The sculpture, “View from Gold Mountain” commemorates the landmark historic Chinese American civil rights case, Territory of New Mexico v. Yee Shun (1882). President of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance Dr. Siu Wong and Bernalillo County Community Engagement and Outreach Manager Carrie Moritomo discuss the landmark case and how the process of dedicating the sculpture.
“The monument now represents liberty, justice, and equality for all. For all Americans, not only Chinese Americans because it is guaranteed in the Constitution that we should have rights, that we should have justice,” said Dr. Wong.
In the 1800s, Chinese testimonies were not allowed in civil or criminal court. This meant that Chinese witnesses could not testify.
“So if a crime was committed against the Chinese, to put it very simplistically, the perpetrator got off because they could not be convicted because the witnesses if they were Chinese, could not testify,” said Dr. Wong.
The civil rights ruling from the Territory of New Mexico versus Yee Shun granted Chinese Americans the right to have their testimony accepted in court.
In wanting to share this triumph with the world, Dr. Wong began the journey by approaching the City of Albuquerque in 2013 and then petitioning the New Mexico State Legislature in 2014 and 2015 to secure funding for the piece.
By 2016, the project had a total of $225,000 from the State. The City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County have contributed an additional $20,000 and $30,000 respectively to complete the work.
The Asian American Monument Committee of New Mexico requested artists to submit art qualifications and through the process selected Cheryll Leo-Gwin and Stewart Wong for their design.
The sculpture dedication will be held on Saturday, January 11, 2020, at 10 a.m. with a noon lecture, “Justice for All: Asian Americans and the Courtroom to follow at the Bernalillo County Courthouse at 400 Lomas Blvd.