Documenting the untold stories of Nikkei (Japanese American) Chicago シカゴにおける日系人に関する記事のサイト
BY RYAN MASAAKI YOKOTA
On February 21, 2016, some 300 members of the Japanese American and broader Chicago community came to the Chicago History Museum in order to attend the 2016 Annual Day of Remembrance program, Achieving the Impossible Dream: How Japanese Americans Obtained Redress, which commemorated the February 19, 1942 signing of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the incarceration of roughly 120,000 Japanese Americans from the west coast of the United States into ten War Relocation Authority concentration camps.
This year’s program featured speaker Mitchell Maki, Vice Provost of Student Academic Success at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), and lead author of the book, Achieving the Impossible Dream: How Japanese Americans Obtained Redress.
In starting off the program, Maki stressed the importance of remembering the history of Japanese American incarceration.
“That’s why we are here today. To remember who we are. To remember our legacy. To remember the lessons of our experience so they never happen again to us, or to any other group here in America.”
Organized annually as a joint project of the Chicago Japanese American Council, the Chicago Japanese American Historical Society, the Japanese American Citizens League – Chicago Chapter, the JASC, and the Japanese Mutual Aid Society of Chicago, this year’s program provided a unique opportunity to include the participation of young Japanese American leaders such as Rebecca Ozaki and Anna Takada, who served as co-MCs for the event, and Ryan Sasaki, who read Executive Order 9066 to the audience.
In keeping with the goals of incorporating more youth voices in this year’s program, event organizers held a separate youth-oriented program that allowed roughly 30 youth participants to directly interact with Dr. Maki.
Additional program highlights included a teaser of Janice Tanaka’s recent documentary, “Rights of Passage,” which covered the history of Japanese American redress.
“The story of redress is a story that reflects the strength of our nation, the ability of our nation to look back at an egregious violation and in a very measured way, make atonement for that past wrong,” stated Dr. Maki, in closing out the program. “But we today must not become complacent and think that it will never happen again.”
“Justice is something that we must be ever vigilant about and protective of. Today in our country we have many individuals who because of the color of their skin, because of the country of their origin, because of the god they choose to worship, or because of the person whom they love, face discrimination and injustice.
“As we come together here today, let us pledge not only to remember what happened to our community, but to pledge that the laws will not fall silent.”
YouTube clip of the event provided courtesy of and with permission of CAN TV. Video of the 2016 DOR program is also viewable at http://cantv.org/watch-now/day-of-remembrance-2016/
Save the date!: The 2017 Day of Remembrance will be held on February 19, 2017 at the Chicago History Museum.
Text provided courtesy of the 2016 Japanese American Service Committee Newsletter