Angel Island Insight #9: Mr. T and The Poet’s Tree

Tyson and Genny, together under the Elk Antler Arch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Our friend Tyson really enjoys plants and being outside in nature. He wanted to have the experience of planting and caring for a real tree, in conjunction with a special book project that he is working on with his grandmother. They are collaborating to write story of hope and compassion that involves the history of immigration to the United States through Angel Island.

Tyson and his Paw Paw are excited to collaborate on this story of love, gratitude, and healing that bridges generations, with help from the natural world. Thanks to a project mini-grant from Roots and Shoots USA, we were able to purchase a cherry tree, soil and planter, and give Tyson some money to buy art supplies that he needs to create the illustrations for his storybook.

In Genny and Tyson’s story, The Bird from Heaven, a boy cares for a bird named Tien-si.

Through this project, we certainly learned a lot more about cherry trees! Andi’s cousin Todd, who is also an Angel Island descendant, absorbed a lot of knowledge about planting vegetables and fruit trees, passed on from his grandparents who tended their home gardens. Todd shared some very important advice with us about cherry trees— we would certainly need to purchase a second tree, if we wanted fruit in the future, because most sweet cherry trees do not self-pollinate without the help of honeybees. Jan suggested that we go to Green Acres in Elk Grove to look for some nice trees. Since we knew that Tyson would like to enjoy cherries with his friends, we purchased two trees – one cherry tree is a Bing; the other is a Lapin. Tracy, who works at Green Acres, offered Tyson some great tips on how to plant and care for his new cherry trees.

We hope that Tracy’s advice can help others who might like to plant a cherry tree!
Tyson’s new trees, Bing & Lapin, fresh art created with brand new ParKoo markers.

Good for All: Roots & Shoots Celebration 2023

When Dr. Jane Goodall came to the Oakland Zoo for the Good for All Roots & Shoots Celebration on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, there was time after her remarks for a Q & A session hosted by April Z, a freshman at UC Berkeley. We recorded the response to our question, “Do you have a favorite myth or story that you heard as a child, that you would like to share with future generations?” Of course, Dr. Jane wanted to share what she learned from animals, saying of her dog Rusty, “I think he was sent to teach me” because Rusty didn’t actually belong to her family, but lived in a hotel around the corner. “Out of nowhere comes… the most amazing intelligent dog that I’ve ever known.” The young protagonist in Tyson & Genny’s story finds an injured golden finch, which the boy names “Tien-si,” which means “Angel” in Chinese. The boy and the bird become friends on Angel Island.

Dr. Jane also answered a wonderful question from the 5th graders and their teacher Carol at San Dominico School asked “What student activism has made an impact on you? What story has stayed in your mind and your heart?” She responded with a moving story, about planting trees for the future, involving the first group of Roots and Shoots started in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Good for All: Roots & Shoots Celebration Q & A with Dr. Jane Goodall and April Z.

National Angel Island Day 2023 at the de Young Museum

In the coming weeks, Tyson will be picking out a few of his illustrations to share in a special pop-up exhibiton created for National Angel Island Day at the de Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. In 2010, former president Barack Obama proclaimed January 21 as National Angel Island Day, calling upon the people of the United States to “learn more about the history of Angel Island and to observe this anniversary with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

On January 21, 2023, the de Young Museum, Angel Island Immigration Station and UC Berkeley’s Future Histories Lab present a special free Saturday program, “Echoes from Angel Island” with The Last Hoisan Poets & Del Sol Quartet, dedicated to the ancestors and descendants of Angel Island immigrants. We invite the public to join us to learn more about Angel Island history through poetry, music and art, including Tyson’s illustrations for “The Bird from Heaven,” a story written by his grandmother, poet Genny Lim.

For the 2023 National Angel Island Day program, Genny will read her poem, The Journey, which closed Del Sol Quartet & The Last Hoisan Poets virtual presentation of Angel Island Insight for APICC’s United States of Asian America Festival 2021.

