"What made the Chinese survive the most difficult conditions in this country is mainly their identification with American founding principles, and also their faith in themselves, and they refused to be excluded."- Renqui Yu (Professor of History, SUNY-Purchase)

We are excited to announce that CAAM is one of the co-producers of and is leading the educational outreach for the new PBS documentary film THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT by award-winning documentary filmmakers Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu of Steeplechase Films. 

Join CAAM’s campaign to distribute free educational resources and host community screenings to reach thousands of students, teachers, and community members in support of the film THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT. 

Click here to watch the film's official 13 minute trailer on the Steeplechase Films YouTube page. 

*Special time limited offer*
The first 6 people who donate at this level will receive a copy of the graphic novel American Born Chinese by writer, cartoonist and current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang. 

*This just in!*
An anonymous donor has generously agreed to match all donations made to our “Who is American?” Educational Outreach fo the PBS documentary THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT campaign through Monday, September 5th up to $10,000
. Double your impact by making a tax-deductible gift of $25 or more at CAAMedia.org/CEA by Monday, September 5th.

Donate $25 or more today and help us reach our goal of raising $10,000 ($20,000 with the matching gift) by Monday, September 5th.

Click here to see the complete list of campaign supporters to date. 

THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT will have its broadcast premiere on the acclaimed PBS series American Experience during APA Heritage Month in May 2017.  This two-hour film documents in fascinating detail the events leading to, causes of, consequences, and continuing impact of the only federal legislation in United States history ever to single out and name a specific race and nationality for exclusion from immigration and citizenship.

Together we can reach our goal of raising $50,000 by Friday, September 15, 2016.  


  • Create educational curriculum resources and distribute them for free to teachers at schools (K-12) and colleges/universities throughout the United States. These materials will accompany the screening of the film in classrooms and help spark classroom discussion about The Chinese Exclusion Act and what it means for Americans today.
  • Distribute free community screening resources and host community screenings for thousands of diverse community members throughout the United States in 2017-2018.
  • Create a robust website, integrated online strategy,  and social media campaign to enhance and connect more students, teachers, and community members with the film and the educational resources. 

    CAAMFest 2015 Opening Night Presentation at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, California.


With your gift, we can ensure that the history and consequences of the Chinese Exclusion Act are not forgotten. Donate today so that we can bring everyone closer to this important story of the American experience. Donations to this campaign are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

If you have any questions about this campaign and the film, we'd be happy to chat with you in-person, over the phone, or via email. Connect with us by contacting Jennifer Chu, Membership Manager at (415) 863 - 0814 x 102, jchu@caamedia.org.

If you would like to donate at a level of your own choosing, please contact Jennifer to discuss a customized donation package.

Please make checks payable to Center for Asian American Media with Chinese Exclusion Act in the Memo field and mail to:

Center for Asian American Media
Attn: Jennifer Chu
145 Ninth Street, Suite 350
San Francisco, CA 94103

To contribute by phone using a credit card (Visa, Mastercard, and American Express), please call or email Jennifer Chu at (415) 863 - 0814 x 102, jchu@caamedia.org.

Please allow 6-8 weeks for donation benefit fulfillment. If you have questions, please call or email Jennifer Chu at (415) 863 - 0814 x 102, jchu@caamedia.org.

Chinese women and children wait at the Angel Island Immigration Station, San Francisco, California. Courtesy of the California Historical Society.



Check out this exclusive behind the scenes interview with THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT directors Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu. They share what inspired them to tell the story of The Chinese Exclusion Act and how knowing this history can help all Americans better understand the American Experience. 

Share this video with your friends, family and networks on social media using the hashtags #ChineseExclusionAct#WhoisAmerican, and #StoriestoLight

This film sheds a light on the important connections between the Chinese Exclusion Act and the history of American civil liberties, immigration, and culture. By examining the socio-economic and geo-political forces that led to the Act, the film will uncover its unmistakable and wide-ranging consequences on national attitudes towards race, culture, politics, and society. At its core, this is a film about American identity, tracing the arc of what has defined being American from the time the United States was a fledgling republic through its astronomical rise as a world superpower.

