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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

趙小蘭投書 呼籲美國歷史寫入華裔鐵路工人貢獻


美國交通部長趙小蘭投書
鐵路華工協助建立美國為歷史的傳奇

美國交通部長趙小蘭投書”Washington Examiner”,讚揚華裔工人在協助建造橫貫美國鐵路上的歷史成就,呼籲各界讓他們成為美國民間歷史的一部分。



美國交通部長趙小蘭

生活中很少有機會讓我們為史書添加正面敘述但最近有這樣一個機會,我在纪念150週年慶典中,表彰了12000多名華裔工人,他們在建造第一條横贯美国大陸的鐵路中發揮了關鍵作用

這些人在建造中央太平洋鐵路時佔了80%的勞動力經歷了無情、嚴酷又危險的條件建造了我國歷史上最偉大的基礎設施之一用最原始的工具挖掘及穿鑿內華達山脈,他們中許多人因而喪生但他們的犧牲不僅沒有獲得感謝反而通過了州及聯邦的法律,禁止男性及女性華人成為美國公民或移民到美國

從那之後的150年發生了很多變化。排華法案已被廢除,我們的國家已經向前發展,成為今天多元化的國家。但一個半世紀以來,華裔社區一直耐心等待華工在橫貫大陸鐵路的貢獻得到充分認可與尊重。

2019510適當的表彰終於來到這提醒著人們當我們國家變得更多元化時就極為渴望讓所有幫助美國偉大的族群的成就,獲得承認與表彰

亞太裔美國人社區是全國成長最快的社區之一,我越來越多聽到這樣一種情緒,在短短50年間亞太裔已從全國人口的1%增長到將近7%他們為自己重視強大的家庭教育及勤奮工作而感到自豪亞太裔對我們國家的成長壯大有很大貢獻看看亞太裔的失業率驚人低的僅2.2%許多亞太裔對總統內閣中有人看起來像他們並可分享他們的經歷感到非常欣慰

儘管如此,亞太裔美國人仍然感到不安在金釘慶典上我從亞太裔那兒聽到他們覺得長久以來,他們先祖的貢獻被貶低成為歷史的一個註流行文化並不總是能夠分辨華裔美國人(那些在美國出生或自由選擇成為美國公民的人)和中國公民其他亞裔對旨在限制他們子女獲得一流教育機會的配額制度感到越來越沮喪對於經歷過許多歷史障礙才成為有完全資格美國人的社區而言這些發展有著與過去太似曾相識的環節。

這屆政府領導成立了白宮亞太裔事務辦公室(我是共同主席),幫助提升亞裔美國人及太平洋群島族裔的經濟賦權。此外,還頒布了一項行政命令,確認進入高等教育必須注重績優,而不是貶抑那些作出犧牲自我投資且學術表現卓越的人這些行動呼應了亞太裔社區的深切期許

但總還是有更多的事情可以做認可橫貫大陸鐵路華工的開創性貢獻,是一個更具包容性歷史的良好開端。我希望他們的了不起成就將成為美國民間傳的一部分讓每個學童每個美國人都知道以表彰使我們國家偉大,有著多種豐富而美麗膚色的人

美國交通部部長趙小蘭

以下為投書原文:


It’s rare that life hands us the opportunity to add a positive narrative to the history books. But there was just such an opportunity recently, when I was given a platform at the 150th Anniversary of the Golden Spike to honor the 12,000 or more workers of Chinese ancestry who played a key role in building the first transcontinental railroad. These men, nearly 80% of the workforce of the Central Pacific Railroad, endured merciless, harsh, and dangerous conditions to build one of the greatest pieces of infrastructure in our country’s history. Digging and tunneling through the Sierra Nevada mountains with rudimentary tools, many lost their lives. But instead of gratitude for their sacrifice, state and federal laws were passed preventing men and women of Chinese ancestry from becoming American citizens or immigrating to the U.S.

So much has changed in the 150 years since. The Chinese exclusion laws have been repealed and our country has moved forward, becoming the diverse nation it is today. But for more than a century and a half, the Chinese American community has waited patiently for the contributions of the Chinese transcontinental railroad workers to be fully acknowledged and honored.

On May 10, 2019, proper recognition finally came. It was a reminder that as our country becomes more diverse, there is a tremendous hunger out there for the achievements of all the groups who helped make America great to be recognized and celebrated.

That’s a sentiment I hear more and more from the Asian Pacific American community, which is one of the fastest growing in this country. In just 50 years, Asian Pacific Americans have gone from approximately 1% to nearly 7% of our country’s population. They take pride in the fact that, with their emphasis on strong families, education, and hard work, Asian Pacific Americans are contributing much to the growth and strength of our country. Just look at the unemployment rate for Asian Pacific Americans: an astonishingly low 2.2%. Many Asian Pacific Americans find great comfort that someone in the president’s Cabinet looks like them and shares their journey.

Yet for all their success, Asian Pacific Americans can still feel uncomfortable. At the Golden Spike ceremonies, I heard from Asian Americans who felt that for too long their ancestors’ contributions have been relegated to a mere footnote in history. Popular culture does not always make the distinction between Chinese Americans (who were either born here or made the free choice to become American citizens) and Chinese nationals. Other Asian Americans are increasingly dismayed at quota systems designed to limit their children’s access to a first-class education. To a community that has experienced so many historical obstacles to becoming full-fledged Americans, these developments have the all-too-familiar ring of the past.

This administration is leading by establishing a special initiative, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (of which I am co-chair) to help advance the economic empowerment of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. An executive order has also been issued affirming the principle that access to higher education must respect merit, and not diminish those who have sacrificed, invested in themselves, and achieved academic excellence. These actions address deep aspirations within the Asian Pacific American community.


But there is always more that can be done. Recognizing the seminal contribution of the Chinese transcontinental railroad workers is a good start to a more inclusive history. My hope is that their astounding achievement will become part of American folklore, known to every schoolchild and every American, in recognition of the vast and wonderful coat of many colors that makes our nation great.

Elaine Chao is secretary of transportation

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