A group of Chinese immigrant workers on the switchback near the summit of the Cascades, in 1886. • Photo from scalar.usc.edu
A group of Chinese immigrant workers on the switchback near the summit of the Cascades, in 1886. • Photo from scalar.usc.edu

The following is an open call to the community from U.S. Representative Judy Chu of California’s 27th District:

I ask you to join me in urging the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee to recognize the Chinese railroad workers by creating a postage stamp in their honor. Postage stamps celebrate the rich history, culture, and diversity of our nation. It is time that the Chinese railroad workers are chosen for a stamp to reflect the diversity of the American experience.

One of our nation’s most celebrated accomplishments is the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. In 1869, the final spike was driven in Promontory Summit, Utah, which connected the two coasts of the United States. This engineering marvel revolutionized our nation’s transportation and trade industries. The world became instantly smaller as the railroad eased our ability to travel, transport goods and open new markets.

An estimated 12,000 Chinese railroad workers were among those laborers who played a critical role in unifying the west and the east. They worked under dangerous and harsh conditions to lay down nearly 2,000 miles of track. But despite these contributions, they received little recognition. In fact, they were not allowed to be in the photographs that were taken on the day the railroad was completed.

In 2012, the Chinese railroad workers were rightfully inducted into the Department of Labor’s Hall of Honor. Now they are recognized along with other labor leaders like Cesar Chavez. While symbolic in nature, these are important gestures because they recognize the often-overlooked fact that Asian Americans have been contributing to the building of this country for over a century. Our story is an essential thread woven into the social fabric of American society.

We must continue to honor and recognize the extraordinary efforts of the Chinese railroad workers. Stand up for them with me:

Sign the petition to tell the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee to create a United States postage stamp in honor of the Chinese immigrant laborers.

Our postage stamps share the stories of our nation’s history. Many historic leaders, cultural icons, and important events have been celebrated with the designation of a stamp. This is why I am pushing to give our heroes of the past the recognition they deserve.

I’m proud to represent Asian American communities in my district and across the country. This includes standing up for our history and contributions to the building of our nation. Today, I need your help and support to ensure that the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee fully considers our request.

Will you join me to ensure the story of one of America’s greatest achievements reflects our nation’s true diversity?

Add your name to urge the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee to commemorate the Chinese immigrant railroad workers on a United States postage stamp.

Congresswoman Judy Chu

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