Making right with the Chinese in Truckee
For most of us, it’s easy to look at our forefathers and be proud for the good things that they have done.
Most Americans look with pride at past presidents like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. We are often proud of our families, our heritage and other things from our past that are meaningful to us. However, it is the flip side of the coin that is harder for us to handle. What should we do if people from our past did things that were not so good?
As a 15-year resident of Truckee, I am very proud to be a part of this community and of Truckee and its history. However, there are parts of Truckee’s history that are not so good. From about 1876 through 1889, the Chinese immigrants who had helped build the railroad with the promise that they could stay in Truckee were no longer welcome.
Work was hard to find for white people and the Chinese community was prospering, building businesses and buying land. This social climate made for a volatile mix, and the Chinese became the brunt of racial prejudice, violence and killing.
In fact, Truckee became so good at persecuting the Chinese that we were well known for this around the state of California. The Truckee way of running the Chinese out of town was referred to throughout the state as “The Truckee Method.”
Recently, following the lead of the State of Virginia, the State of Maryland approved an apology by state lawmakers expressing “profound regret” that it once “trafficked in human flesh.” The state of Georgia and Missouri are in the news as they consider similar legislation.
In 1993 President Bill Clinton signed a resolution apologizing to Native Hawaiians for the overthrow of the kingdom of Hawaii in 1893 by U.S. naval forces representing sugar planters and financiers.
In Germany, not only have leaders apologized for the Holocaust but students are required to take courses in the Holocaust. It’s also paid out at least $50 billion in reparations to Israel and concentration camp survivors.
In 1988 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill apologizing for the United States putting Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II and giving each survivor a check for $20,000.
This week River Rock Christian Fellowship has invited 12 leaders from China, the Truckee Town Council, members of other churches in the area, and the citizens of Truckee to come together and to repent for the way Truckee treated its Chinese citizens, to ask forgiveness and to seek reconciliation.
At River Rock we are proud to be a part of all the good things about Truckee, and want to make right the things that are not so good so that we can all go forward in peace and harmony. The public is invited to this meeting in the Town of Truckee Council Chambers at 7 p.m. Tuesday. If you have questions, you can log on to http://www.rrcf.net, or call me at 320-4993.
Eric Moen is the pastor at River Rock Christian Fellowship.