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Monthly Newsletter | March 2021
We've reopened!

We are thrilled to reopen and excited to welcome the public back on Saturdays and Sundays only beginning on March 6 with slightly shortened hours for both days from 10:30am to 3:30pm. Group visits by appointment only. We will closely monitor the pandemic situation and may extend the reopening to some weekdays. We have established protocols to ensure the safely of our visitors, volunteers and staff.
| From the Executive Director|

In March there were outcries from the Asian American communities denouncing racism and hate amid the recent uptick in violence against Asian Americans.

The Anti-Asian Racism and Hate rally on March 27 in Chicago Chinatown involved hundreds if not thousands of individuals that not only came from Asian American communities but also from other ethnic groups. During this historic moment, Chinese American Museum of Chicago (CAMOC) was in place to witness the event.

Looking back at the history, discrimination against Chinese Americans can be traced back to the 19th century. The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act blamed the Chinese immigrants as criminals who caused the economic downturn. Even though the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943, the Chinese Americans were and still are facing discrimination, and often scapegoated for social or economic problems. The most well-known hate crime was the murder of Vincent Jen Chin in Michigan in June 1982. During the recent epidemic, Chinese and Asians have been frequently attacked by racists.

Qingming Festival (清明節) 2021 falls on April 4. It is also known as Pure Brightness Festival or commonly referred to as Tomb Sweeping Day that is generally observed quietly among families by visiting the gravesites of relatives or ancestors. It will be a good time for us to mourn the loss of our community members to Anti-Asian violence. It will also be a great opportunity for us to honor the past with a spirit of determination to stand in solidarity to challenge hate and violence.

We will pay tribute to those Chinese immigrants and their descendants, who helped bring Chinese cuisine into mainstream society, by launching a mini exhibit titled "Era of Opulence: Chinese Find Dining" in late April. Please stay tuned.

For those who asked for the wonderful recipes for the cooking demonstrations in our Chinese New Year Celebration video. You can find them here.

Ben Lau
Executive Director
CAMOC's New 2021 Brochure
We have a new brochure! CAMOC is excited to announce the following new exhibitions for 2021-2: "Chinese American Veterans: The American Heroes," "Era of Opulence: Chinese Find Dining," and "Chinese Cuisine in America: Stories, Struggles & Successes." You can find descriptions about these exhibitions in the brochure, and we will release more details closer to the exhibitions' opening dates. Our new membership program is also listed inside.

As we reflect on our new theme, "Our Past, Our Present, Our Future," we continue to advance the appreciation of Chinese American culture through exhibitions, education, and research. As always, we are working to preserve the past, present, and future of Chinese Americans primarily in the Midwest. We look forward to having you join us for this exciting exhibition season! Come by during open hours to pick up your copy.
CAMOC's New Membership Program

Becoming a member is a simple and effective way to get involved with the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago. Your membership represents a personal investment in the Museum and ensures the continuation of the wide array of quality exhibitions, programs, and events we bring to the community. In addition, you are affirming the importance of the Museum’s commitment to bring the Chinese-American experience in the Midwest to as many people as possible.

$150 = Free event admission for member & 3 guests for 1 year

$100 = Free event admission for member & 1 guest for 1 year

$60 = Free event admission for member only for 1 year

$30 = Free event admission for seniors & students for 1 year
$500 = Corporate Membership for 1 year (with 10 individual memberships, recognition in program & on plaque)

For Members who support us beyond the basic level, we offer extra recognition and the following benefits:

$250 = Bronze (Honorary Membership)
$500 = Silver (Honorary Membership)
$1,000 = Gold (Lifetime Membership or a small donor brick)
$1,500 = Platinum (Lifetime Membership and a small donor brick)
$5,000 = Diamond (Large donor brick)
$5,500 = Jade (Large donor brick plus Lifetime Membership)

You can read the full list of benefits on our website by clicking the button below. There are also instructions on how to join at the bottom of the page, along with the Membership Form.
| March Highlights|

CAMOC Rallies with Chinatown Against Systemic Racism and Hate
On March 27, CAMOC joined other Chinatown organizations in rallying against anti-Asian racism. Since the start of COVID-19 pandemic there has been a significant increase in violent attacks and harassment toward Asian Americans. As seen through the history of Chinese Americans in the Midwest that CAMOC continues to share, we know that anti-Asian racism isn't something new. Centuries of anti-Asian racism have led to this moment.
CAMOC mourns the victims of the recent racially motivated killings in Atlanta. We continue to stand together with the AAPI community in solidarity to denounce the escalating violence.
Top photo from left to right: Ben Lau (ED) and Mark Chiang (Secretary). From right to left: Ed Jung (President), Rich Frachey (Board Member), and Viable Shum

Middle photo: Rally organizers, speakers & community leaders

Bottom photo from left to right: Ram and Soo Lon Moy (Immediate Past President & Board Member), Viable Shum, Rich Frachey, Ed Jung and Mark Chiang (on the far right)

Chicago China News & Digest (CCND) covered the event and interviewed Ben Lau. The online article can be found here.
Chinese New Year Lantern Festival Video is Online
Thank you to those who joined us on February 26 for the Chinese New Year Lantern Festival hosted by Chinese American Museum DC (CAMDC) and Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO), co-presented by CAMOC. It was the first time CAMOC collaborated with other museum and organization on an event pertaining to Chinese culture. ED Ben Lau shared childhood memories of the Spring Lantern Festival as one of the panelists. If you missed the event or would like to rewatch it, click the button below!
KAYAK Features CAMOC in Chicago Travel Guide