“The Journey” was originally written and performed as the concluding poem for Lenora Lee Dance’s Within These Walls, an integrated, multi-media contemporary dance project performed at the Angel Island Island Immigration Station in 2017.

Within These Walls, choreographed by Lenora Lee Dance, performed by the Berkeley Dance Project, directed by SanSan Kwan, will be presented at the Zellerbach Playhouse from February 23-26, 2023, in conjunction with UC Berkeley’s Arts + Design Initiative and Future Histories Lab’s project, A Year on Angel Island,

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit http://www.calhum.org

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

ANGEL ISLAND: IN SIGHT 2021 at the Angel Island Immigration Station is made possible with support from North East Medical Services (NEMS). https://www.nems.org/

600 Books of Hope: Compassion Through Story

Mendell Morgan, the public library director, thought about closing on Wednesday, out of respect for those who’d lost their children. Ultimately he decided to keep the library open. He wanted to show his community what, in his view, a library really is. 

“A refuge. A safe place. An escape.”

Martha Carreon, a children’s librarian at El Progreso Memorial Library in Uvalde, Texas, on Wednesday. Photo: Liz Moskowitz for NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/uvalde-texas-shooting-library-storytime-rcna30512

Every Wednesday at El Progreso Memorial Library in Uvalde, the children’s librarian, Mrs. Martha Carreon usually does story time for young children, but she didn’t know if she could do it that day. “I felt like it was going to be too much to look at those little faces. I didn’t think I would be able to bear it.”

About 24 hours later, Carreon stood in front of a group of 10 smiling faces, struggling not to cry as the children giggled and sang along with her.

600 Books of Hope for The Children of Uvalde

Carreon’s wish to create a safe space for children and community after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, inspired @pinatadirector, children’s book author e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, founder of the nonprofit Never Counted Out, to organize a book drive called 600 Books of Hope.

“600 Books of Hope is an opportunity for us as a community of artists and writers, along with the companies that publish us, to embrace the children of Robb Elementary School. My goal is to collect a minimum of 600 books of hope which would ensure that every child there would receive one book. One tangible thing they can take with them that might shine a ray of promise in their unbearable darkness. My ideal goal is to collect an additional 1,300 books to gift to the town’s remaining K-6 schools: Anton Elementary, Benson Elementary, Dalton Elementary, and Sacred Heart, knowing they too suffer the consequences. This would allow for every grade school kid in Uvalde to have at least one book, one token of hope to grab onto.”

We sent a note to e.E. to find out how to best participate and received this email in response.

Thank you for reaching out. I am so grateful to our community of librarians, authors, illustrators, and publishers who are showing up for the kids of Uvalde. People across America, Canada, and elsewhere have messaged, making this goal achievable. It’s truly a beautiful thing…

… In a time where we can feel powerless and overwhelmed, we as a community are shining the light of what we do into the hearts of those we create for. By doing that, we are giving these children a safe place to be held. To feel seen. To feel hope. I am so grateful to you for that.

e.E. Charlton-Trujillo
Author . Filmmaker . Literacy Activist

If you would like to sponsor a book to send to the children of Uvalde, please join #600Books.

Learn more at bit.ly/3LSws2f

You can also contact andi@artsed4all.blog before June 12th to arrange for an order through the ArtsEd4All Bookshop.

A note: We added four special book titles to “Fill the World with Hope,” the Bookshop list that we created for the 2022 Blake Mini Library Book Drive — El Niño, El Topo, El Zorro Y El Caballo, El Lórax, and Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide and e.E’s new book, Lupe Lopez: Rock Star Rules, which comes out on June 28th.

“Generations of Power” United States of Asian America Festival 2022 Performing Arts Showcase

The Asian-Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC) proudly presents GENERATIONS OF POWER, a multi-disciplinary showcase featuring The Last Hoisan Poets & Del Sol Quartet (spoken word with live instrumentation), Autonomous Region (jazz fusion), First Voice (story theater), Asian American Dance Performances (contemporary dance), Leela Youth Dance Company (classical North Indian dance), and tashi tamate weiss (movement/ritual).

