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12/15/2008 Houston, TX – The Houston community is invited to participate in a brief program on Wednesday, December 17th, to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Also known as the Magnuson Act, this law allowed Chinese immigration for the first time since the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and permitted Chinese nationals already residing in the U.S. to become naturalized citizens. The Repeal was passed during World War II, when China was an ally to the U.S.

The program, free and open to the public, will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Southern Daily News Building (the “white house”), 11222 Bellaire Blvd., located between Boone and Wilcrest. A Question and Answer session will follow the program from 8 – 8:30 p.m.

The program includes proclamations from the City of Houston and Harris County, as well as presentations from former Council Members Martha Wong and Gordon Quan. Historian Ed Chen will offer local perspectives on the impact of the various laws that excluded Chinese from entering America from 1882 to 1943. Lewis Yee, from American-Chinese Legion Post 596 will also speak. The American Legion is the world’s largest veterans’ organization. It was instrumental in the creation of the Veterans Administration and is universally recognized as the originator of the GI Bill of Rights.

This remembrance ceremony is sponsored by the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, the Association of Chinese Organizations of Houston, OCA-Greater Houston Chapter, and the Fort Bend Chinese Americans Association.

The most recent Census data identifies the Chinese as the second largest group within the Asian Pacific American community. In this country, nearly three quarters (70.2%) of Chinese Americans are U.S. citizens. Chinese Americans also exhibit high rates of naturalization (58.8%) and rank third for the proportion naturalized among Asian Pacific Americans. These and other key findings are amongst information released last month in A Portrait of Chinese Americans, the most current and comprehensive profile of Chinese Americans in this country. Conducted by the University of Maryland’s Asian American Studies Program in collaboration with OCA, a national Asian Pacific American social justice organization, many myths and stereotypes are shattered.

Go to www.aast.umd.edu for a free download of the Portrait. Hard copies may be purchased from OCA at www.ocanational.org