Press Release Oct 11, 2018

Telling Our Stories: Assemblymember Bigelow Presents Resolution Recognizing the Contributions of Chinese Americans to Yosemite National Park

California Assemblymember Frank Bigelow presented today the State Resolution ACR 262, recognizing the contributions of Chinese Americans to Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada. 

Yosemite National Park – Today, California Assemblymember Frank Bigelow presented the State Resolution ACR 262, recognizing the contributions of Chinese Americans to Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada. The resolution was presented alongside Jack Shu, co-founder of the Sing Peak Pilgrimage, members of the Chinese Historical Society and others at the Yosemite Gateway Partners meeting.

The resolution, which passed earlier this year during the state’s legislative session, furthers efforts to share a more complete and diverse history of the individuals who helped shape and protect our national parks. Importantly, it addresses the history of racism against Chinese Americans and the opportunity for the Park Service to share the contributions made to the park and surrounding communities by these people. The resolution reads, “Despite anti-immigrant sentiments and racism, Chinese immigrants became an indispensable workforce by taking on jobs that were not desired by others and performing tasks so well that today their accomplishments illustrate the highest levels of human achievement.”

“For too many generations we have limited our stories about the people who were involved with special places like Yosemite. In this complex and challenging society we live in, just talking about John Muir is not enough,” said Jack Shu, Co-Founder of the Sing Peak Pilgrimage. “Hopefully this resolution will help move us to provide park visitors a more complete and richer history. By commemorating this inclusive past may we all be inspired to become better human beings.” The state resolution was initiated by the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California and National Parks Conservation Association. The resolution sets a major milestone for telling our diverse stories at our national parks and telling the forgotten park history that involved Chinese Americans and other ethnic groups.

"Yosemite National Park is proud to honor and share the stories of the Chinese Americans who played critical roles in the early history of Yosemite,” said Michael Reynolds, Yosemite National Park Superintendent. “We are pleased and honored to see this resolution passed honoring the important contributions of Chinese Americans to Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada. We would like to express our gratitude to Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, National Parks Conservation Association, and the Chinese American Historical Society for working on this historic resolution.”

“National Parks Conservation Association commends the California Assembly for recognizing in perpetuity the important historic contributions of Chinese Americans to the development of both Yosemite and California,” said Ron Sundergill, Pacific Regional Director for National Parks Conservation Association. “These contributions for the greater good were made in the face of great hardship, when Chinese Americans faced excessive racism in various forms, including discriminatory laws.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.