Hall of Honor Induction Poster

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
To view the entire essay and additional information, visit the 1882 Foundation website here: http://www.1882foundation.org/uncategorized/their-story-is-our-story/.
To view the entire essay and additional information, visit the 1882 Foundation website here: http://www.1882foundation.org/uncategorized/their-story-is-our-story/.

During my time at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), some of my AAPI colleagues and I began to plan to nominate an Asian/AAPI worker or labor organization to be recognized in the DOL's Labor Hall of Honor, since this was a glaring absence in the Hall's representation. We discussed the many contributions of Asian/AAPI laborers who helped build America: finally, we agreed that we should first honor the Chinese workers of the Transcontinental Railroad. They endured harsh working conditions, discrimination, and acts of violence, with little recognition. Even in 1969, at the centennial of the Golden Spike Ceremony, not one speaker acknowledged the Chinese laborers. We worked with the Chinese Historical Society of America, the 1882 Foundation, the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, Stanford University’s Chinese Railroad Workers Project of North America, OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates, and other organizations on this project. We were even connected with some of the descendants of the workers. Like my family, many of these railroad workers came from the area around Guangzhou and immigrated to the US, despite anti-Chinese attitudes and laws, so they could provide a better life for the families they left behind. On May 9, 2014, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, standing with 12 descendants, inducted the Chinese Railroad Workers as the first Asian workers into the Labor Hall of Honor. As a Chinese American, I was humbled to be a part of this event in celebrating them.

Place(s): China, Utah

– Phil Tom, Former Director, DOL Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant