Statue of Liberty

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AAPI Immigrant Experiences

In recognition of Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation joined the Lowe’s Culture, Diversity & Inclusion team to host a panel discussion about the immigration history of this diverse community.

Distinguished experts led a comprehensive presentation that addressed the history and trends of Asia Pacific immigration, how policies and politics influenced the immigrant experience, and the impact on contemporary AAPI communities.

The program concluded with a Q&A engaging attendees from the Asia Pacific BRG and other Lowe’s Associates.

This site provides background information on the event panelists and additional resources for those interested in continuing conversations that aim to dispel stereotypes and break down barriers to create a more united and supportive society.


Alan Kraut

Alan Kraut is Distinguished Professor of History at American University and a Non-Resident Fellow of the Migration Policy Institute. He was an elected fellow of the Society of American Historians and in 2017 received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society.

Alan is a specialist in U.S. immigration and ethnic history, and the history of medicine and public health in the U.S. He is an award-winning author whose works include Ethnic Historians and the Mainstream: Shaping America’s Immigration Storyand Silent Travelers: Germs, Genes, and the Immigrant Menace.

He is a founding member of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation’s History Advisory Committee, which is responsible for the historical interpretation reflected by the exhibitry in the National Museum of Immigration on Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island. Alan has served as committee chair since 2003.

Madeline Hsu

Madeline Hsu is Professor of History and Asian American Studies at UT Austin. She is representativeat-large for the International Society for the Study of Chinese Overseas and immediate past-president of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society.

Madeline is an award-winning author whose works include The Good Immigrants, How the Yellow Peril Became the Model Minority and Asian American History: A Very Short Introduction. She is lead scholar for the project Teach Immigration History, a free, comprehensive curriculum created for high school civics and history teachers, and which is available to everyone.

Madeline was born in Columbia, Missouri, but grew up in Taiwan and Hong Kong between visits with her maternal grandparents in Altheimer, Arkansas.

Ed Tepporn

Ed Tepporn is Executive Director of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation in San Francisco, the primary nonprofit organization working with California State Parks to preserve the buildings and uplift the histories related to this National Historic Landmark.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Ed was with the Asian & Pacific  Islander American Health Forum, where, among his many achievements, Ed developed the Health Rising Leadership Institute. This extensive training program supported Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in becoming stronger leaders and enhancing their ability to use the power of storytelling to connect, influence, and inspire others.

Ed was a Nelson Mandela Scholarship recipient in the M.S.W. program at Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work. He’s received the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Equity and currently serves as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Fellow.

In April of this year, Ed published “It is Time to Include AANHPIs in Museum Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion Efforts” for the American Alliance of Museums.


Jackie Schalk

Jackie Schalk is Director of the American Family Immigration History Center at Ellis Island. She guides Ellis Island visitors and Foundation donors in exploring their immigration story by placing current and future immigration trends and patterns into historical perspective. Jackie specializes in Immigration and Naturalization research, and as a frequent speaker shares her knowledge of family history and genealogy with audiences throughout the world.

Beyond family history research, Jackie’s personal mission is to safeguard oral histories by teaching the public how to collect and preserve stories for future generations. Jackie is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and was elected Shennachie for a clan in Scotland in 2019.



About The Foundation

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. was established in 1982 to raise funds for and oversee the historic restoration and preservation of these national treasures. The Foundation partners with the U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service in what has become one of the most successful public-private partnerships in U.S. history. The organization has raised approximately $800 million – with all project funding coming from the generous contributions of supporters across the country and around the world.

The Foundation’s major initiatives include restoring the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island for their respective centennials; establishing the American Family Immigration History Center, which made millions of arrival records readily available to the public for free; expanding the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration to encompass immigration from the 1500s through to today; and creating the Statue of Liberty Museum, which tells the monument’s history and explores the concept of liberty.

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Additional Resources

Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

From 1910 to 1940, Angel Island was the site of a U.S. Immigration Station that functioned as the West Coast equivalent of Ellis Island. In 1970, the site was slated for demolition because of its deteriorated condition; but the discovery of Chinese poetry that had been carved into the walls of the detention barracks saved it from destruction and led to renewed interest in the Angel Island Immigration Station.

Sparked by the discovery, Bay Area Asian Americans formed the Angel Island Immigration Station Historical Advisory Committee (AIISHAC), which led efforts to restore and preserve the Immigration Station as a state monument. The barracks opened to the public in 1983, and members of AIISHAC created the Immigration Station Foundation to continue preservation and educational efforts for the site, and to increase awareness of the contributions Pacific Coast immigrants make.

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Library of Congress and other partners

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum collaborated to tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success.

Explore the portal for information on exhibits, teaching materials and more.