This year’s Benefit for Change will honor the incredible strength of asylum seekers, some of whom have crossed insurmountable obstacles in search of safety and a place to call home, as well as advocates working tirelessly to support asylum-seekers along the Southern border. As we are faced with exclusionary policies that deprive vulnerable communities of their basic human rights, we can think of no better place to honor the strength of those who are directly affected by these policies than the Museum of Chinese in America.
The Museum began as a community-based organization founded in 1980. It was created to develop a better understanding of Chinese American history and culture, as well as to respond to a concern that the memories and experiences of the aging Chinese American population would perish without oral history, research and collecting efforts.
Today, the museum serves a critical purpose for New York City. Not only does it bring together 160 years of Chinese American history and contemporary Chinese American culture, but it does so in a way that highlights the parallels between Chinese American immigration experiences and the experiences of contemporary immigrant communities. The core exhibition tells an all-too familiar story of exclusionary rhetoric and racist policies, contrasted with the strength and resilience of the Chinese American community.
Attendees of the benefit will have the opportunity to take guided, informative tours of the museum’s exhibitions and gain an understanding of Chinese American history and history in the making. We hope that the parallels between the treatment and resilience of the Chinese American community and the contemporary discourse around asylum seekers will leave you with the same sense of urgency that we carry throughout our work, as well as the same sense of hope in a future that we shape as a community for the benefit of us all.
“MOCA continues to be a platform for cultural dialogue: a self-renewing exchange that brings to life the multiple journeys, memories and contributions of the past and present, woven into a collective narrative that shapes the future of our Chinese American legacy.”