JACL Announces San Francisco High School Program to Bridge and Build Communities

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), in collaboration with the San Francisco Bay Area Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Tule Lake Committee, will be sponsoring a program whose goal is to bridge communities and build partnerships of understanding.

Titled “Bridging Communities: Preserving the Legacy,” the program is funded by the National Park Service Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) Grant Program.

Bridging Communities participants visit the site of the Tule Lake concentration camp.

Starting early next year, the Bridging Communities program is designed to educate and empower Japanese American, American Muslim and other high school youth through a series of discussions, field trips, and a visit to the Tule Lake concentration camp site. The 2013 program is being dedicated to the memory of local community philanthropist Sadako Ishizaki.

The program will feature six Saturday sessions from January to June. Through interactive workshops, participants will engage in a variety of topics such as intersections of identity, American Muslim and Japanese American history, civil rights and activism. The workshops will be held at a number of locations, including the JACL National Headquarters in San Francisco, the San Jose JACL Building in Japantown, and a mosque.

The visit to Tule Lake will be a three-day, two-night trip during which students will participate in a collaborative service learning project with the National Park Service. A culmination will follow, where participants will share their interpretations of the camps, as seen through the eyes of their generation.

Now entering its second year in the San Francisco Bay Area, “Bridging Communities” arose from the realization that post-9/11, American Muslims faced discrimination and hostilities similar to that faced by Japanese Americans during World War II. The program is designed for youth to learn about the strengths and differences between the Japanese American and American Muslim communities so that a sense of compassion and future solidarity persists and history is not forgotten.

The program is open to Bay Area high school students of all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Applications are now available, and are due by Jan. 4. Completed applications should be sent to Jess Kyo, the Bridging Communities Sadako Ishizaki intern, at [email protected]

For more information and applications, visit http://bcsfba.wordpress.com/, email Kyo, or call JACL Regional Director Patty Wada at (415) 345-1075.

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