This FREE, ALL-AGES, OUTDOOR event is part of the 25th annual United States of Asian America Festival (USAAF): Generations of Power. We are proud to host this event at the historic Japantown Peace Plaza as a visual symbol of community resilience and resistance during this period of increased Anti-Asian sentiment.

In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union

Each year on Martin Luther King Day of Service, ArtsEd4All officially launches the Blake Mini Library Book Drive. Founded in December 2013 by then six-year old Blake Ansari in New York City, Blake Mini Library supports the reading, writing and science literacy of children ages birth to 21 living in homes for runaways, homeless shelters and foster care. Here on the West Coast in San Francisco, we’ve shared our love of books and reading with the children and families at the Hamilton Families shelter in the Tenderloin since 2016.

In 2022, we are pleased to kick off the 7th Annual Blake Mini Library Book Drive with a special online film screening of OBAMA: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union. This three-part documentary chronicling the personal and political journey of President Barack Obama is available to registered viewers via View on Demand. Please RSVP on Eventbrite to receive a link and password enabling FREE unlimited access to our virtual screening room from Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service through Presidents’ Day — Monday, January 17, 2022 at 12 noon PST to Tuesday, February 22, 2022, 12 noon PST.

The New 3Rs

It is especially exciting to present this film in partnership with The New 3Rs, an educational program that uses stories of social justice to dismantle racism. The New 3Rs educates and empowers through the art of social justice storytelling, building relationships, and fostering a sense of responsibility. By offering programs and resources, the organization educates and empowers children, parents, educators, and workplace leaders through a lens of racial justice and racial awareness.

“The New 3RS is a diverse group. We listen to each other’s stories. We talk about the great things Black people gave the world and racial topics that usually are not taught in school. The New 3Rs gives me hope and strength. And for that, I am grateful!”

— Donovan, age 13

Learn more about The New 3Rs at https://thenew3rs.org/

Students of The New 3Rs, including Blake Mini Library founder Blake Ansari, plan to participate by viewing the film. The students will select a racial inequity issue from The New 3Rs curriculum and envision how they or their nation can become a more perfect union in areas such as education, health, environment, and other topics of concern? The New 3Rs will create A More Perfect Union Anthology that will share student essays and art which they will send to Congressional Black Caucus and President Biden in late spring.

Download The New 3Rs 2019-2020 Student Anthology HERE.

Take Action: My School Votes!

When We All Vote is a leading national, nonpartisan initiative on a mission to change the culture around voting and to increase participation in each and every election by helping to close the race and age gap. Created by Michelle Obama, When We All Vote brings together individuals, institutions, brands, and organizations to register new voters across the country and advance civic education for the entire family and voters of every age to build an informed and engaged electorate for today and generations to come. https://whenweallvote.org/

My School Votes is an action-oriented civics program where students learn by doing, to build student leadership, advocate for local issues, create exceptional voter registration campaigns, and together, launch young people into cycles of life-long civic engagement.

Geared towards children in Kindergarten through 5th, Parent Read Alouds feature Michelle Obama, WWAV co-chairs, and parents from around the country reading civics themed children’s literature paired with tangible learning opportunities for parents to engage in with their children.

“Change only happens when ordinary people get involved” – @BarackObama.

Find resources and tools here: bit.ly/ObamaSeriesTakeAction


ArtsEd4All invites young artists to design a one-word poster reminding grown ups of the importance of voting. The poster criteria: The one word, VOTE, should be big, clear and visible. The rest, images & media, size is up to you. Parents can share photos of poster art (no faces, hands only please) and credit the artists with first name & last initial, age & city of residence.


Fill Yourself with Hope

President Obama and daughter Malia and Sasha watch Michelle Obama deliver her speech to the Democratic National Convention from the White House Treaty Room, September 4, 2012 (Courtesy Barack Obama Presidential Library)

Each year, former President Barack Obama releases a list of favorite books, music and films, and we enjoy doing the same! We hope that you will enjoy our recommended reading list compiled for this year’s 2022 Blake Mini Library book drive.

