By Fred Yee
Special to the Northwest Asian Weekly
Four board members of the Chinese American Citizen Alliance (CACA) Seattle Lodge joined 25 others from CACA lodges around the country for a 5-day whirlwind visit to Washington, D.C.
The purpose of the trip, which began May 1, was to visit congressional members or their staff to advocate for issues that are core national priorities for CACA. The Seattle delegates included Ming-Ming Tung-Edelman, Bettie Luke, Cathy Lee, and Fred Yee.
Tung-Edelman, Seattle Lodge President, said this trip also gave CACA members a chance to personally experience the legislative process of our federal government. Over half of the 28 delegates were first-timers on the trip.
The two top issues the delegates discussed with congressional staffers were birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment and HB 2817, which seeks the extension of the Historical Preservation Fund (HPF) to October 2025. The funding authority of HPF expired in October 2015. Both issues are of much significance to Chinese Americans, in terms of identity, citizenship, immigration history, and experience.
During the D.C. trip, team members also attended the 1882 Symposium, the 2016 Military Lunch, and the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) Gala at which President Obama was the keynote speaker. The trip also included a visit with Mr. Martin Gold, author of the book “Forbidden Citizens: Chinese Exclusion and the U.S. Congress, A Legislative History,” a tour of the White House, and a pre-screening reception of the documentary 1882, which will be aired by PBS in June 2017. Rounding up the itinerary was a visit to the Department of Labor Hall of Honor, which includes the Chinese Railroad Workers and a briefing of the White House Initiative on Asian Pacific Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAPPI) at the Executive Building.