The History of the Foundation

When Dr. and Mrs. David Murdoch moved to Tacoma in 1982, they sensed something was amiss. After learning about the Chinese expulsion, Dr. Murdoch said, “Then it clicked because…if a family member has been hurt, ostracized or embarrassed, that has an effect on the family for years.”  In his submittal of the Citizen Suggestion Award Program application to the City of Tacoma on August 22, 1991, proposed that “since the eviction [of the Chinese populace] was from the Old Town waterfront, it would be appropriate to set aside an area of reconciliation (small park with a Chinese motif) and a monument acknowledging the incident, noting Tacoma’s regret and desire to move ahead in unity and respect.”

Dr. Murdoch joined with City councilman Robert Evans, former State Representative Art Wang (D-Tacoma) and community activists in 1992 to initiate the reconciliation process. They formed a citizens committee which included Suzanne Barnett, Bob Evans, Lorraine Hildebrand, Yuen Hi Ho, Theresa Pan Hosley, Bob Mack, Dr. David Murdoch, Dr. George Tanbara, Jim Tsang, Art Wang, Sulja Warnick and Lihuang Wung, assisted by the City’s Planning and Development Services Department staff Bart Alford and Martin Blackman. They spent 14 months planning, making community contacts and creating a preliminary design about the historic event in a Park setting.

On November 30, 1993, the City Council unanimously approved Resolution No. 32415 to acknowledge that the 1885 expulsion was “a most reprehensible occurrence.” The City Council recognized the efforts of the citizens committee and endorsed the concept of building a Chinese Commemorative park and international pavilion at the former National Guard site on Commencement Bay. Appropriately, the property is near the site of the early Chinese Settlement called Little Canton.  The City Council authorized the expenditure of $25,000 for preliminary site plans, preliminary cost estimate, and project programming for the project.

The Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation was founded in Spring, 1994 to continue the reconciliation process.