104 years ago today, the Angel Island immigration station opened. Nearly 1 million Asian immigrants came through the station, including over 56,000 Chinese immigrants, some of whom were detained for months or even years on the island due to the Chinese Exclusion Act.
Many detainees carved poems into the walls of the barracks, including this one.
I chose these particular words in part because of their resonance to the experiences of many immigrants now who are held in ICE detention: when deportation proceedings are initiated, nobody is given the opportunity to explain, and many are treated as if they are guilty of terrible crimes.
We’re still searching for justice for immigrants in this country. Here’s to a brighter future.