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May 16: AAAYA Norcal Yale Day of Service at Angel Island

Hello Northern California Asian American alumni:

At our inaugural January meeting, members of the new Northern California chapter of AAAYA suggested being a part of Yale’s Day of Service 2009.  We will work at the Angel Island Immigration Station, cleaning, weeding, and preparing for a poetry reading that will be held the next day.  Volunteers will also get a tour of the recently reopened immigration station, which got some great write-ups recently (see below – select read more… – for links to Angel Island videos, photos, articles).  On a personal note, all four of my grandparents (Grant) went through Angel Island.

Come and join AAAYA’s Northern California chapter as we participate in the Yale Day of Service at the Angel Island Immigration Station.  Located in the middle of San Francisco Bay and regarded as the “Ellis Island of the West,” Angel Island Immigration Station was routinely the first stop for immigrants crossing the Pacific Ocean between 1910 and 1940. It is an important part of California and Asian American history, with incomparable vistas of the Bay.

Here is a link to the signup page.

Family and friends are welcome – kids should be 10 or older unless they’re really good at weeding and cleaning at a younger age.  The $9.99 fee includes food and the ferry ride is covered because we’re volunteers.  We will be adding this to the Yale Day of Service page, but wanted to give you first crack.  There is a limit of 30 people because of the tour and for supervisory reasons.

Date: May 16, 9:45 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Place: Angel Island Ferry, 21 Main St, Tiburon, CA 94920 (for ferry) then a 20 minute walk to Angel Island Immigration Station What: Tour and then work day at AIIS

Follow the link for more details (we put to bring small gardening tools on the signup page, but if you’re willing to carry larger tools like rakes on the ferry and walk, we’re sure they’ll come in handy).

If you get a sold out/full type message at the signup page, please contact Wei-Tai Kwok at (click here to reveal email address) with your name, email, phone number(s) and number of volunteers to get on the waiting list.

If you’d like to be sure you get all future mailings from the NorCal chapter and the national AAAYA, please go to and fill in the form including checking off “Northern California.”

If you have questions, feel free to contact Grant Din ’79 and Wei-Tai Kwok ’85 (AAAYA NorCal – Yale Day of Service 2009 chairs) at (click here to reveal email address)


Angel Island Immigration Station video tour produced by Jane Tyska of Bay Area News Group

Angel Island Immigration Station tour with Don Lee who was detained in 1939 at age 11  (Mark Prado / Marin Independent Journal)

US Immigration History Preserved on Angel Island – AP video story Interview with Harmen Guan in 1997-1998 who was detained in 1938 at age 15  (Eddie Wong / Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation)

Interview with Robertson Yee in 1997-1998 who was detained in 1921 at age 10  (Eddie Wong / Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation)

Interview with Wing Young in 1997-1998 who was detained in 1928 at age 13  (Eddie Wong / Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation)


Angel Island Immigration Station slideshow  16 photos detention barracks, poetry carved on walls, former dock & fog warning bell, detainee suitcase, detainee meal, game room. (Jane Tyska/Staff Bay Area News Group) from “Angel Island Immigration Station”

91 Photos (Marin Independent Journal) from “Angel Island Immigration Station Grand Re-Opening 15 Feb 2009”

8 Photos (Michael Macer / San Francisco Chronicle) from “Bitter memories of Ellis Island of the West”

9 photos  (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times) from “The Walls Still Talk at Angel Island”,0,1662647.photogallery


“A trip into Angel Island’s past” by Matt O’Brien / San Jose Mercury News 3/14/09

“On Angel Island, the walls really talk” by Maria L. La Ganga / Los Angeles Times 2/13/09,0,351864.story

“Angel Island Immigration & Detention Center Re-Opening” by Pam Gould / Marin Independent Journal 2/16/09

“Bitter memories of Ellis Island of the West” by Carl Nolte / San Francisco Chronicle  12/10/08

For more information about the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, additional restoration phases & how to donate time and resources go to

More information about Angel Island Poetry including major influences & themes such as alienation, immigration, labor, and race in America

Oral history project on Chinese detainees at Angel Island by Lydia Lum


Interested in joining AAAYA? There is no membership fee, register now at


Interested in helping out on AAAYA NorCal committees?  Please contact Wayne Lew (AAAYA NorCal Volunteers Chair) at (click here to reveal email address) and let Wayne know your interests, how you would like to become more involved and your contact info.


May 16th – AAAYA NorCal Yale Day of Service 2009 at Angel Island.  Sign up at

Summer – AAAYA NorCal summer event

Fall – AAAYA NorCal fall event

Holiday – AAAYA NorCal holiday event


The Association of Asian American Yale Alumni (AAAYA) is a volunteer-run, membership based organization that provides a vehicle for Yale University alumni to promote the civic participation, leadership and service of Asian Americans and Asians at Yale and in the broader society.

It pursues its mission by developing programs on campus and in communities in need through the following types of activities:

*  Support diversity and equal opportunity at Yale University *  Strengthen student-alumni programs such as student externships and Life-after-Yale *  Strengthen the leadership role and contributions of Asian American students and alumni at Yale and in society *  Advocate for and support Asian American studies at Yale *  Support student programs such as fellowships, internships, scholarships, prizes & volunteer opportunities *  Support the Yale Asian American Cultural Center and its programs and initiatives *  Support Asian American and other underserved communities through funded internships & other programs *  Help further Yale’s mission and place in the world *  Convene gatherings and conferences addressing issues of interest and concern to Alumni of Asian descent *  Strengthen ties with other Yale alumni groups, faculty and outstanding Asian American Yale alumni

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