‘And Then They Came for Us’ to Commemorate AAPI Heritage Month

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To commemorate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the award-winning documentary “And Then They Came for Us” is being broadcast and streamed as part of a national community response to the rise of anti-Asian prejudice and violence that has reared its ugly head since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The film will air on PBS SoCal World on Monday, May 18, at 9 p.m., followed at 10 p.m. by “Relocation, Arkansas — Aftermath of Incarceration.” On Tuesday, May 19, the two programs will air at 5 and 6 a.m. “The Ito Sisters: An American Story” will follow at 4 and 11 p.m. and on Wednesday, May 20, at 7 a.m.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, “And Then They Came for Us” will air on Tuesday, May 19, at 5 a.m., followed at 6 a.m. by “Relocation, Arkansas.” “The Ito Sisters” will follow at 4 p.m.

On KVIE World in Sacramento, “And Then They Came for Us” will air on Monday, May 18, at 9 p.m., followed by “Relocation, Arkansas” at 10 p.m. The two programs will be repeated on Tuesday, May 19, at 5 and 6 a.m. “The Ito Sisters” will follow at 4 and 11 p.m. “And Then They Came for Us” will be rebroadcast on Sunday, May 24, at 1 a.m.

“And Then They Came for Us” will also air on Hawaii PBS on Saturday, May 23, at 9 p.m.

To stream the film on Vimeo on Demand, click here.

There has been a large increase in hateful attacks against Asian Americans resulting in people of all age groups being bullied, spat at and physically attacked in several cities across the country. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump and his allies have consistently referred to the disease as the “Chinese virus,” the “Wuhan virus” and the “kung flu,” resulting in animosity against Asian Americans.

This is not the first time Asian Americans have been scapegoated by xenophobia, and learning the lessons from the unconstitutional incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II is an important step in not repeating history.

Read about the rise of anti-Asian American incidents across the country here.

If you missed the PBS premiere of the groundbreaking five-part series “Asian Americans,” you can watch selected segments here.

Facing History and Ourselves makes “And Then They Came for Us” available as a teaching resource. If you are a high school teacher looking for material on the incarceration of Japanese Americans, click here. 

Actor/activist George Takei, who was honored by the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Facing History as an Upstander, participated in a virtual event, “Racism: Then and Now,” hosted by Facing History on April 14. In answer to the question “What change would you like to see?,” Takei responded, with a nod to Barack Obama: “Change won’t come if you wait for a better time … We are the change we have been waiting for … to make the ideals of our democracy real.”

Watch the whole interview here.

To purchase for the DVD of “And Then They Came for Us” for home use, click here. To purchase the film for community organizations, high schools and public libraries, click here.

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