– A Collection of Songs and Migration Stories by Shaw Pong Liu

Shaw Pong Liu, musician, violinist, erhu player, composer, and activist was the inaugural artist-in -residence at the Pao Art Center 5 years ago . It was my great pleasure to meet her, to sing a song from my Girl Scout days at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, the main center for girls’ leadership training in Chinatown, and share my family’s story of migration from Guangdong Province, China to Mexico, to San Francisco, New York, and Boston, Massachusetts, America, for her song sharing and migration story project: You can hear my song and the story of my family’s migration under the restrictions of the discriminatory Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882-1943. That law barred the Chinese from paths to citizenship, banned Chinese women from entry, and forbade intermarriage. It separated families and created a community of stranded, lonely old men living in Chinatown rooming houses, it left a legacy of fatherless children on both sides of the ocean, and a generation of left-behind daughters. It would affect our family for 4 generations. The song Library is a rich collection of over 100 songs and diverse migration stories from many ethnicities. I invite you to listen and experience and perhaps even hear some tones that resonate something familiar in you. Listen to my song and my story as well as the song and stories of others, the voices of diaspora. We are a nation of immigrants and descendants of immigrants. I think we might find that we share great commonalities if we’d only listen:

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