This month, online travel agency KAYAK featured CAMOC as a top travel destination for the city of Chicago. Having reopened our doors this month, we are excited to welcome new visitors into the Museum and to continue to advance the appreciation and preservation of Chinese American history. We are proud to be included alongside Chicago's other wonderful cultural institutions!

| Monthly Spotlight |
Welcome our new Associate Board member: Melissa Kocelko!
Born and raised in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, Melissa earned her Bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and history at the University of Illinois at Chicago. After taking a few years off to work in museums, she moved to Denver to earn her Master’s in anthropology with a concentration in museum and heritage studies.

Melissa is passionate about cultural heritage and views museums as an accessible medium to share history and stories. She is excited to see how the relationship between museums and the communities changes with social distancing and the increased use of digital tools. She recently moved to Florida to work at Everglades National Park but is still an active Associate Board member and is passionate about working with the museum. While not physically around, Melissa is excited to meet members of the community virtually and is always available to talk.

What is your favorite part of the museum?
While I have not physically visited the museum yet, my favorite part has been the variety of online programs. They cover a wide range of topics, are educational, and a great way to meet supporters of the museum.
 
What are you most excited about doing as part of the Associate Board?
I’m most excited to work with like-minded individuals to raise awareness about the museum and most importantly to me, the collections. I’m excited to learn about all of the untold stories of the collections and work to promote these to the public.
Chinatown Museum Foundation Associate Board
Chinatown Museum Foundation, which governs the Chinese American Museum of Chicago, is forming an Associate Board with the purpose of generating new opportunities for the Museum, especially with programming for high school and college students and young professionals. All skill sets will be considered. If interested in serving on the Associate Board to expand the Museum's public programming and fundraising efforts, please email a letter of interest/cover letter with your resume/curriculum vitae to office@ccamuseum.org.

| Upcoming Events |
Straight to the Heart!
Storytelling Workshop/Circle with Ada Cheng
Date: Saturday, April 24, 2021
Time: 1 - 4pm CDT
Location: Virtual Space

Do you want to tell stories to connect with people emotionally and to create intimate communities with others? There are two parts to this workshop/circle. During the first half of the session, we will discuss central tenets of this art form and learn how to craft and tell stories. Participants will share personal stories during the second half of the session. Register for the session with the button below.

Instructor Bio
Ada Cheng is a professor-turned-storyteller, solo performer, and storytelling show producer. She is the producer and the host of five storytelling shows, including Pour One Out, Am I Man Enough?, Talk Stories: An Asian American/Asian Diaspora Storytelling Show, Speaking Truths Series, and This Is America: Truths through My Body. She creates platforms for people to tell difficult and vulnerable stories as well as spaces for people and communities who may not have opportunities otherwise. She currently works as the Education and Outreach Specialist with Women’s Leadership and Resource Center at UIC, providing training on issues related to gender-based violence. Her interests span multiple fields, including academia, storytelling/performance art, and advocacy. Her motto: Make your life the best story you tell.  

For more information visit her website here.

| A Call For Volunteers! |
We are looking for dedicated, reliable, and energetic individuals who would like to experience our historic institution from the inside — as volunteers! We need volunteers for docents, greeters and special events. If you are interested in volunteering for us, please use the button below to visit our related page and download a volunteer form.
CAMOC Together Against COVID-19 Special Collection
An old Chinese saying, 時勢造英雄 (Shíshì zào yīngxióng ), which means a hero is made in the time of misfortune aptly describes how people rally together in the pandemic. During this challenging time we are deeply moved by the proactive steps and incredible acts of generosity and support exhibited by the Chinese Americans. Thousands of individuals and organizations have been raising money, donating personal protective equipment, and providing free meals to those in need, especially to front-line healthcare workers and others. CAMOC is inviting you to help us preserve these heroic moments by sharing the stories to our Together Against Covid-19 Special Collection.

CAMOC started this special collection with the goal of recording the experiences and stories of individuals, families, and organizations during these unprecedented times. The Together Against Covid-19 Collection will include various forms of content, which can be photos, videos, articles, audios, letters, paintings, certificates, or any form you can think of. If you are not sure whether your content fits our collection or you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Please send your story to covid19@ccamuseum.org , with the subject Together Against Covid-19 Collection. And please include your contact information , including full name, organization or community if applicable, email, phone number, and mailing address.
About Us

The mission of the Chinese American Museum of Chicago - Raymond B. & Jean T. Lee Center (CAMOC) is is to advance the appreciation of Chinese American culture through exhibitions, education, and research and to preserve the past, present, and future of Chinese Americans primarily in the Midwest.

The museum building, formerly the Quong Yick Co., is located in Chicago's Chinatown, at 238 West 23rd Street in Chicago. The Museum opened to the public on May 21, 2005. After a devastating fire in September of 2008, the Museum was closed for renovation and reopened in 2010.

CAMOC is governed by the Board of Directors of the Chinatown Museum Foundation (CMF), a 501(C)(3) non-profit corporation located in Chicago, Illinois.