john_and_damon_chinMy great-great grandfather, Quon loy Chin, immigrated from Taishan, Guangdong, China to the United States around 1911, at a time when the Chinese Exclusion Act was still in effect, making it extremely difficult for the Chinese to enter the U.S. He settled in New York City and ran a laundry business. He was later joined by his son, John Chin, who immigrated around 1935. Their stories are one of invention and reinvention—from villager to city dweller, farmer to businessmen. But how would their lives play out had they stayed in China? What kind of person would I be?I wanted to uncover the individuals and stories that brought me to this moment in time. How extraordinary it is to know that I should exist because of their trials and tribulations.
My life is the summation of families struggling to make ends meet—families trying to build a place of their own. Their narratives are nothing short of amazement. They tell fundamental stories of the human experience that transcend time and place. It’s etched in my face, my dream, and my aspirations. Their stories live within all of us.

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