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you.  If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” 

― Barack Obama

USAAF 2021: Angel Island Insight

Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs examining the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and Del Sol Quartet.

These presentations expand public engagement with composer Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings. World premiere performance with Del Sol Quartet and Volti, directed by Robert Geary on October 22 2021, 8pm at the Presidio Theatre in San Francisco, with performances on Angel Island on Saturday, October 23, 2021, pending safety restrictions.

“As an Asian American artist, this opportunity to showcase a history that has both a direct connection to my ethnicity as well as a global connection is incredibly empowering.”

– Charlton Lee, Del Sol’s founder & Artistic Director

Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center’s United States of Asian American Festival 2021 presents ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT with The Last Hoisan Poets & Del Sol Quartet

The Last Hoisan Poets & Del Sol Quartet

In a journey that flows from anger and sorrow, using gratitude as a way to find joy, this Zoom program weaves together their poetry with performances by the Del Sol Quartet, music by Asian-American composers Kui Dong, Theresa Wong, Jungyoon Wie, Huang Ruo, and a collaborative composition performed by The Last Hoisan Poets with the Del Sol Quartet. Artist Q&A moderated by Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation’s executive director Edward Tepporn.

Online program held via Zoom on Saturday, May 22, 2021, 2pm.

Three descendants of Angel Island immigrants, The Last Hoisan Poets – Genny Lim, Flo Oy Wong and Nellie Wong – use poetry to speak their individual truths and creatively reclaim the Hoisan-wa language and culture, with performances by the Del Sol Quartet, music by Asian-American composers.

Recording of 5/22/21 APIIC USAAF presents: ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT with The Last Hoisan Poets and Del Sol Quartet

APICC USAAF 2021 Digital Program

Haw Meong Suey (Good Life’s Water)

This collaborative poem written by poets Nellie Wong, Flo Oy Wong, and Genny Lim, was performed with accompaniment by the Del Sol Quartet on Saturday May 22, 2021 for the United States of Asian America Festival 2021, presented by the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center. “Haw meong suey” is a Hoisan-wa phrase that translates as “good life’s water.” A person who has “haw meong suey” is a vessel of blessings.

For more information, please visit https://www.delsolquartet.com/angelislandinsight


This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org

The Peach Tree

On Tuesday morning, artist/poet/educator Flo Oy Wong shared her photo of these gorgeous peaches ripening on a tree in school garden near her home. Sweet Dawn, Flo’s neighborhood walking partner, wanted to bring her friends to enjoy the vibrant school garden, home of milkweed plants and more.

“From my morning exploration at the school garden behind my house. The insects – wasps, bees, ladybugs, Monarchs (big ones) – were plentiful.”

insects
pollinate now
wasps lady bug bees buzz
on sunflowers milkweed grapevines
near by

FLO OY WONG
July 28, 2021

Two days later on Thursday morning, Flo and her neighborhood walking partners, Wonderful Wendy and Sweet Dawn were so sad. They discovered that the peach tree had been cut down. Flo wrote a poem, Robust Peaches 2, about the giving volunteer tree — now a memory shared by friends.

Flo Oy Wong reads her poem, “Robust Peaches 2”
Robust Peaches 2
Robust peaches, 
kissed by the sun,  
grow by a low concrete 
wall at the neighborhood 
school.

Robust peaches.

The peach tree’s inviting 
palette, a deep reddish hue 
with gold undertones, glow 
under azure sky.
Abundance of fruit weighs
heavily on limbs limping 
towards ground, enchanting
walkers who pass by. 

Robust peaches.

One day, workers tear down
the peach tree, a volunteer one.
No one planted it.
It just grew.
Soon, when children return,
masked or double-masked,
to start the new school year,
the peach tree, pregnant with
bounty, will no longer be there.

Robust peaches.

