Discussion of ‘Hold These Truths’ at Gardena Valley JCI

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GARDENA — On Saturday, Oct. 21, the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute will present a program featuring playwright Jeanne Sakata, who will talk about her critically acclaimed play, “Hold These Truths.”

The program will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at GVJCI’s Nisei Veterans Memorial Hall, 1964 W. 162nd St. in Gardena.

Playwright Jeanne Sakata and actor Ryun Yu (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

The play tells the inspirational true story of Gordon Hirabayashi (1918-2012), a civil rights pioneer, to whom President Obama posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2012.

During World War II in Seattle, Hirabayashi fought the U.S. government’s curfew imposed on Japanese Americans and its subsequent orders to forcibly remove and mass incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. As he struggled to reconcile his country’s betrayal with his passionate belief in the U.S. Constitution, he began a 50-year journey toward a greater understanding of America’s triumphs — and a confrontation with its failures. His resistance resulted in the case that bears his name, Hirabayashi v. United States.

Sakata’s one-man play as been performed from coast to coast to rave reviews; it was last produced by the Pasadena Playhouse in June. Sakata will talk about her play, followed by the performance of several key scenes by actor Ryun Yu, who starred in the Pasadena Playhouse’s production as well as the original production, then titled “Dawn’s Light,” at East West Players a decade ago.

The Los Angeles Times’ review stated: “The lessons of our constitutional missteps are never learned for good. They must continually be relearned. Which is why I wish the current White House, along with young people throughout the nation, could be compelled to attend a performance of ‘Hold These Truths.'”

The Huffington Post review stated: “‘Hold These Truths’ tells the inspirational true story of a civil rights hero who took his fight all the way to the Supreme Court. An exceptional evening of theatrical storytelling, Ryun Yu’s brilliant solo performance has captivated audiences and sold-out shows from coast to coast. Heartwarming and entertaining, don’t miss this powerful and moving story of Gordon Hirabayashi’s fight for freedom for all … Stunning! A brilliant portrayal of a genuine hero.”

The program is free (suggested $10 donation). Seating is limited. Call or email to reserve seats at (310) 324-6611 and [email protected]

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