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Archives attends Asian American and Pacific Islanders conference

By May 18, 2015Archives, Community
Delta State University Archivist Emily Jones (right) recently joined Cindi Quong Lofton of the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum and the MS Lodge of the Chinese American Citizens, at the 1882 Symposium and White House Initiative for Asian American and Pacific Islanders in Washington, D.C.

A Delta delegation traveled to Washington, D.C. from May 11-13 to participate in the 1882 Symposium and attend the White House Initiative for Asian American and Pacific Islanders.

Attending on behalf of the MS Delta Chinese Heritage Museum board were Gilroy and Sally Chow of Clarksdale, while Cindi Quong Lofton of Shaw represented not only the MDCHM but also the MS Lodge of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance. Lofton currently serves as the alliance’s president.

Emily Jones, archivist for Delta State University, represented the MDCHM.

The symposium’s sessions examined the 1882 Exclusion Act and was hosted at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

“As we approach the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Immigration & Nationality Act —the Hart-Celler Act — which abolished the national origins quota system that had structured American immigration policy since the 1920s, reinforcing the original theme and intention of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Acts, the focus of the sessions were devoted to ways we can educate our communities on the struggle and triumphs to achieve American civil rights and encourage collaborative activities between our diverse organizations across the United States,” said Jones.

In 2012, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives separately passed unanimous resolutions condemning the Chinese exclusion laws, expressing regrets and reaffirming Congress’s responsibility to protect the civil rights of all people in the United States. This year’s 1882 Symposium is the third held since the successful passage of both bills.

The schedule also featured the first-ever summit White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is recognized each May.

Nearly 2,000 community members, federal officials and guests from over 40 states and the Pacific Islands came together to share their experiences and stories, and gain tools to mobilize their communities and expand opportunities.

Six cabinet secretaries and multiple federal agency leaders joined the summit and highlighted their work benefiting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

“The summit and AAPI Heritage Month both illustrate the significance and accomplishments of the AAPI community, but also stress the importance of continuing to work towards improving the quality of life and opportunities for AAPIs and all Americans,” added Jones. “The MS Delta Chinese Heritage Museum was proud to be a part of these two significant programs and to bring back our experiences to better serve our region in developing and promoting our MS Delta Chinese history.”

The MS Delta Chinese Heritage Museum is located on the third floor of the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives & Museum on the campus of Delta State. The museum is open to the public Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. For special tours contact University Archives at 662-846-4780. Learn more at