FLO OY WONG
July 29, 2021

Unidentified Artist An Immortal on a Cloud with a Pair of Peaches, 20th century China, Qing dynasty (1644–1911) Leaf from an album; ink on paper; H. 9 11/16 in. (24.6 cm); W. 12 in. (30.5 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Fritzi and Murray Sanders, 1984 (1984.492.1) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/51866

THE PEACH (Prunus persica, Rosaceae) is a deciduous tree native to the region of Northwest China between the Tarim Basin and the north slopes of the Kunlun Mountains, where it was first domesticated and cultivated. It bears edible juicy fruits with various characteristics, most called peaches and others, nectarines.

The peach tree is widely thought to have origins in China, but its evolutionary history is largely unknown. The oldest evidence for the peach has been Chinese archaeological records dating to 8000–7000 BP.

Various American Indian tribes are credited with migrating the peach tree across the United States, taking seeds along with them and planting as they roved the country. Today, California produces 65 percent of the total US crop of peaches.

Peaches are not only a popular fruit, but also are symbolic in many cultural traditions, such as in art, paintings, and folk tales such as Peaches of Immortality.

The Peach Blossom Spring is a fable written by Chinese poet Tao Yuanming (365-427) in 421 CE about “the chance discovery of an ethereal utopia where people lead an ideal existence in harmony with nature, unaware of the outside world for centuries.” 

This stunning video is generated by a model which simulates complex interactions within the tree, including growth, carbon partitioning among organs and responses to environmental, management and genetic factors. The model presented here is of a peach tree but is not calibrated to a specific tree.  Developed by Mitch Allen, P. Prusinkiewicz and T. DeJong in partnership with The Virtual Tree. From the UC DAVIS Fruit & Nut Research & Information Center.

WikiHow: How to Start a Peach Tree from a Pit / How to Plant a Peach Tree

Peach (Prunus persica)

The Heirloom Project with Roots and Shoots was created by ArtsEd4All to encourage the harvesting and sharing of free seeds with friends. The project shares stories and free resources about seed saving, planting and other small acts of kindness that can be taken to help pollinators, people and the environment.

Angel Island Insight: Sound Waves

A Map of Poetry and Music: Sound Waves from Angel Island to the Shore


Angel Island Immigration Station

“Angel Island Poem” sung by HUANG RUO

Chrissy Field Outlook

“Nine Poems for Angel Island” DEL SOL QUARTET

Mountain Lake

“Searching for Grub” by FLO OY WONG

Internet Archive

頭本太真外傳·頭段 (1925) by 梅蘭芳 MEI LANFANG

Clement Street

“Ode to Richmond District” by NORMA RODRIGUEZ

San Francisco Botanical Gardens

“Caterpillars” by FLO OY WONG

Japanese Tea Gardens

“Bunbuku Chagama,” as told by Brenda Wong Aoki

Argonne Community Garden

“Quince Blossoms Emerge” by MARA GRIMES

Ocean Beach

“Hope is Contagious” by VICTOR YAN

Read Across America 2021

Happy Read Across America Day!

In normal times, today is the day that we would be delivering the Blake Mini Library book donations to be enjoyed by the young readers in celebration of Read Across America Day. But as you know, the times are anything but normal.

Thanks to Christina and the fantastic team at Hamilton Families, we were able to find a way to help fill a need. The shelter was in need of Spanish language books.

Vijay knows it’s cool to know another language.
from ¡Solo Pregunta! (Just Ask!) by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Rafael López

We are happy to report that thanks to the generosity of community. We received the email this afternoon from First Book confirming that our shipment of 100 Spanish Language children’s books is on its way! We would like to offer our deepest thanks to the following individuals for their generous support of the 2021 Blake Mini Library Book Drive.

