Joe Chew, a 98-year old war hero, has been awarded with the Chinese American World War II Congressional Gold Medal.
According to CBS13, Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost awarded Chew for his service during World War II.
Frost said, “I wanted to thank him for his service and honor him with this very prestigious award.”
The award comes after a lobbying effort by the Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project and the Chinese American Citizens Alliance (CACA). The CACA has been fighting against racial discrimination, defending civil rights and countering efforts to isolate Chinese American culture and heritage.
In May 2017, the alliance first introduced The Congressional Gold Medal Bill that proposed that Congress award the honor to the Chinese American Veterans of World War II.
The bill read, “Chinese American men and women served in every theater of WWII and sacrificed their lives defending American values of freedom. Their acts of patriotism, loyalty and courage occurred at a time when the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and its discrimination impacts were in place.”
The Chinese Exclusion Act limited non-US born Chinese Americans from obtaining a citizenship. According to CACA, nearly 20,000 Chinese Americans served during WWII; 40 percent without a citizenship.
The bill continued to emphasize how there were approximately “500 to 1,000 Chinese American Veterans of WWII living today…who had the courage and loyalty to step up in the face of discrimination.”
Eventually, the senate passed the bi-partisan bill on September 12, 2018. Joe Chew has been selected as one of the honorary veterans to receive the CGM.
Born and raised as a child of immigration in Red Bluff, California, Chew entered the 1980th Army Service Unit, Camp Beale in 1945.
Chew told CBS13, “In Red Bluff, where I was born and raised, there’s five Chinese families, and most of the boys went into the service at that time.”
After the war, Chew helped run his family’s restaurant and worked as a tax accountant.
Mr. Chew will soon be presented with the medal in Washington D.C. by the congress.
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