The 1882 Exclusion Law has been forgotten, but once we remember it, it is outrageous. And it’s probably why we’ve forgotten it because it is so outrageous. ... How can this country, in its culture, in its politics, in its economics, do what it did against a whole class of people?” - Jack (John Kuo Wei) Tchen (Founding Director, A/P/A Institute at NYU)

Political cartoon from "The Puck” in 1882. Caption reads: "The Anti-Chinese Wall The American Wall Goes Up as the Chinese Original Goes Down.” Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The film guides viewers through the hardships and racial animosities that Chinese Americans faced throughout the duration of the law, including educational segregation, forced registration, and lynchings. THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT also reveals a forgotten history of Chinese American resilience and resistance to the 15 laws enacted by the federal government, as well as those passed at the state and local levels. By challenging the constitutionality of these laws and  the affronts to their civil rights through community organizing, civil disobedience, and the courts system, Chinese Americans brought 10,000 cases to federal courts and set a number of legal precedents that remain intact today. Through the lens of the Chinese Exclusion Act, a wider, deeply American story comes to life, one that embodies the issues of globalization, immigration, labor, and civil rights that continue to dominate headlines today.

The film includes powerful and illuminating on-camera testimony from historians Erika Lee (University of Minnesota), Mary Ting Yi Lui (Yale University), Mae Ngai (Columbia University), Jean Pfaelzer (University of Delaware), Kevin Starr (USC-Dornsife), Jack (John Kuo Wei) Tchen (Founding Director, A/P/A Institute at NYU), Ling-Chi Wang (UC Berkeley), K. Scott Wong (Williams College), Renqiu Yu (SUNY-Purchase), along with Phillip Choy (architect, historian and archivist), Michael C. Lin (Chairman, 1882 Project), David Lei (cultural advocate), and Martin Gold (attorney and author).


  • Follow CAAM on Facebook and Twitter for news and updates.
  • Send us the contact information for a school or community group who you think would benefit from seeing this important documentary and using the accompanying online engagement toolkit or educational toolkit to discuss the law and its place in American history.
  • Share this page with 5 of your friends by clicking the FB Share and Twitter Share button above and invite them to learn more about this project and CAAM. Use the hashtags #WhoisAmerican and #StoriestoLight.

    Feel free to use or adapt these sample social media posts:

    @CAAM is raising funds for free educational resources on the Chinese Exclusion Act! Donate today! http://bit.ly/2aKcANt#WhoisAmerican

    Donate to @CAAM‘s campaign & make the Chinese Exclusion Act part of the educational curriculum!http://bit.ly/2aKcANt #WhoisAmerican

    Want to see the Chinese Exclusion Act part of educational curricula? Donate to @CAAM today! http://bit.ly/2aKcANt #WhoisAmerican

    @CAAM is kicking off a campaign to raise funds for free educational resources on the Chinese Exclusion Act! Donate today!http://bit.ly/2aKcANt #WhoisAmerican #StoriestoLight

    How did you learn about the Chinese Exclusion Act? Donate to @CAAM‘s campaign & make the Chinese Exclusion Act part of the educational curriculum! http://bit.ly/2aKcANt #WhoisAmerican #StoriestoLight 


  • Ric Burns, Director (Steeplechase Films)
  • Li-Shin Yu, Director (Steeplechase Films)
  • Robin Espinola, Producer (Steeplechase Films)
  • Stephen Gong, Executive Producer for CAAM
  • Donald Young, Producer for CAAM

Learn more about the production team on CAAM's website


The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. We do this by funding, producing, distributing and exhibiting works in film, television, and digital media. For more information, visit our website CAAMedia.org.

Since 1980, CAAM has brought audiences closer to new voices and communities, advancing our collective understanding of the American experience through programs specifically designed to engage the Asian American community and the public at large.

For questions or more information about this campaign, please visit CAAM's website CAAMedia.org or contact Jennifer Chu, Membership Manager at jchu@caamedia.org, (415) 863-0814 ext. 102.




$70,965 RAISED

$50,000 GOAL

This Campaign 367 142%
has ended. Believers Funded
This campaign has ended.