June 5, 2012
I’ve had the pleasure of working with you over the past four years as Executive Director of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation. As I prepare to retire on June 30, 2012, I wanted to share some reflections on this part of my journey. Working at AIISF has been a rewarding experience on so many levels. First and foremost, we have made substantial progress in educating the public about this national symbol of Pacific immigration. We reopened the Immigration Station Museum in February 2009 with gorgeous new exhibits designed by Dan Quan, including a new interpretive area on the grounds of the administration building. We’ve created the elegant Immigrant Heritage Wall upon which hundreds of immigrant lives are honored for posterity. We’ve stabilized the immigration station hospital, which was in danger of collapse. The work can now begin to rehabilitate the hospital and create exhibition galleries, performance spaces, and meeting rooms. This will double the size of the present Immigration Station Museum. I think that my father, who was deported from Angel Island as a 15-year old and came back a year later determined to better his life, would be proud that a place of shame has now become a site of conscience.