Ties That Bind: A Transnational Family from China to the United States


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The Asian/Asian American Studies Program, in conjunction with the History Department, presented an exhibit about the extraordinary family of John Chen, a Cal State LA alumnus. Entitled “Ties That Bind: A Transnational Family from China to the U.S.,”the exhibit detailed the journey of the Chen and Li families: their conversion to the Seventh Day Adventist faith in China, their migration to America, and their contributions to American society as “stranded scholars” in the twentieth century. This story began with the end of the The First Opium War in 1842 into contemporary times in the United States. Their migration illustrated the importance of identity, its connection to the past, and its roots across the Pacific in contemporary Asian America. The exhibit told a story of resilience, reflecting the experiences of many Chinese American families in the early part of the twentieth century.