GARDENA — “The Unfinished Business After Redress” is the theme of the 2014 Day of Remembrance (DOR) program at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute (GVJCI) on Saturday, March 1, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the JCI Hall at 1964 W. 162nd St., Gardena. The event is free and open to the public.
DOR commemorates the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Feb. 19, 1942, which led to the mass removal and imprisonment of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, the vast majority of whom were U.S. citizens, in concentration camps administered by a new federal bureaucracy — the War Relocation Authority.
This year’s DOR theme is especially timely, for today all Americans live under the threat of “indefinite detention” for “suspicion” of disloyalty, based on a provision in the 2012 Defense Appropriations Act that was signed by President Barack Obama in December 2012. Today, the DOR is not only an event of interest to Japanese Americans, but one that applies to all Americans who value their civil rights.
Keynote speaker Dr. Lane Hirabayashi occupies a prestigious endowed professorship at UCLA, and his official title — the George and Sakaye Aratani Professor of the Japanese American Incarceration, Redress, and Community — underlines his expertise on the subject of this year’s DOR. He is known for his eclectic and scholarly interests and sweeping interpretations, as reflected in numerous books and articles that focus on the wartime Nikkei gulag and diaspora, but also range from the early Issei pioneers in the Gardena Valley, to a book on Japanese immigrants to Latin America and, most recently, a book on his uncle Gordon Hirabayashi.
He will lead a Q&A session at the conclusion of the program.
Two students will discuss Bridging Communities, a program co-sponsored by the Greater Los Angeles Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Kizuna, Pacific Southwest District of the Japanese American Citizens League (PSW-JACL), Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress (NCRR), and the National Park Service. Realizing that the experiences of Nikkei after the attack on Pearl Harbor and of the Muslim community after the 9/11 terrorist attacks were unfortunately similar, Bridging Communities was created to bring youths from these diverse communities together. Through cross-cultural and interfaith experiences, they build understanding and partnerships.
Entertainment will be provided by members of the popular Grateful Crane Ensemble. Founded in 2001, the non-profit group presents educational and theatrical programs in appreciation for the unique hardships and inspiring contributions of Nikkei in the nation’s history. Members of the group will perform at the beginning and end of the program.
A lengthy and diverse list of co-sponsors reflects an effort to nurture collegial support on issues of common interest, and includes Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi; Asian Pacific Islander & Native American Faculty and Staff Association, CSU Dominguez Hills; CSUDH Library, Archives and Special Collections; Friends of the Japanese Garden; Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum; Go For Broke National Education Center; Grateful Crane Ensemble; Greater L.A. Area Singles JACL; Japanese American Cultural & Community Center; Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego; Japanese American Historical Society of Southern California; Japanese American National Museum; Kizuna; Little Tokyo Historical Society; Little Tokyo Service Center; Manzanar Committee; NCRR; South Bay JACL; Torrance Historical Society; Tule Lake Committee; UCLA Aratani Endowed Chair; UCLA Asian American Studies Program; and UCLA Nikkei Student Union.
For more information, call (310) 324-6611 or visit jci-gardena.org.