Chinese Americans will be awarded Ellis Island medals
Updated: 2014-03-17 11:13
By Amy He in New York (China Daily USA)
Nine Chinese Americans will be awarded the 2014 Ellis Island Medal of Honor for contributions to diversification in their communities across the United States.
The medals will be officially awarded by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) on May 10 at the Great Hall on Ellis Island, which is located in the Hudson River off of the New York City Harbor.
Seven of the nine recipients are from New York; one is from New Jersey and one is from California. Five of the nine made their appearance at a pre-event luncheon hosted by the Strategic Alliance of Asian-American Non-Profit Organizations on Thursday in Queens, New York.
They are Gary Sze Kong, Steven W. Wong, Diana Xing Wu Gao and David P.J. Hung, all from New York, and Charles Ta-Peng Chang from New Jersey. The rest four Chinese Americans are Edwin Chang, Yuesai Kan, Kin Lam, all from New York, and Charles Zhang from California.
"We recognize individuals who have made it their mission to share with those less fortunate their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion, unique talents, and selfless generosity; all while maintaining the traditions of their ethnic heritage as they uphold the ideals and spirit of America," NECO said in a statement.
In addition to the nine Chinese Americans, medals will be given to two Korean Americans, one Vietnamese American and one Japanese American.
"I draw inspiration from the dedication and passions of our medalists; it is an honor to be celebrating their wonderful work on behalf of America," said NECO Chairman Nasser J. Kazeminy in the statement.
The medal has been given to 100 recipients annually since its inception in 1986. Past honorees include presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Muhammad Ali, Rosa Parks and Elie Wiesel.
Americans of all ethnic backgrounds, whether natural born or naturalized, are eligible for the award. Recipients are chosen from a pool of nominees, who are nominated by previous medal recipients, friends of NECO and the public. The nominees are vetted by NECO, and reviewed by ethnic advisory committees that make the final selections, according to Otto Coca, NECO's communications director.
From 1892 to 1954 Ellis Island was the gateway to the US for millions of immigrant who stopped there to be checked for diseases or a status that would disqualify them from entering the country. The island was made part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965, and has hosted a museum of immigration since 1990.
Nine Chinese Americans will be awarded the 2014 Ellis Island Medal of Honor for contributions to diversification in their communities across the US in May. Five of them are featured in the photo taken at a pre-event luncheon in New York. From right: Charles Ta-Peng Chang, Diana Xing Wu Gao , David P.J. Hung, Gary Sze Kong and Steven W. Wong. Gong Wenmo / for China Daily
(China Daily USA 03/17/2014 page1)