In California, May 10th is Declared ‘Chinese Railroad Workers Memorial Day’

This being May, it’s not a surprise to see a lot of events and activities commemorating Asian Pacific American Heritage month, including most recently, the Rally for Inclusion: 135th Anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act in San Francisco.

On Monday, May 8th, Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) authored House Resolution 31, which declares May 10, 2017 as California Chinese Railroad Workers Memorial Day, in honor of the nearly 12,000 Chinese railroad workers who helped build the Transcontinental Railroad. From the actual text of the bill:

“The 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad will take place on May 10, 2019 … That the Assembly recognizes and honors the Chinese railroad workers who labored from 1865 to 1869 to build the Transcontinental Railroad by designating May 10, 2017, and each May 10 thereafter, as California Chinese Railroad Workers Memorial Day.”

I had blogged about the 145th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad, where the Chinese railroad workers were essentially Photoshopped out of history.

The original photo commemorating the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869 did not include Chinese laborers.

It’s terrific to see a 4th generation Chinese American bring up a bill to recognize the work of over 12,000 Chinese railroad workers who were essentially to connecting the nation from East to West via rail.

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Author: John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)