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  • October 12, 2023 5:14 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    Lisa Liddane walks past the “Sheltering Wing” sculpture by artist Roger Stoller in Heinlenville Park on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023, in San Jose, Calif. Community members held a ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new park which is named after John Heinlen, a German immigrant who rented to Chinese residents after the Chinatown neighborhood was burned in the late 1800s. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)

    The following is an excerpt from the 10/11/23 San Jose Mercury News:

    By Sal Pizarro, Bay Area News Group

    Heinlenville Park may be San Jose’s newest open urban space, but it comes with more than a century of history to its name, befitting its location in the city’s historic Japantown neighborhood. A few hundred people attended the grand opening ceremony Tuesday afternoon, which opened with a blessing and ended with a celebratory lion dance and a sake toast.

    “It’s not every day we get to open a new public space, certainly not one so beautiful. This park is exceptional,” said Mayor Matt Mahan, who called Japantown a “community that is passionate about celebrating, commemorating and living the culture of our Japanese community while also welcoming change and newcomers.”

    Visitors stroll through Heinlenville Park on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023, in San Jose, Calif. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group) 

    After a suspected arson fire in 1887 destroyed the Chinatown on Market Street downtown, John Heinlen — a German immigrant farmer and businessman who owned property just north of downtown — answered an act of bigotry with one of acceptance. He provided inexpensive leases to the local Chinese community and endured condemnation from the city’s white community.

    The area became a hub of Chinese cultural activities in San Jose for the next five decades, centered around the ornate Ng Shing Gung temple (of which the Chinese Historical and Cultural Project built at History Park). The success of Heinlenville encouraged Japanese residents to settle in the area, and that gave birth to San Jose’s Japantown, which is now one of just three remaining in the United States.

    Historian Connie Young Yu, right, was among the visitors looking over interpretive signage in Heinlenville Park on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023, in San Jose, Calif. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group) 

    Historian Connie Young Yu said Heinlenville ended after 44 years largely because of the Chinese Exclusion Act, and the area became the city’s corporation yard for many decades with Japantown next to it. She heard stories of Heinlen’s generosity from her grandfather, who fled the Market Street fire, and her father, who was born in Heinlenville.

    “You will not read about the legacy of John Heinlen in history, but you will experience it here,” she said. “This park embodies a story San Jose should be proud of, one that should inspire us all and generations to come.”

    Shea Properties built the park to complement its Sixth and Jackson apartments and plans to grant it to the city. Features within the park reflect its history, too.

    “Sheltering Wing,” a 19-foot-tall metal sculpture created by Stoller Studios in San Jose, tells the story of the evolving and inclusive community through images of “Asian positivity” in the metal-lace artwork representing bamboo, peaches, koi, origami cranes, butterflies and chrysanthemums, among others. There’s an interpretive sign exploring the history of the area and a paved “history path” that recounts the Chinese American experience. Japantown sculptor Ken Matsumoto created the stonework in the north garden, part of the landscape designed by Jason Victor.

    Notably, the park is mostly hardscape with raised gardens and trees, along with tables with built-in checkers/chessboards and a children’s play space. But there’s no grass, and that’s intentional because the community asked for space that could accommodate events like flea markets and public gatherings for the multicultural area, which includes the Filipino Community Center right across the street.

    “This park is a testament to the collective efforts of so many people,” said Sean McEachern of Shea Properties. “Everyone on the team knew the importance of what we needed to deliver.”

  • October 12, 2023 3:00 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    Japanese Shinto Ceremony Ribbon Cutting SJ Mayor Matt Mahan

    Erwin Wong, Gerrye and Calvin Wong Sheltering Wing Sculpture Connie Young Yu and Rodney Lum

    Hoong the DragonSJSU Lion Dance Team and Hoong the Dragon

  • October 08, 2023 6:32 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    Spin for a Prize Greeting and Distributing Name Tags Some of the Great Prizes

    CHCP Dragon and Lion Dance Team EnrollmentLillian Gong-Gong Memorial ScholarshipCHCP Publication: Chinese in San Jose and Santa Clara Valley

    Chinese American WWII Veterans ProjectStudent Docent Cultural Ambassador Program Meet & Greet Musical Entertainment

    Delicious RefreshmentsMeet & Greet Singalong Friends and Colleagues at the Meet & Greet

    CHCP introduced its new Dragon at the Mid-Autumn Meet & Greet:

  • October 05, 2023 4:54 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    OCA SM Award/Certificate Recipients CHCP Members at the Gala

    The following are excerpts from 10/05/23 DingDingTV:

    By Gerrye Wong

    I must share a very gratifying experience I just had being honored along with two extraordinary other women as we were named “Individuals Who Inspire” by the San Mateo Organization of Chinese Americans (SM OCA) group last week at the Grand Palace Restaurant in South San Francisco. At its first gala dinner since the pandemic, over 200 members and friends came out to support the club’s 50th Anniversary celebration. Linda Ng, National President of OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates organization, and Aimee Yan, SM OCA president, told that OCA was established in 1973 during the Civil Rights movement as a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Chinese Americans. There are over 50 chapters in cities and universities across the nation supported by the National OCA office in Washington DC.

