NIKKEI PROGRESSIVES SEEKS COMMUNITY SUPPORT FOR ‘FAMILIES BELONG TOGETHER’ PROJECT 

Members to carry solidarity quilt and tsuru to protest family separation in Texas.

Posted On MARCH 25, 2019 Civil RightsCommunity NewsPolitics in the Rafu Shimpo

Volunteers fold cranes at the Far East Lounge in Little Tokyo on March 16.

Nikkei Progressives (NP) invites members of the Japanese American community to participate in its “Families Belong Together” Quilt Project, which seeks to raise awareness and support for families and children suffering from detention and family separation at the border.

As of today, there are still children who are separated from their parents, and toddlers and even infants are being held in detention in places like the “Family Residential Center” in Dilley, Texas. Young children have died while in border control custody or shortly after leaving detention centers. Pediatricians have warned about the long-term psychological, cognitive and emotional impact detention and family separation will have on these children.

The quilt project is part of the national “Never Again Is Now” campaign, which began in 2018 in response to the Trump Administration’s inhumane “zero tolerance” policy of separating children from their parents and holding them in detention. Linking the World War II experience of family separation and detention with today’s events, Japanese American organizations and individuals throughout the country quickly responded, saying, “Never Again Is Now!”

On March 30, NP members Tony Osumi, Jenni Kuida and Sean Miura will join Japanese Americans from throughout the country to protest against the incarceration of immigrant families and children at the family detention center in Dilley. NP’s quilt with messages of solidarity and support will be displayed, along with over 1,000 tsuru (cranes) folded by NP members and supporters this past week. Over 10,000 “Tsuru for Solidarity” will be hung on fences at the Dilley site.

Organizers explain, “We want children and families separated and incarcerated in detention sites or separated by the Muslim travel ban to know that Japanese Americans are fighting for them.”

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A square from the “Families Belong Together Quilt.”

A square from the “Families Belong Together Quilt.”

A square from the “Families Belong Together” Quilt

A square from the “Families Belong Together” Quilt

Source: http://www.rafu.com/2019/03/nikkei-progres...

NIKKEI PROGRESSIVES WORKSHOP FOR ‘FAMILIES BELONG TOGETHER’ QUILT 

Posted On DECEMBER 10, 2018 Civil RightsCommunity News in Rafu Shimpo

Zen Sekizawa and Mario Correa

Nikkei Progressives (NP) invites the Japanese American community to participate in a creative way to show support for immigrants and refugees who are currently being detained and many of whom continue to face family separation.

On Saturday, Dec. 15, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the fifth-floor Cultural Room at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, 244 San Pedro St. in Little Tokyo, NP is hosting a community art workshop to begin creating a beautiful quilt full of art and messages of solidarity and support. This workshop will be led by artists Zen Sekizawa and Mario Correa.

NP hopes that individuals, community organizations, churches and all people concerned with civil and human rights will join this effort. The Families Belong Together (FBT) Quilt will be composed of many panels (squares) separately created by groups and individuals.

The FBT Quilt project is part of a national Never Again Is Now Campaign, which draws parallels between the Japanese American concentration camp experience and the detention and family separation experienced by many immigrants and refugees today.

This art piece by Amy Uyematsu was one of the first submissions to the quilt.

The purpose of the quilt is:

• To visually express messages of solidarity with immigrants and refugees

• To involve many sectors of the Asian American community, including community organizations, artists, youth, churches/temples, concerned individuals

• To raise funds/donations to directly help detainees, reunite families, and assist Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients

• To use and display the quilt at events, marches, rallies, and venues

Any individual or organization interested in creating a panel can obtain one of three sizes of canvas squares: 16”, 24” and 32”. These squares can be painted, appliquéd, decoupaged or hand-drawn. Digital files can also be printed onto the canvas. Poetry or other messages can be incorporated.

Donations for squares will be given to immigrant and refugee families; however, donations are not required. Families and all age groups are welcome. Participants need not be artists or even have artistic skills to attend. Come with your ideas and any photos, drawings, poetry or words that inspire you.

