MOCA Spike 150: Chinatown 7M Run

Amy Ko-Tang

“Our memory is made up of our individual memories and our collective memories. The two are intimately linked. And history is our collective memory. If our collective memory is taken from us - is rewritten - we lose the ability to sustain our true selves.” ~Haruki Murakam

MOCA Spike 150 provided me with a crash course on the first wave of Chinese in America. With this knowledge came a realization and a dose of responsibility that I now stand at an important crossroads in history. These Chinese laborers arrived in America and enabled the nation to realize its dream of connecting the East and the West. Yet our country’s history deprived them of their collective memory.

Today, MOCA officially launched its MOCA Spike 150 initiative with the Chinatown 7/4 Mile Run. Three groups. Two distances. One goal : Run Forward with Our Stories. Runners converged at MOCA this morning with enthusiasm and a sense of purpose in equal measure. We were united by our passion for running and a desire to contribute to a worthy cause.

My goal was simple: get up, show up, support and run, except something more happened. At roughly mile 5.5, we encountered a non-Asian father and son. They casted a curious look at our group of runners. Then the father wondered aloud, “MOCA 150?” I was going at a decent pace and hesitated if I should respond. At that very moment, an urge overtook the hesitation and I retraced my steps and turned to the father. I explained this is the 150th anniversary since the Chinese built the Transcontinental Railroad and we are celebrating their achievement. To which, he congratulated us and encouraged us to keep going.

I felt elated. We were running forward with our stories, not just figuratively. Restoring this missing piece of collective history gives me hope that our future generations would connect with their true self. As the day went on, I pondered what piqued this strangers interest. As a physical activity, running commands a special kind of respect, not only because it demands a level of physical fitness but also mental toughness. So I suspect seeing a large group of people running for a little known cause grabbed his attention. And I took enormous comfort that our mission was accomplished today.

About MOCA Spike 150

About Chinatown 7 Miles Run

On more stories

2019 is the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. To commemorate the contribution of the Chinese laborer to this monumental railroad, Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) has designated its 2019 TCS NYC Marathon event as MOCA Spike 150 – Running Forward With Our Stories! We encourage everyone to participate through 1) our national relay and 2) a story a day which consists of 150 Chinese American personal stories. We hope you will continue to follow and support us. Go tell your story. Reflect on the past; root in the present and embrace the future. Let us add to the American history, making it fuller and richer.

MOCA Spike 150 website
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