June 5, 2012
I’ve had the pleasure of working with you over the past four years as Executive Director of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation. As I prepare to retire on June 30, 2012, I wanted to share some reflections on this part of my journey. Working at AIISF has been a rewarding experience on so many levels. First and foremost, we have made substantial progress in educating the public about this national symbol of Pacific immigration. We reopened the Immigration Station Museum in February 2009 with gorgeous new exhibits designed by Dan Quan, including a new interpretive area on the grounds of the administration building. We’ve created the elegant Immigrant Heritage Wall upon which hundreds of immigrant lives are honored for posterity. We’ve stabilized the immigration station hospital, which was in danger of collapse. The work can now begin to rehabilitate the hospital and create exhibition galleries, performance spaces, and meeting rooms. This will double the size of the present Immigration Station Museum. I think that my father, who was deported from Angel Island as a 15-year old and came back a year later determined to better his life, would be proud that a place of shame has now become a site of conscience.
All of the above was accomplished with the hard work of our staff, board, community volunteers, our partners at the California State Parks and National Park Service, and thousands of donors and supporters. We are proud of all we have done, but there is still so much more to do. It will take all of us to make the Angel Island Immigration Station a world-class museum and memorial to the bravery, courage and perseverance of our immigrant ancestors and all those who came in later decades.
As I retire on June 30, 2012, I leave knowing that support continues to grow for our mission. The board has engaged CompassPoint to conduct the search for a new Executive Director. During the next several months, Kathy Owyang Turner, a former board member, will serve as interim executive director. She, along with Grant Din and Julie Phuong, will build upon all that we have accomplished.
Although I am retiring from this job, I intend to keep working in the community and volunteering for AIISF. Thank you again for all your support.