EMAC on Angel Island
We were honored to share space with the Asian Prisoner Support Committee (@asianprisonersc) and the New Breath Foundation (@newbreathfoundation) at the Angel Island Immigration Station. We reflected on our immigration stories and histories but also on the effects of mass incarceration, anti-Asian discrimination, unjust immigration policies, and learned from one another on how we continue this fight to see our people be free!
The Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco served as the main immigration facility on the West Coast of the United States from 1910 to 1940. After the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 and The Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907 that engrained anti-Asian sentiment into law, thousands of mostly Chinese and Japanese immigrants were detained on Angel Island and endured the station's prison-like environment. Detainees resided in confined dormitories with locked doors, unable to leave without the supervision of an escort guard for days, months, or even years.
As a testament of resilience and resistance, poems began to appear on the walls of the men's detention barracks. Carved into the unfinished wooden walls with the ends of ink brushes, these poems often expressed Chinese immigrants' frustration, resentment, or unhappiness over their experience.
Read more about Angel Island and plan a visit to this important landmark in Asian American History at nps.gov.