What the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation brings to the city of Tacoma.
*TW: Conversations about violence and hate crimes.*
President of the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation, Theresa Pan Hosley, spoke to the Ledger about what the non-profit organization does for the Tacoma community.
Since its inception in 1993, the CRPF was founded in response to the expulsion of hundreds of Chinese citizens and the arson of their businesses in the city of Tacoma. This became infamously known as the “Tacoma Method.”
“To kick people out? It’s something that you can’t even imagine. I couldn’t imagine it. That the history of Chinese expulsion was a fact,” Pan Hosley said. “The foundation was formed to address anti-Asian violence of the late 19th century. I feel it’s very important to teach our next generation about racial issues.”
“The Tacoma Method” and other acts of hate were committed due to sinophobic sentiments and actions, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This is the root of what the CRPF seeks to reconcile.
“Based on the tragic events that happened 185 years ago, we reconcile this in a more positive and peaceful way. We want to find a positive resolution for all the issues we have had,” Pan Hosley said.
Because of this tumultuous history that took place in Tacoma, the CRPF aims to reflect on this period but unlike this history, it aims to celebrate all the differences that Tacomans bring in.
“This foundation really emphasizes how we can strengthen understanding of our diverse community. How we can create a positive dialogue among all of us,” she said.
There are many qualities she believes make the CRPF stand out. The longevity of this foundation and its commitment to provide Tacomans with community, are some of these qualities.
“This is a completely volunteer-run organization that has been running since 1993. That’s quite a while. And we’re still working with this foundation,” Pan Hosley said. “The foundation was formed to amend and represent civic and cultural harmony. That’s our major goal.”
Aside from their aim towards harmony, the CRPF also seeks to educate the community on Tacoma’s past to cultivate a vibrant future.
“We go out into the community to give presentations to different organizations and schools. We bring people through the park and talk about its history. We also do a lot of field trips for school students. We are a hub to share and learn from each other,” she said.
The CRPF has achieved much success. However, there is one unanimous accomplishment that many take pride in and that’s the construction of the Chinese Reconciliation Park on the Ruston waterfront.
“We all agree that the opening of the Chinese Reconciliation Park was our most favorite accomplishment. It’s a welcoming place for all people from all over the place to come visit and feel safe,” Pan Hosley said.
With a past that’s hard to look back on, this park gives new life to a location previously shrouded in tragedy. Now, Tacomans from all walks of life can enjoy the beauty of old wounds healing and educate themselves by reading the historical panels.
Besides the accomplishments they have made thus far, the CRPF looks to the future and continues to have big goals in mind.
“Our immediate goal is to start a construction of a multicultural pavilion. The main purpose of the building would be to serve as a community and education center. Also, to be a field trip destination and a welcoming place for our community to use,” she said.
Another immediate and important goal that they are currently working on is expanding their endeavors to the youth by providing more educational materials to local schools.
“This year we are working on printing two books with local authors. We plan to donate them for schools to use as educational material. It will be teaching resources for teachers to share with their students,” Pan Hosley said.
With these goals in mind, they also have aspirations for upcoming events this year. An event they hold annually is the Tacoma Moon Festival, which looked different this past year due to COVID, but said they are hopeful of hosting it in their open space if it is safe enough to do so come September.
The CRPF expressed their gratitude towards those who have helped their non-profit. Specifically, Pan Hosley wanted to lend a heartfelt thank you to the Asian Pacific Islander Student Union at UW Tacoma.
“The APISU provided us with a video for our 2020 Moon Festival. Please check it out. It was beautifully made. I want to thank them for giving us an opportunity to showcase their beautiful performances. I hope they stay in contact with this foundation,” said Pan Hosley.
The CRPF also wants to reassure AAPI communities of its readily available assistance to lend support for those who are struggling during these times, or any other.
“If you have had any issues or problems you’ve encountered, we are here to support you. Not everyone has smooth sailing in their journey. Do not be afraid to ask for help,” she said.
Pan Hosley had a lot of thoughts in regard to the hostilities AAPI communities have faced across the country, and even in our own community.
“All human beings have a right to equity. Every individual must be treated with dignity and respect. Our foundation wants to lend our voice and support against Anti-AAPI community hate. They’re our neighbors and they’re our friends,” Pan Hosley said.
To AAPI students, staff, and faculty at UW Tacoma, Pan Hosley and the CRPF wanted to lend words of affirmation and resources to any in need of help.
“I want us not to be deterred. Know that you have support from a lot of people from different communities. Continue to rise up and continue to educate yourself. Education is one way you can defeat discrimination,” she said.
And to all students, staff, and faculty at UW Tacoma, the CRPF encourages an understanding of our diversity and still welcomes anyone that wishes to help.
“Use empathy. Recognize that we all have our differences, but that’s what makes our communities so beautiful. Differences are what unites us as one country,” Pan Hosley said. “To the students and faculty, we are here. We welcome everybody with open arms.”
For more information & donations:
CRPF website: http://crpftacoma.org/
Tacoma Chinese Reconciliation Park website: https://www.tacomachinesepark.org/
Contact CRPF: http://crpftacoma.org/contact-crpf/
Tacoma Moon Festival: http://tacomamoonfestival.org/about-tmf/
APISU Video: http://tacomamoonfestival.org/performances/