The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) has launched a crowdfunding campaign, starting today, to raise $50,000 that will go toward developing educational resources and hosting community screenings for THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT, a two-hour documentary film directed by Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu.

The initiative, Who is American? Immigration, Exclusion & The American Dream, will foster public understanding and dialogue about the history and impact of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, a landmark, little-known piece of federal legislation that reshaped American law, foreign policy, and civic life. The Chinese Exclusion Act is the only time in United States history where immigration rules outlawed a group of people based on ethnicity and nationality—essentially banning most immigrants from Asia—from 1882 Act until 1943.

While the ban was more than 60 years, Chinese immigrants fought back and resisted through the American legal system. Thousands of lawsuits were brought forth, including more than 20 cases that ended up in the Supreme Court. “In the process of resisting the discriminatory laws, the Chinese community helped define, in the most positive ways, what American citizenship is, from birthright citizenship to the foundation for desegregation of schools to establishing equal protection under the law,” said CAAM Executive Director Stephen Gong.

CAAM, in partnership with the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University and Steeplechase Films, will plan and implement a national public engagement and educational initiative to be coordinated with the national primetime broadcast premiere of THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT on PBS in May 2017, during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, as part of the acclaimed series American Experience.

The crowdfunding campaign ends on September 15. To find out more on this project and to contribute to CAAM’s campaign, head over to the project’s website.

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