Political Leaders Visit Angel Island to Reconnect with Values
The Faith & Politics Institute selected Angel Island as a destination of this year’s pilgrimage in order to expose Congressional leaders to Asian American history. Other sites on this pilgrimage included San Jose’s Japantown and Los Angeles’ Chinatown. The intent of these trips are to focus leaders on why they ran for office in the first place: to make a difference for those they serve and our nation as a whole.
Angel Island Immigration Station was proud to be asked to host this gathering, to bring attention to the challenges that immigrants face, as well as the human cost of racially discriminatory immigration policies. Past FPI Pilgrimage sites have included:
- Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina
- South African sites of apartheid history
- Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma, Alabama, where members of Congress and Senate explored the events that dramatically challenged racial discrimination and turned the course of American democracy
The group toured the Immigration Station at Angel Island and learned the stories of the people who passed through its doors – many of them Asians who were detained due to the Chinese Exclusion Act. They heard about the struggles the immigrants faced because of our nation’s laws, and the emotional toll it took. The story of Angel Island is one of struggle, but also success – a majority of immigrants who passed through Angel Island rose above the discrimination they faced. Like generations of immigrants before and after them, they worked hard, created thriving families, and educated the next generation.
Angel Island asks us to grapple with the questions, “Who is an American? Who do we include and exclude?” AIISF was proud to ask our lawmakers to consider these lessons from history as they craft policy for the future.