Young Wong
Tony Fong
Patrick Wu
Dennis Austria
Noel Santos
Sam Hom
Victor Yan
Alan Hom
Dennis Dong
Andy Kwong
Loangle Newsome
Karl Chan
Jill Haw
Karin Rylander
Frank Bravo
Olga Kiselev
Kim Altamero

Felicia Westphal
Frank Obi
Gurneet Kaur
Edgar Cardenas
Brentyn Carder
Chris Wong
Aida Austria
Tony Miranda
Jun Merced
Mao Elma
Noel Asiatico
Jerry Poblador
Stephen Macasero
Paul Campbell
Dori Garcia Campbell
Teresa Proano & Family Ruby Roque Quan

Theng Mangabat
Ryan & Michelle Wong
Cindy Castronovo
Jon Wong
Jelin Hoh
Airene Austria
Joey Jao
Emmanuel
Alan Merced
Aldrin Austria
Todd Fong
Debbie Fong
Jan Willemse
Jamie Willemse
Olivia Hicks
Charles & Nuria Higueras
Alex Higueras

“How do you use your voice?”
Rafael López’s delightful illustrations enliven Sonia Sotomayor’s ¡Solo Pregunta! (Just Ask!)

¿Cómo usas tu voz? (How do you use your voice?)

In celebration of Read Across America Day, we started working on a new project –  a way to safely celebrate reading together. Today, we are inviting friends to help to record a short reading from Sonia Sotomayor’s wonderfully story for young children, in both Spanish (¡Solo Pregunta!) and English (Just Ask!). 

If you would like to help to record either the Spanish or English Language text for one of the characters in the book, please reach out and let us know that you would like to help by recording a reading for this special Read Across America Day project.

Readers are using the voice memo app on their phones or downloading a free app such as Audacity to record their readings in a quiet spot. Once we receive all of the audio files, the individual readings will be used to create one community read aloud file which we will share with the shelter.

A big thank you to our community of read aloud volunteers:

Alec Hawley, Antigone Trimis, Audrey Pasillas, Charles Higueras, Charlton Lee, Joanie Juster, Kathryn Bates, Linda Higueras, Maggy Frias, Mara Grimes, Maribel Pasillas, Miriam Magaña, Norma Rodriguez, Nuria Higueras, Pat Zamora, Rosa Rodriguez Perry and Tara Cartegena.

If you are interested in joining this project, we are keeping track of the people who have volunteered to read HERE, where you can see which characters are spoken for so far.

If you know of anyone who would really enjoy reading for this project, please invite them to join us for Read Across America Day. We welcome and celebrate community participation!

“There are uses to adversity, and they don’t reveal themselves until tested. Whether it’s serious illness, financial hardship, or the simple constraint of parents who speak limited English, difficulty can tap unexpected strengths.” – Sonia Sotomayor

2021 Blake Mini Library Book Drive

Every year, since 2016 when the small rainbow-colored library was first built and donated by San Francisco school children to the homeless shelter, ArtsEd4All has hosted the annual Blake Mini Library Book Drive benefitting the Hamilton Families. Our connection to this philanthropic effort began in 2014, after reading a story about a 6-year old boy in New York City named Blake Ansari who began a book drive with the support of his family and friends. Our annual Blake Mini Library book drive in San Francisco is typically held from Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service to Valentine’s Day, with delivery to the shelter taking place on Read Across America Day. The project presents an opportunity for people of all ages to work together to share a love of reading through small acts of kindness that also encourage and support the philanthropic efforts of school children.

The 2020 Blake Mini Library Book Drive was one of the last in-person events of 2020 where we were able to work with children, prior to the closing of San Francisco public schools due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, thanks to the efforts of students and community at Dianne Feinstein Elementary School, we delivered 800 books with handwritten notes of encouragement to the shelter in March.

2020 was a year unlike any other, and we knew that it would be highly unlikely that we would be able to host the book drive as we usually do this year in 2021. We explored alternatives, such as direct purchase and shipment of books, but soon learned from the shelter that there are additional issues of capacity and storage to consider for organizations operating under these challenging present conditions.

¡Vámonos! Let’s Go!

This year: A new challenge for the 2021 Blake Mini Library Book Drive

In searching for a way to best help with pressing needs, we learned that there is a shortage of Spanish language books for children at the shelter. After confirming the shelter’s storage capacity, we are happy to share that we will be able to support the children at Hamilton Families with a Spanish language book drive.