    Longtime news reporter David Louie, as MC, introduced me recalling my work as a columnist covering Asian American news in the South Bay as well as authoring two books: “Eternal Spring,” about new immigrants being served by Self Help for the Elderly services, and “Chinese in San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley." In my acceptance speech, I noted key elements during my career as a nonpaid retiree volunteer co-founding the Chinese Historical and Cultural Project which built and gave to the city its Chinese American Historical Museum in 1991 and partnering with Councilman Raul Peralez and Connie Young Yu in 2021 to encourage the City of San Jose to adopt a Resolution of Apology to the Chinese community for its past wrongdoings and actions towards Chinese as far back as the 1800s. I was proud to recall that San Jose became the second city to officially write this resolution of apology, soon followed by other major cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, and others.

  • September 21, 2023 4:21 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    SF Mayor London Breed with Honorees Outstanding Community Service Award presented to Gerrye Wong Cynthia Yee, Gerrye Wong, and Gum Moon Director Mina Li

    The following are excerpts from 09/20/23 DingDingTV:

    By Gerrye Wong

    Although  there were at least 24 steep stairs to climb to the second floor of the Far East Restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown, that didn’t deter over 300 people from coming to congratulate the Gum Moon/Asian Women’s Resource Center (AWRC) at its annual benefit fundraising luncheon on September 16.  As Director Gloria Tan told the audience, “Gum Moon Women’s Residence was founded in 1868 to rescue Chinese girls who had been sold into slavery and prostitution. To meet other evolving needs of its Chinatown target population, Gum Moon directed its attention to the care and education of abandoned Chinese girls and babies in the late 1800s. In 1984 Gum Moon’s leaders reached out to a wider segment of the community in its provision of social and educational services. By the late 1990s Gum Moon began offering transitional housing to women in need.”

    Board President Selina Soo Lim added, “Today Gum Moon/Asian Women’s Resource Center offers educational programs and services which include affordable housing for low income women, transitional housing and programming for women survivors of abuse, parent-child interactive groups, after school programming, and many other services including information and referral support. In essence Gum Moon/AWRC and the Asian Family Support Centers serve more than 5500 women, children and their families each year.”

    This year’s theme was WOMEN MAKING A DIFFERENCE and unabashedly I am proud to have been chosen as one of the honored women for my work volunteering for half a dozen non-profit organizations, by serving on their Boards, and as the co-founding member of the Chi Am Circle, a 55-year-old Asian American women’s club, and also co-founding the Chinese Historical and Cultural Project, which had as their goal project to build a Museum of Chinese American History in Santa Clara Valley. Thank you Board member Mina Li for presenting a beautiful crystal desk plaque for this honor and a lovely bouquet of flowers.

    Proof that Gum Moon has established itself through its long history as a very important part of the Chinese community in San Francisco was the fact that San Francisco Mayor London Breed made an appearance to personally present each honoree with a certificate from her office.  Likewise District Attorney Brooke Jenkins congratulated the three honorees with a certificate from her office.  City Attorney David Chiu presented proclamations from the city to the honorees and all  expressed admiration for the work that Gum Moon does for needy women and children and as always, pledged to continue working to make San Francisco the safe city it once was.

  • September 18, 2023 7:26 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

  • September 01, 2023 6:01 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    CA Chinese 88th Division Reenactment Group, Director Brenda Wong, and VP Edith GongDirector Erwin Wong mans CHCP's BoothHistory Flight Presentation by Judy Petray, assisted by SDCAP member Charity He

    By Edith Gong, 2023 CHCP Co-Vice President of Marketing/Outreach

    Over 300 people visited the Chinese American Historical Museum (CAHM) during the Spirit of '45 event on August 12 to hear special presentations on the 2nd floor. 

    Judy Petray spoke about Honor Flight Bay Area, part of the Honor Flight Network whose mission is to transport America's veterans, free of charge, to Washington, DC to visit those memorials built in dedication to their service and sacrifice.

    Throughout the rest of the afternoon, short snippets of two documentaries were shown and discussed: "More than a Medal" and "Our Story of War and Remembrance."

    Flyer for More than a Medal Director Brenda Wong introduces Laura Lau Kee, Granddaughter of WWI Hero Sing Lau Kee CAHM exhbit featuring WWI Hero Sing Lau Kee

    "More than a Medal" is a documentary researching minority veterans from WWI, who despite valorous deeds, may have been unjustly denied awards due to race or religion. The decorated Chinese American WWI Veteran from the San Jose area, Sing Lau Kee (aka Lau Sing Kee) was featured in the documentary. His granddaughter, Laura Lau Kee, was present to share her memories and thoughts about his deeds and his nomination for the Congressional Medal of Honor. CAHM is honored to have some of Sing Lau Kee's medals and photos in the museum on display.

