California just celebrated its first Chinese American Day, marking the first official recognition of Chinese Americans by any state legislature.
Nearly 1,000 attendees gathered on Capitol Building’s West Steps in Sacramento on October 23 to participate in the event. Festivities began with traditional music and Chinese lion and dragon dances, according to Davis Enterprise.
”With diligence, loyalty, a sense of gratitude, and an enduring belief in the American dream, Chinese immigrants contributed to American society in many areas, including academia, science, technology, education, business, finance, arts, entertainment, and public service,” stated by the proponents of the Resolution No. 121.
Among the distinguished guests was World War II veteran Herbert Yee, who spoke and shared the history of discrimination against Chinese Americans and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
He pointed out that despite the experience, Chinese Americans were among those who fought for America in many wars.
Yee lamented that after he risked his life fighting for the United States, he was still denied the right to purchase a home in Sacramento.
The State Assembly passed a resolution last month enumerating various accomplishments by Chinese Americans starting with the building of the Transcontinental Railroad to Gary Locke becoming governor of Washington, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and the U.S. Ambassador to China, according to Xinhua Net.
“I hope the celebrations will help promote unity among various Chinese communities in the United States and provide an opportunity for Chinese Americans to work as a non-government force to bolster China-U.S. friendship and deepen their cooperation,” Roger Zhang of the Greater Shanghai Alliance of America was quoted as saying.