Humboldt Asians and Pacific Islanders In Solidarity (HAPI), a local non-profit, is calling on the public’s help in fundraising for the Eureka Chinatown Monument, which symbolizes the history of Chinese Americans in Eureka, California, and their mass expulsion in 1885.
Chinese Expulsion of 1885: In the 1880s, Eureka's Chinatown was a vibrant hub of Chinese life in Humboldt County. However, rising racism and the accidental death of a councilmember in 1885 led to the mass expulsion of the Chinese community. On Feb. 5, 1885, the Humboldt Times-Telephone called for the removal of Chinatown's inhabitants “by any means necessary.” The Chinese faced expulsion, loss of homes, businesses and belongings, with a subsequent lawsuit dismissed in 1889.
In the years that followed, most Chinese residents left or went into hiding before facing a second expulsion in 1906. It wasn't until after World War II and legislative changes that Chinese Americans began returning to Humboldt County.
About the Eureka Chinatown Project: HAPI, along with the City of Eureka and supporters of the Eureka Chinatown Project (ECP), aim to restore lost culture and history by constructing the monument on First and E Streets, near the original Eureka’s Chinatown location.
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The monument features a river timeline symbolizing the Chinese and Asian population in Eureka and a moon gate arch as a tribute to Charlie Moon, a key figure in local Chinese American history. HAPI, which has already secured approximately 60% of the required funds, anticipates breaking ground on the project in the summer or fall of 2024.
“The Eureka Chinatown Project seeks to raise awareness about anti-Chinese discrimination and the diverse ways that Chinese Americans resisted racism and built community,” HAPI wrote on their website. “By uncovering our history of resistance and resilience, we hope to restore the history of the first Chinese Americans in Humboldt county, to tell the truth of their history and to further our journey towards a more inclusive and equitable future.”
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Ways to donate: The Ink People, a nonprofit corporation, has set up a GoFundMe fundraiser for the ECP with the goal of raising $20,000. They have received more than $6,000 in donations, as of this writing. For other ways to donate, please visit the Ink People website.
“This monument exemplifies how past actions can be acknowledged and reframed with present day grace, compassion, and beauty in the form of public art, education, and poetry,” Ink People wrote. “We seek to give a voice to those silenced and erased by expulsion and tell their story.”
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