2019 Day of Remembrance Theme Is ‘Behind Barbed Wire: Keeping Children Safe and Families Together’

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Camp banners at the 2018 Day of Remembrance ceremony. (MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

The Los Angeles Day of Remembrance 2019, a program supporting civil rights for everyone, will be held on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo.

The Day of Remembrance is held annually to commemorate President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942, which resulted in the unjust incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese Americans and their immigrant parents in American concentration camps and other confinement sites during World War II.

“The theme for this year’s Day of Remembrance program is ‘Behind Barbed Wire: Keeping Children Safe and Families Together.’ It grew out of the scenes from last year that exposed the inhumane treatment of refugees and asylum seekers at our southern border as children were forcibly separated from their parents,” stated Richard Katsuda, Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR) co-chair. “The cruel government treatment brought back terrible memories of how Japanese Americans were treated during WWII.”

“In 1942, when the nation turned its back on Japanese Americans, only a few stood up for us,” continued NCRR Co-Chair Kay Ochi. “The Day of Remembrance is an important reminder about the long-lasting impact of government actions on men, women and children.

“The legacy of winning redress means that Japanese Americans must stand up against such injustices when they are happening — to any group. The refugees and asylum seekers are people and deserve to be treated humanely.”

“The Manzanar Committee believes that the Day of Remembrance is one of our community’s most important traditions,” said Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Jenny Chomori. “It serves to remind all Americans of the human and political costs when constitutional and human rights are tossed aside in the name of national security. Today’s political climate and false claims about threats to our national security and demagogic, xenophobic appeals make DOR even more important.”

The DOR program, which will be emceed by Hideki Fukusumi, Kizuna, and Carrie Morita, Nikkei Progressives, will include a taiko performance, speakers and a panel discussion that will examine the parallels between Japanese American incarceration and present-day issues surrounding immigration.

“The Japanese American National Museum is honored to participate in the 2019 Day of Remembrance in Los Angeles,” said Ann Burroughs, president and CEO of JANM. “The human tragedy brought on by the signing of Executive Order 9066 must never be forgotten and never repeated. In joining with other organizations to mark this day, we are reminded of the power of solidarity and the strength of our collective voices.”

Sponsors of the Los Angeles DOR 2019 are: Go For Broke National Education Center, Japanese American Citizens League-Pacific Southwest District, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, JANM, Kizuna, Manzanar Committee, NCRR, Nikkei Progressives, Organization of Chinese Americans/Greater Los Angeles, and Progressive Asian Network for Action.

Further details regarding the program will be announced at a later date.

JANM is located at 100 N. Central Ave. at First Street. The event is open to the public with “pay what you wish” admission to the museum. Those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP at http://janm.org/DOR. For more information, call (213) 625-0414.

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  1. Thank you for the tremendous efforts in organizing the pilgrimages and preserving our cultural history. Just curious why this year’s theme doesn’t have a question mark after it. It seems to us that the theme is showing what a sham the southern border refugees are experiencing–it is anything but being safe and keeping families together. Rather it is the exact opposite effect. That’s why it would seem more appropriate to question Trump’s barbaric immigration practice there by questioning what is going on. Thanks for listening and for your support.

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