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The immigration experience is a common thread binding the histories of most Americans. Whether escaping persecution, poverty or lack of economic prospects, immigrants have come to the United States for the ideals it represents — freedom, democracy, and opportunity. Most Americans know the story of Ellis Island, where immigrants crossing the Atlantic Ocean were processed. But the story of its West Coast counterpart, Angel Island, is little-known.
Located in the middle of San Francisco Bay, Angel Island Immigration Station was routinely the first stop for immigrants crossing the Pacific Ocean. The Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (AIISF) is the nonprofit partner of California State Parks and the National Park Service in the effort to educate the public about the complex story and rich cultural heritage of Pacific Coast immigrants and their descendants.
AIISF has created an online repository of stories entitled “Immigrant Voices”. By going to www.aiisf.org/immigrant-voices, visitors can see a rich and diverse collection of personal stories about immigrants who came through Angel Island as well as those who came many years after the immigration station closed. AIISF also conducts outreach presentations, seminars, and teacher training workshops. Gateway to Gold Mountain, AIISF’s traveling multi-panel exhibit, which chronicles the Angel Island story, has been seen by tens of thousands of people nationwide.
Each year, AIISF presents the Immigrant Heritage Award, which is given to individuals and organizations whose work celebrates the important contributions immigrants have made to our country. For a list of past honorees, please click here.
For update information about AIISF activities, subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter by clicking HERE.
Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (AIISF) raises awareness of the experience of Immigration into America through the Pacific. AIISF collects and preserves the rich stories and personal journeys of thousands of immigrants, and shares them with visitors and everyone living in America through education initiatives and public programs. Angel Island Immigration Station reminds us of the complicated history of immigration in America. It serves as a symbol of our willingness to learn from our past to ensure that our nation keeps its promise of liberty and freedom.