For the Shelter:

  • 0-3y= 20 books
  • 3-5y= 20 books
  • 5-8y=10 books

For Transitional Housing:

  • 0-3y= 20 books
  • 3-5y= 20 books
  • 5-8y=10 books

We seek 49 sponsors who will pledge to donate $5 each towards the purchase Spanish language books for the children at the Hamilton Families.

After pricing the costs for an order of 100 Spanish Language children’s books from First Book, we have come up with this modest, but meaningful goal. While we are unable to work directly with children this year in support of their acts of kindness, we hope to continue supporting these efforts again in the future. We welcome your participation in this year’s Blake Mini Library Book Drive and thank you for sharing your love of reading with the children at Hamilton Families.

For more, visit the Blake Mini Library at Hamilton Families project page.

For There is Always Light

Today, January 21st is National Angel Island Day.

On this day, we take time to remember the stories, events, and people from the Immigration Station’s 111-year history.

“An Island Light” Angel Island, in sight; January 21, 2021

The light of San Francisco
is a sea light
an island light

— from The Changing Light, by LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI

In 2010, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation declaring January 21st as National Angel Island Day.

“From the cities, villages, and farms of their birth, they journeyed across the Pacific, seeking better lives for themselves and their children. Many arrived at Angel Island, weary but hopeful, only to be unjustly confined for months or, in some cases, years. As we remember their struggle, we honor all who have been drawn to America by dreams of limitless opportunity.

Unlike immigrants who marveled at the Statue of Liberty upon arrival at Ellis Island, those who came to Angel Island were greeted by an intake facility that was sometimes called the “Guardian of the Western Gate.” Racially prejudiced immigration laws of the time subjected many to rigorous exams and interrogations, as well as detention in crowded, unsanitary barracks. Some expressed themselves by carving poetry and  inscriptions into the walls in their native language — from Chinese, Japanese, and Korean to Russian, German, and Urdu. These etchings remain on Angel Island today as poignant reminders of the immigrant experience and an unjust time in our history.

If there is any vindication for the Angel Island immigrants who endured so many hardships, it is the success achieved by those who were allowed entry, and the many who, at long last, gained citizenship. They have contributed immeasurably to our Nation as leaders in every sector of American life. The children of Angel Island have seized the opportunities their ancestors saw from across an ocean. By demonstrating that all things are possible in America, this vibrant community has created a beacon of hope for future generations of immigrants.”

The History That We Stand On, and The Future We Stand For

22-year-old poet Amanda Gorman, America’s first Youth Poet Laureate

On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet, at age twenty-two, to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. She was invited to write a poem inspired by the theme, “America United.” Amanda wanted to write about a new chapter in our country, while acknowledging the dark chapter in American history that we are living through. “Now more than ever, the United States needs an inaugural poem,” Gorman said. “Poetry is typically the touchstone that we go back to when we have to remind ourselves of the history that we stand on, and the future that we stand for.” 

We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it

— from The Hill We Climb, by AMANDA GORMAN

“A Sea We Must Wade” Angel Island, in sight; January 21, 2021

In response to the Inauguration Day, poet Flo Oy Wong wrote this new poem, inspired by Amanda Gorman, America’s first National Youth Poet Laureate, and Kamala Harris, the first woman, as well as the first African American and first Asian American, to serve as Vice President of the United States. Kamala means “lotus flower” in Sanskrit.

As a Petal of Hope Takes Shape

In brackish water, hope emerges
from a cracked seed like the lotus.
In search of light, hope wends itself,
stretches towards illumination,
waits to dance with dreams.
As a petal of hope takes shape
it tastes like delectable kindness.
It smells sweet like heartfelt compassion.
It feels like golden silk stitched

to goodness of humankind.

FLO OY WONG, January 5 – 19, 2021

Dancing with Dreams: Angel Island, in sight; January 21, 2021

The world premiere performance of Huang Ruo’s “Your Wall is Our Canvas: The Angel Island” with The Del Sol String Quartet is currently planned for October 2021 on Angel Island.