‘United for Compassion’ in S.F. Japantown

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SAN FRANCISCO — “United for Compassion 2,” a Japantown community gathering, will be held on Thursday, Aug. 9, at from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Japantown Peace Plaza, Post and Buchanan in San Francisco.

The gathering will address issues such as family separations at the border, the Muslim ban, and racial and religious scapegoating. In addition to multicultural and youth speakers, there will be performances and a Wall of Compassion.

Speakers include:

– Assemblymember Phil Ting (invited)

– Don Tamaki, Korematsu coram nobis attorney, representing #StopRepeatingHistory

– Karen Korematsu, Fred Korematsu’s daughter and founder of the Korematsu Institute

– Zahra Billoo, executive director, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

– Hiroshi Kashiwagi, poet and former Tule Lake Segregation Center incarceree

– Satsuki Ina, filmmaker (“Children of the Camps”) and former Tule Lake incarceree

– Amy Sueyoshi, interim dean of the San Francisco State University College of Ethnic Studies and past Pride Parade grand marshal

– Rev. Jeanelle Ablola, Pine United Methodist Church

– Rev. Debbie Lee, executive director, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity; organizer of vigils and support to those detained at West County Detention Center

Performance by the Buffet Crew — Francis Wong (saxophone) and Yukiya Jerry Waki (spoken word).

Presented by the United for Compassion Consortium: Japanese American Religious Federation • Japanese Community Youth Council • San Francisco JACL • Nichi Bei Foundation • Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California • National Japanese American Historical Society • API Legal Outreach • Tule Lake Committee • Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project • Campaign for Justice: Redress Now For Japanese Latin Americans! • Nakayoshi Young Professionals • Asian Improv aRts • Nikkei Resisters • Japantown Task Force, Inc. • Coram Nobis Legal Teams • StopRepeatingHistory.org campaign • Minami Tamaki LLP • Nihonmachi Street Fair • J-Sei • Sansei Legacy Project • Kimochi, Inc. (partial list)

For more information, visit: www.nichibei.org/united-for-compassion

United for Compassion Consortium Statement

The United For Compassion Consortium and the San Francisco Japantown community stand in solidarity with those now being targeted nationwide by the rhetoric of hatred and racial and religious scapegoating.

Since before the 2016 elections, there had been a rise in incidents of hate throughout the country, which appear to be emboldened by the misogynistic, xenophobic and racist rhetoric of the Trump campaign. By the time the Japantown community held the first United for Compassion vigil against post-election hate two weeks after the elections on Nov. 22, 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center had documented more than 700 incidents since the elections alone, including physical assaults and racist vandalism.

Since that time, an anti-Muslim travel ban has been upheld by the Supreme Court using the same flawed logic that legalized the incarceration of Japanese Americans in 1944. Our worst fears have also been realized with the recent executive order that authorized the indefinite imprisonment of migrant families in detention centers across the country.

One site being considered as a potential detention facility for unaccompanied minors is adjacent to the former Rohwer concentration camp in southeast Arkansas, where the United States government incarcerated 8,000 Japanese Americans between 1942 and 1945.

According to a CNN report, some 430 parents from separated families were likely deported without their kids. Once they are located, the logistics of coordinating reunions could take months. There are currently 711 immigrant children from separated families who remain in custody.

As a community that knows all too well the effects of wartime hysteria, racial prejudice and the failure of political leadership, the Japanese American community responds, using our own experience as a stark reminder of the effects of the deprivation of civil liberties.

Seventy-seven years ago the FBI began arresting our Buddhist priests, Japanese language school teachers and community leaders. Within two months the U.S. government began the mass incarceration of all Japanese Americans from the West Coast. This human tragedy and violation of constitutional rights is not what a Trump advisor stated as a “precedent” for a present-day “Muslim registry.” It was a grave injustice and grave mistake, for which the nation apologized.

As a community, Japanese Americans cannot be silent while groups are targeted and demonized in the same way that we once were. Now more than ever, our community must speak out for targeted communities.

In a show of unity, the Japanese American and Japantown community is taking a clear and unequivocal stand against hate, while addressing the fear that has shrouded our communities. We stand in solidarity for equality, equity, and freedom. We stand for the human spirit. We stand here United for Compassion.

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