By JULIE YUMI HATTA
SAN FRANCISCO — On June 27, George and Brad Takei, en route to the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley, where George would be the keynote for a seminar on “The LGBTQ community and Shin Buddhism,” took a side trip to the Presidio of San Francisco’s Building 640, home of the Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center.
The National Japanese American Historical Society just happened to be doing a teacher training session on the Tule Lake internment camp, where Takei was incarcerated as a 5-year-old along with his family.
He graciously shared his memories of the infamous loyalty oath and its divisive impact on the community. He shared his appreciation of civil rights attorney Wayne Collins’ dedicated efforts over decades to assist those who needed legal services as “no-no’s,” including his family, renunciants and others who were stigmatized as a part of the war hysteria.
“If not for Wayne Collins, I would not be standing here today,” he told the teachers.
Now the teachers, who would be attending the Tule Lake Pilgrimage over the Fourth of July weekend, could share the story of one internee’s journey from behind barbed wire to uncharted galaxies. And how he continues to work for justice and equality for all in many arenas, including the LGBTQ community.
“To Be Takei,” a new documentary on the actor/activist’s life and advocacy, was just released on DirecTV. For more information, visit www.directv.com/movies.