Little Tokyo-Aligned Groups Unite in Opposition to Use of Fort Sill as Detention Center

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(Published June 22, 2019)

The following is a joint statement from several Los Angeles-based community organizations.

Representatives of several community organizations located in, or aligned with, Little Tokyo, will protest the White House’s plans to use Fort Sill in Oklahoma as a detention center for immigrant children and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention practices, in general, on June 27, 2019, at 7 p.m. on the plaza of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo.

The groups are demanding an end to the inhumane conditions at ICE facilities, an end to family separation policies, and for compassion and humanitarianism toward all people. All who share concern about these issues are invited to participate.

East West Players, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo Service Center, Manzanar Committee, Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress, Nikkei Progressives, Tuesday Night Project, Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition, Vigilant Love, and Visual Communications are organizing the protest.

Additionally, the representatives announced that they support and stand in solidarity with those who will be protesting the White House’s plans at Fort Sill itself on June 22; those participating in Tsuru for Solidarity will express their outrage that history appears to be repeating itself again (tsuru is the Japanese word for “crane”).

During World War II, more than 700 people of Japanese ancestry were unjustly incarcerated at Fort Sill. Earlier, members of the Apache tribe who had been forcibly removed from their ancestral lands were incarcerated there. Further, Fort Sill was a site where Native American children taken from their families were placed in boarding school — a government attempt to destroy their identity and culture.

“In 1942, Japanese Americans were incarcerated with no due process and forced into sub-standard living conditions in concentration camps. We know concentration camps and these ICE facilities are indeed modern day concentration camps. The White House’s plans must spur us into action. Never again is now!” asserted the group’s representatives.

“We stand in solidarity with those making the journey to Fort Sill to voice their opposition and we will work not only with our own communities, but with other communities to oppose the White House’s inhumane and unjust detention practices. We call on all people to join us in our efforts to stop these detentions.”

The June 27 rally is free and open to the public. The Japanese American National Museum is located at 100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles. For more information, please call (213) 625-0414.

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1 Comment

  1. William Chinn on

    Ft. Sill is a working U.S. Army military base and has been for decades. Located outside Oklahoma City it was also used in 2014 by President Obama to house illegal immigrants (this was omitted in the article).

    From the article I could not determine whether the protest was because it was used during WWII for relocation, or because of the minors being held there. If for relocation that was 70+ years ago and nothing should be unused for that long. If for minors being held there, it was explained as an overflow area. The minors are not under arrest by law; they have no responsible family guardians to care for them. If not at Ft. Sill, where else would you like to care for them.

    Yes, I was stationed at Ft. Sill for training in 1967 while serving in the U.S. Army.

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