    "Our Story of War and Remembrance" tells the stories of four Chinese American WWII veterans of the San Francisco Bay Area in a moving documentary of patriotism as they served to defend the America that had denied them rights under the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The documentary was produced by CHCP's Student Docent Cultural Ambassador Program (SDCAP). The shortened version of this documentary can be viewed below:

  • July 30, 2023 4:04 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    “Sheltering Wing,” an 18-foot tall stainless steel sculpture created by Stoller Studio, was installed at Heinlenville Park, which is under construction in San Jose’s historic Japantown district, on Friday, July 21, 2023. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)

    The following is an excerpt from the 07/30/23 San Jose Mercury News:

    By Sal Pizarro, Bay Area News Group

    There’s a new landmark in San Jose’s Japantown neighborhood in the form of an 18-foot-high stainless steel sculpture called “Sheltering Wing.” The gleaming metal artwork was installed July 21 at Heinlenville Park, which is still under construction.

    Artist Roger White Stoller of Stoller Studio in Portola Valley said the piece is about Asian positivity and is also a nod to John Heinlen, the businessman who leased property to Chinese immigrants who were burned out of the previous Chinatown in downtown San Jose in the 1880s. Heinlenville, which was on the site of today’s Japantown, was a hub of Chinese cultural activities in the city for the next five decades, centered around the Ng Shing Gung temple.

    Stoller consulted with historian Connie Young Yu, San Jose Taiko co-founder PJ Hirabayashi and others from the city’s Asian community about what imagery should be contained in the metal-lace artwork. “Sheltering Wing” was completed a couple of years ago, but delays in the park’s construction schedule pushed back its installation to this year.

    The opening date for the park has not been set, but until then, the piece is visible from North Sixth Street between Jackson and Taylor streets.

  • July 18, 2023 6:22 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    Connie Young YuRecognizing the power of art to challenge and change us, National Geographic partnered with the artist collective, For Freedoms, on a series of photo essays inspired by American history. One of those photo essays, by photographer Philip Cheung, features descendants of the Chinese immigrants who helped build the Transcontinental Railroad and includes CHCP Advisory Board Member Connie Young Yu.

    The following are excerpts from the 07/18/23 National Geographic photo essay by photographer Philip Cheung:

    As many as 20,000 Chinese were recruited during the building of America’s first transcontinental railroad. They lived in segregated areas, earned less than their white counterparts, and were denied citizenship after Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882. Descendants, historians, and activists are fighting for recognition of the Chinese workers’ contributions.

    Connie Young Yu , a historian and an advocate for recognition of the contributions of Chinese railroad workers, is the great-granddaughter of Lee Wong Sang, who worked on the Central Pacific Railroad.

    For more information: Read the full 07/18/23 National Geographic essay.

  • July 14, 2023 5:41 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

    Photos of Dublin by Jessica Christian and Nick Otto/The Chronicle

    Shared from the 07/07/23 San Francisco Chronicle eEdition:

    By Adriana Rezal

    The Asian population is growing across the United States, and three cities in the Bay Area’s Tri-Valley have some of the fastest-growing Asian communities.

    Dublin, Pleasanton and San Ramon were among the 10 largest cities with at least 30% of their population identifying as Asian that had the highest growth since 2010, an analysis of census data shows.

    Dublin is the fastest growing city in California overall, and its Asian population is fueling that growth. In the past decade, the suburban city’s Asian population grew from 12,000 in 2010 to nearly 39,000 in 2020 — a 219% increase, according to census data. The Asian populations in Pleasanton and San Ramon — two other Tri-Valley area cities — grew by 94% and 68%, respectively, during the same 10-year period.

    The Tri-Valley has had an infusion of new residents who are seeking better housing opportunities and school districts, said Steve Minniear, a volunteer city historian in Dublin.

    “Many people are coming here as young families (and are then) realizing that … they’re going to have more kids and the kids are going to grow up or … that they want their parents to live with them,” he said. “So, they’re looking for bigger houses — three, four bedrooms — and Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore, to some extent, are the places that tend to have those (housing options) coming out.”

    With 56% of its total population identifying as Asian, 2021 estimates show that Dublin is now an Asian-majority city. San Ramon is close to being majority Asian, with 49.7%. In Pleasanton, Asian residents made up just over 40% of the total population in 2021.

    Indian and Chinese communities made up the majority of the Asian populations in the Tri-Valley, data shows. In Dublin, more than a quarter of the population — about 19,600 people — identified as Indian and nearly 14% — 9,900 people — identified as Chinese.

    In addition to being the two largest ethnic groups, Indian and Chinese communities in the Tri-Valley were also the fastest-growing Asian populations in recent years. Across the Tri-Valley, there were 20,000 more Indian people in 2021 as compared with 2016, and 10,000 more Chinese people.

    Not all Asian ethnic groups saw an increase in populations during this time period in the region, however. The region’s Japanese, Filipino, Thai, Mongolian and Vietnamese communities saw declines in their populations from 2016 to 2021, data shows.

Museum Address:

History Park
635 Phelan Avenue
San Jose, CA 95112

In Ng Shing Gung Building

Mailing Address:

PO Box 5366
San Jose, CA 95150-5366

Email: info@chcp.org

Chinese Historical & Cultural Project

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