Multicultural Council of the Riverside Museum Associates
Day of Inclusion History
By Frances J. Vásquez
Seventy-five years ago, on December 17, 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law H.R. 3070, The Magnuson Act, also known as the Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act of 1943. The federal legislation was proposed by Congressman Warren G. Magnuson of Washington. This Act of Congress was our nation’s first law to ban immigration policies based on race or nationality.
The Magnuson Act allowed Chinese immigration for the first time since the racist Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was enacted. It permitted some Chinese immigrants already residing in the U.S.A. to become naturalized citizens for the first time since the Naturalization Act of 1790. In essence, the Chinese Exclusion Act was the first (and thus far only) law in the U.S. to target and prevent a specific ethnic group (the Chinese) from emigrating to this country.
However, the Magnuson Act still provided for the continuation of the ban against the ownership of property and businesses by ethnic Chinese. In many states, including California, Chinese Americans (including U.S. citizens) were denied property-ownership rights either by law or de facto until the Magnuson Act itself was fully repealed in 1965.
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 abolished national origins quotas, shifting to a preference system based on skills and family ties to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. However, the Federal Legislation also placed limits on Mexican migration for the first time, which led to a large increase in unauthorized migration.
In 2009, then California State Assembly member Mike Eng authored Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR 76) to annually designate December 17 as the “Day of Inclusion” in California to remember, learn from, and celebrate our state’s diverse immigrant heritage. He sponsored a Day of Inclusion event in December 2010 at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo neighborhood. Several members of Riverside’s Save Our Chinatown Committee and the Multicultural Council attended the Eng event and were inspired to produce a similar celebration in Riverside.
Here is the link to the YouTube video featuring Assembly member Mike Eng discussing the Legislative Resolution on the Day of Inclusion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCn-CYYOLPg#action=share
Rosalind Sagara, president of the Save Our Chinatown Committee and active in the Multicultural Council of the Riverside Museum Associates (MCC) informed the MCC members about the significance of State ACR 76. Enthused, the MCC planned and implemented the inaugural Day of Inclusion celebration in Riverside on December 17, 2011. MCC has invited the Honorable Mike S. Eng to Riverside to participate in the annual celebrations. Riverside is the only California city to celebrate the Day of Inclusion continuously every year.
The MCC is committed to educational cultural awareness programs and presents the Day of Inclusion programs in December to commemorate the historically significant date and to celebrate the region’s rich immigrant heritage and their contributions to our vibrant multicultural community.
The Mayor of Riverside annually proclaims December 17 as a Day of Inclusion in Riverside. This year Mayor Rusty Bailey presented a Proclamation to the MCC at the City Council meeting on December 4, 2018. On this occasion, the Mayor also reaffirmed the City’s commitment to “Building a More Inclusive Riverside Community” statement developed by the Mayor’s Multicultural Forum on June 8, 2001 and adopted by the City Council on September 18, 2001. This document consists of a set of principles that helps guide the Riverside community in becoming a truly inclusive twenty-first century city. To view the City’s Inclusive Community Statement, follow the link: https://www.riversideca.gov/mayor/pdf/Inclusive-Community-Statement.pdf.
The Day of Inclusion and the Mayor’s Inclusive Community Statement both help fulfill MCC’s stated mission. These initiatives serve as an annual reaffirmation of our commitment to work for a more inclusive community that embraces ethnic and racial diversity– and greater understanding of other cultures — enriching the diverse fabric of our community.
Riverside’s eighth annual Day of Inclusion celebration was held on December 8, 2018 at the César Chávez Community Center. This year’s theme, “Memories of Migration: Diverse Journeys” is a tribute to the enriching contributions by immigrants to the region: economic strength and cultural vitality. Migrants enhance our community with their diverse history, language, cultural traditions in art, music, dance, and cuisine — creating a diverse multicultural tapestry in our society.
The Day of Inclusion programs are free and open to the public and supported by generous sponsors, collaborative partners, and private donors who helped make the events possible. These include: City of Riverside, Riverside Human Relations Commission, Council member Andy Melendrez, Save Our Chinatown Committee, Japanese American Citizens League, Inlandia Institute, Riverside Art Museum, Holstein, Taylor, and Unitt, The Community Foundation, UCR ARTS BLOCK, UCR/CSI, UCR College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences, Riverside Community Health Foundation, African American Historical Society, TruEvolution, Spanish Town Heritage Foundation, and others.
The Multicultural Council is committed to help break down cultural barriers, appreciate differences, enrich cultural diversity, and foster racial, religious, and multicultural tolerance and inclusivity. For more information, please visit our Facebook page: https://facebook.com/pages/Multicultural Council of the RMA.