Angel Island Project – Wall

“With captured imaginations, we take flight on a journey of discovery and story-telling shaped by Huang Ruo’s beautiful score and the inspired poetry that was carved into the walls by detainees at the Angel Island Immigration station between 1910-40.
The Angel Island Project helps us to trace who we are today, by remembering from where we came.” Graham Lustig

On this Oakland Ballet Company Angel Island Project Wall, we invite you to share your immigration story.

Gigi Zhu

“Hello, I’m Gigi. On the luminescent stage of life, I dance with grace and fervor – an entrepreneur, a medical doctor, a loving mother, a devoted wife. Held in high esteem, my professionalism shines in every endeavor. In each role, every sphere, I find my belonging. “

Kelly Zou

“I am Kelly. A restaurant owner. My 20 years in San Francisco, ups and downs, there have been many losses, but even more gains. I want to tell the me who arrived in the US with only $800, feeling lost and helpless: Your dreams are not just dreams. Thanks for hanging in there keeping your nose to the grindstone every time! “

Karin Jensen

“[The Link] Below is an edited excerpt from my book, The Strength of Water, my mother’s memoir as told to me. My mom was born in the United States, but when her mother died when she was twelve, her father returned to his village in China with his children to get a new wife. He left the children there with their new stepmother while he returned to the United States to pay down debts and gradually save money for their return. This tells of my mother’s return alone at sixteen, four years later.

I have attached a photo of Mom at 17, a year after this story occurred, and of the cover of my book. “

Natasha Liu

“My mother is an immigrant from Kerala, India. My father is a Chinese immigrant to Taiwan and then the U.S. They met here in the U.S. My mother is expecting me in this photo and you can see also my older brother. I love the diversity represented within Oakland ballet (dancers and choreographers!). I also appreciate the highlighting and celebration of immigrants especially at a time when immigrants are demonized. “

Beverly Allen

“My father and my mother came separately as young people…I grew up knowing I was a mixture [between Swedish and American]…I know that immigration has been happening for millions of years, and I’m glad that I can benefit from it in this way.”

Jojo Liu

“Chinese calligraphy is one of the most traditional art forms in the world and is truly representative of Eastern art and culture. My grandfather inspired and taught me to practice Chinese calligraphy from a young age, and I continue to have more love for it every day.”

Kien Nguyen

“When I was 20 years old, I started fresh in the United States learning English…For all of us immigrants, we all had to start from, pretty much, ground zero and take whatever jobs come our way. No matter what we do, we love it. We have come a long way, and [are] proud to be U.S. citizens.”

Lan Shaw

“I was born and raised in China. I came from a very well educated family, however it really never occurred to me until my early teenager years that China is a third world country…my first time I got to see what the first world looked like [was in America]. It was indeed a very, very different world.”

Chinese Immigrants in Silicon Valley and Beyond

Silicon Valley is home to one of the largest foreign-born populations in the US. About 38% of the two million people in this area were born outside the US, and immigrants make up 70% of the workforce in highly technical occupations. Chinese immigrants account for a significant proportion of the workforce in Silicon Valley, particularly in Santa Clara County. Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, anti-Asian and anti-Chinese rhetoric and behaviors have surged. “My Story, My Community, My Home” photoblog showcases the wide range of Chinese immigrants and promotes interracial and intercultural communication and understanding. It also highlights Chinese immigrants’ contribution to local communities and beyond.

Please visit the Society of Heart’s Delight page for more stories: 

Please contact Oakland Ballet at if you wish to share your immigration stories on this wall. Making it more encompassing and universal, not all the stories have to be related to Angel Island. We will accept stories, photos, videos, artwork, etc.