The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) will receive special acknowledgements for its principled support of the Japanese American community during World War II at the 2016 Los Angeles Day of Remembrance program.
DOR will take place on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo.
During World War II, few individuals and no national organizations stood up for the rights of Japanese Americans. The AFSC was singular in its work to speak out against the forced removal and incarceration. It provided educational materials to the camps, offered moral support to the incarcerated, and worked to release thousands of Nisei to colleges and universities outside of the restricted areas.
AFSC member Floyd Schmoe (1895-2001) testified at the 1981 Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) hearing in Seattle. He stated, “When, due to the fears, hysteria, prejudices, and, in some cases, greed, of the times, it became impossible to prevent evacuation, we turned our efforts to helping to make the internment as bearable and as least damaging as possible, and to facilitating their release home, or resettlement, as easy as possible.”
Anthony Marsh, AFSC’s leadership and planned gift officer, will be speaking of behalf of the AFSC. A Los Angeles native of Japanese and African American ancestry, Marsh holds a master’s degree in religion from Princeton University. He has devoted his career to serving the community and working for peace and social justice.
AFSC is a Quaker organization that promotes peace throughout the world with justice as an expression of faith in action. Its programs, including support of Syrian refugees and prison reform, are run throughout the U.S. and in 13 other countries. Founded in 1917, the AFSC is gearing up for its centennial next year.
“The DOR Committee thanks the AFSC for their compassion and support of Japanese Americans during the war,” said Kay Ochi, co-chair of Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress. “We congratulate the AFSC on their upcoming 100th anniversary and hope that the community will come out to show their support and gratitude to this organization whose actions helped so many Japanese Americans.
“We hope that their example will inspire our community to support American Muslims and other communities that are victims of fear, prejudice and misunderstanding.”
The theme of the 2016 DOR: “Is It 1942 Again? Overcoming Our Fears and Upholding Constitutional Rights for All.” Sharing her perspectives as an American Muslim woman will be Maytha Alhassen, a University of Southern California provost Ph.D. fellow in American studies and ethnicity. She writes and performs poetry and has performed in the play “Hijabi Monologues.” She is a contributor to CNN, The Huffington Post, Mic, Counterpunch and the collection “I Speak For Myself: American Women on Being Muslim.”
Sponsoring organizations for the 2016 Los Angeles Day of Remembrance (and their respective DOR committee members) include: Japanese American Citizens League/Pacific Southwest District (traci ishigo, Stephanie Nitahara); JANM (Koji Sakai, Elizabeth Lim, and Mark Robbins); Manzanar Committee (Bruce Embrey); and NCRR (Richard Katsuda, Suzy Katsuda, and Kay Ochi).
A community reception will follow the program.
For further information, contact JANM at (213) 625-0414.