City Council: Build the Ting in Depot Park

Posted on May 12, 2024 by Sonoma Sun

Friends on City Council :

I am pleased to see that at its Wednesday meeting Council will issue a proclamation of May, 2024 as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the City of Sonoma.

As you undoubtedly know, Asian Americans — the Chinese in particular — played a foundational role in California and Sonoma history, having come to this country in the late 19th century as ‘cheap labor’ to work mines in the gold-rush era and later at wineries in the Valley. As Wikipedia notes, “By 1852, over 25,000 Chinese immigrants had arrived in the United States, and by 1880, over 300,000 Chinese people were living in the United States, most in California.” Chinese immigrants famously provided much of the labor that built the transcontinental railroad in the post-Civil War era.

Of course, as has frequently happened to immigrants throughout U.S. history, Chinese migrants fell victim to anti-immigrant sentiment, including widespread violence, resulting in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 banning further migration of Chinese to the country. The Act was not repealed until 1943, when the U.S. needed China’s help in World War II. The great contributions — and tribulations — of Chinese immigrants in our national and local history is well-described in the account of Glen Ellen historian, Jim Shere, which can be found on the Sonoma Sister Cities website at

My purpose in writing is to ask Council to agendize for discussion and action at its next meeting the commencement of construction of the Ting in Depot Park, to commemorate the contribution of Chinese to our Valley. Such would be particularly appropriate and timely, as I understand the City is contemplating other Depot Park improvements. I may be mistaken but I believe that considerable funding has been accumulated by donors to the Ting project. Hopefully, Council would also find it appropriate in the near future to consider commissioning a statue or other significant Plaza memorial commemorating the Chinese contribution to the history of our Valley.

Bob Edwards

Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA