Ralph Lazo Film to Screen at Self Help Graphics

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The communities of Boyle Heights and Little Tokyo continue the connections between Mexican Americans and Japanese Americans with the showing of “Stand Up for Justice” and “Maceo: Demon Drummer.”

A long-established Chicano arts organization, Self Help Graphics, along with Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR) and Visual Communications, will hold the screening at Self Help Graphics on Thursday, Aug. 18, at 7:30 p.m.

Alexis Cruz plays Ralph Lazo.

“Stand Up for Justice” is based on the true story of a 16-year-old, Mexican-Irish American high school student from Belmont High School who joined his Japanese American friends at Manzanar during World War II.  Ralph Lazo voluntarily lived at Manzanar as the only non-Japanese (non-spouse), was drafted from the camp, and in later years continued to support his Japanese American friends in their fight for redress from the government.

Los Angeles Times film critic Kevin Thomas described “Stand Up for Justice” as “a heart-wrenching 30-minute drama that deserves to become a feature-length film.”

“Maceo: Demon Drummer” is about Maceo Hernandez, who will be at the screening. The East Los Angeles native began playing taiko drums with Sozenji Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles, eventually playing with the world-famous Ondekoza taiko troupe. This video by John Esaki records his intriguing cross-cultural adventure and how it helped him overcome a devastating leg amputation.

After the films, members of the community will answer questions and share plans for future screenings and teacher workshops. Attendees may also purchase DVDs. The audience is invited to stay for refreshments.

For more information, call NCRR at (213) 284-0336 or Self Help Graphics at (323) 881-6444. Self Help Graphics is one stop away (Pico-Aliso) from the Little Tokyo stop on the Gold Line, at 1300 E. First St. Street parking is available.

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