In April of 2005, a consortium of organizations and individuals representing the Japanese, German, Italian, Muslim and South Asian communities of the U.S. and Latin America collaborated to bring these stories to public attention in a 2-day event at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. The Assembly on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (AWRIC) featured testimony from former internees, relocates and deportees from the World War II era and post-9/11. Oral history excerpts were read into the record for those who had died before the event or were otherwise unable to attend in person. This historic presentation of little-known experiences was documented in a report, Here, In America? Immigrants as “The Enemy” During World War II and Today, which was given to Congress in support of legislation and legal actions calling for investigation and redress of WWII and current human rights violations. The oral histories collected and transcribed for the AWRIC proved to be cathartic for the participants and educational for the public in attendance.
Following a 15-minute DVD of AWRIC oral history testimony highlights, panelists will discuss:
Background on WWII treatment of enemy aliens (Rosalyn Tonai)
Researching the enemy alien files at the National Archives; German American internment; USA PATRIOT Act (John Christgau)
When Italian Americans were “enemy aliens” (Lawrence DiStasi)
The kidnapping, internment and hostage exchange of Japanese Latin Americans during WWII; long-term effects on families; the continuing struggle for equitable redress (Grace Shimizu).
History repeats itself: Human rights violations of Muslims and South Asians since 9/11 (Samina Faheem Sundas)
Friday, Oct. 26
8:30-10am -- Session #37 in Room 206:
"Crossing a Political Blockade: Connections with Cuban Nikkei"
Grace Shimizu: Chair
Amanda Wake: JA and JC "Youth-to-Youth" Conversations on Race, Identity and World View"
Amanda Wake, who chaired the interview team for TsukimiKai 2 will summarize her experiences interacting with fourth-generation Japanese-Cuban youth. Cubans describe their society as inclusive when discussing differences in race and gender, in contrast to the category-bound, “exclusive” U.S. model. Have Japanese Cubans been integrated more thoroughly into their society than Japanese Americans? What social, political and historical forces are acting on the development or loss of their distinct identity?
Steven Wake: "Japanese Cuban History"
This section will broadly summarize the history of Japanese Cubans: their immigration to Cuba, experience during WWII and the Cuban Revolution, and their social integration, unique identity, and influence on Cuban society.
Wesley Ueunten: "Okinawan Diaspora and Identity: Reconnecting with Roots thruogh Okinawan Music and Dance"
One of TsukimiKai’s unique assets is using music and dance as an entryway to discover and share common historical and cultural roots. Particularly in the Okinawan communities, which have traditionally not been as visible in mainstream academia as the Japanese diaspora, the act of celebrating a cultural identity through performance can be a revolutionary act.
10:15-11:45 am -- Session #48 in Room 206:
"Hidden Internment: JLAs During WWII and Implications For Today"
Grace Shimizu: Chair
Karen Parker: Lessons Learned? The Past Haunts the Present
Art Shibayama: "Hidden Internment: The Art Shibayama Story"
Wesley Ueunten: "Hidden Identities: Okinawan Latin Americans during WWII"
Following showing of the 27-minute DVD “Hidden Internment: The Art Shibayama Story,” the panelists will discuss the stories collected by the JPOHP and the ways they have been used to facilitate healing, build community and pursue justice for JLAs.
Saturday, Oct. 27
1:15-2:45pm -- Screening:
"Hidden Internment: The Art Shibayama Story"
Irum Shiekh: Chair, producer, director
Art Shibayama: Independent scholar
Casey Peek: producer and director