artists, poets, and many others. You are all here to do one thing - to say 'thank you' to those who ventured across the Pacific to this place. Thank you for seeking a new life in a distant and sometimes unfriendly land."
California State Parks Director Ruth Coleman also presented AIISF Executive Director Eddie Wong with the DeWitt Award, which honors AIISF for its efforts to save the Angel Island Immigration Station.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey closed out the program with a simple plea: "As we continue to maintain and rebuild the physical infrastructure of Angel Island Immigration Station, let's also make that restoration a metaphor for the restoration of the very noblest American values: Decency and compassion; tolerance and pluralism; hope and opportunity; a belief in our common humanity and our ability to live together in harmony despite our differences."
AIISF wishes to thank all the participants in the program, the Angel Island State Park staff, and our friends at the Blue and Gold Fleet, Angel Island Ferry, Angel Island Cafe ,and Southwest Airlines. A special appreciation goes to AIISF board members Anne Chen, Buck Gee, Katherine Toy, and Gerrye Wong and staff members Grant Din, Julie Phuong, and Eddie Wong.
Video clips of the program and afternoon cultural performances with Charlie Chin, Sinag-Tala Performing Arts, Lana Fong Chong, and others will be available shortly on our website. Additional articles about this event and blog postings can be found in the updates section of www.aiisf.org
View photos online!
More photos from our supporter Rita
For more pictures and accounts of the dedication ceremony, click on the following articles in our media section:
Jue and Yen Family Plaques at the Angel Island Immigration Station - a blog by Jack Jue, Jr.
Pilgrimage to Angel Island - a blog by Susan Man
Angel Island immigrant celebration: "These are our roots" - news article by Nels Johnson, Marin Independent Journal
Angel Island's immigrant heritage to be celebrated - news article by Justin Phillips, Contra Costa Times/Mercury News
Videos of the event!