The GRAEL academy went on a field trip to Angel Island on Thursday, May 24.
The trip was supervised by teachers Roger Kim, Jo Sutton, Melissa Kindelspire, and Elizabeth Means, and was aimed at helping students reach their educational goals related to their classes and their work as members of the GRAEL academy, which is aimed toward social justice.
“We learned a lot about the island and we went to the museum,” said Kim. “It related to U.S. history.”
Angel Island is an island located off of San Francisco that was used as a detention center to hold Asian immigrants hoping to enter the U.S. from 1910 to 1940.
The island was built following passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, which placed harsh restrictions on immigration to the United States from Asia. As a result, many immigrants were forced to wait for years in the detention center for entry, with many being deported back to their countries of origin.
“The immigration station definitely had a racist factor in it,” said Kim, “so learning about the history of injustice in the United States related to the themes of the GRAEL academy.”
On the trip, students took self-tours through the closed detention center, which has now become a museum.
Many students agree that one of the most striking features of the location is the poetry that detainees carved into the walls while waiting to be accepted into the United States which can still be seen today.
Students seem to have taken a lot away from the visit to Angel Island.
“My favorite part was going through the house and seeing the poems because I didn’t even know they were there. I learned that the Asian immigrants were held captive there for a really long time,” said junior Jordan Knight.