For more information, contact Nikkei Progressives at nikkeiprogressives@gmail.com.

About the Artists

Los Angeles artist Mario Correa has developed a multidisciplinary painting practice that encompasses drawing, painting, printmaking, installation, objects and furniture. Enlisting a wide variety of techniques and materials, the artist moves through genres of abstraction, still life, and portraiture, all with an emphasis on mark making and grounded in gesture and physicality.

Zen Sekizawa is a photographer, director and artist. In 2014, she released her first book, “You and I See Why,” a collection of images that reflect notes written to herself from 2009 to 2014, published by Hesse Press. In 2017, she photographed a series celebrating Japanese American activists in Los Angeles. Sekizawa’s childhood was spent at The Atomic Cafe, a Los Angeles punk rock institution, owned and operated by her family in Little Tokyo.

In 2017, after being commissioned to build tables and chairs for n/naka restaurant, Correa and Sekizawa started MANO YA, a custom object and furniture shop in Chinatown, which represents the collaboration between both artists. Each piece is designed, built, and finished by hand, integrating fine art media, design and classic woodworking techniques, especially inspired by Mexican and Japanese cultural traditions in these fields.

Correa and Sekizawa will help workshop participants to create quilt pieces utilizing print-making techniques such as screen printing, wood blocks and free-form drawing and painting.

When asked why they were getting involved in the Families Belong Together Quilt, they responded, “We feel it is important as artists to share our resources and creative labor with our community of Little Tokyo and other culturally specific communities like Chinatown and Boyle Heights which are all under threat of erasure by gentrification and displacement. We 100 percent oppose racist, immoral and illegal immigration policies.”



Zen Sekizawa and Mario Correa

Zen Sekizawa and Mario Correa

This art piece by Amy Uyematsu was one of the first submissions to the quilt.

This art piece by Amy Uyematsu was one of the first submissions to the quilt.

Source: http://www.rafu.com/2018/12/nikkei-progres...

VOTERS WANTED

Posted On OCTOBER 8, 2018 Community NewsPolitics in Rafu Shimpo

Ahead of the Nov. 6 mid-term elections and in conjunction with National Voter Registration Day (Sept. 25), Nikkei Progressives have been holding a series of voter registration drives at such venues as Little Tokyo Towers, Japanese Village Plaza, Tuesday Night Café at Union Center for the Arts, and FandangObon at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center. Pictured are (clockwise from top left) June Hibino, Jan Tokumaru, Kanji Sahara and Carrie Morita at Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute’s Kansha Craft Show on Sept. 30. The group will also have a table at the next Tuesday Night Café on Oct. 16. The deadline to register for the next election is Oct. 22. GOTV (get out the vote) activities in Orange County are also planned.


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Source: http://www.rafu.com/2018/10/voters-wanted/

2019 DOR FOCUSES ON ‘KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE AND FAMILIES TOGETHER’ 

Posted On MARCH 5, 2019 Civil RightsCommunity NewsPolitics in Rafu Shimpo

Above and below: Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts carried banners representing the War Relocation Authority and Justice Department camps where Japanese Americans were detained during World War II.

By J.K. YAMAMOTO, Rafu Staff Writer

Parallels between the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and current events were explored at the 2019 Day of Remembrance, whose theme was “Behind Barbed Wire: Keeping Children Safe and Families Together,” held Feb. 16 at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo.

The program began a performance by L.A. Taiko Ichiza and actors Edward Hong and Kelvin Han Yee reading letters written by members of the Kondo family — correspondence between a Nisei son, Henry, serving with the 442ndRegimental Combat Team and his Issei father, Yasaku, in camp. Henry was killed in action in France in 1944.

Co-emcee Carrie Morita of Nikkei Progressives noted, “This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first DOR held in Los Angeles. Sue Kunitomi Embrey [of the Manzanar Committee]attended the actual very first DOR in Seattle in 1978. She recognized the importance of DOR and the following year, the very first DOR was held here right out on this plaza … We welcome Phil Shigekuni, who is here in the audience … Phil was a member of the very first planning committee of that DOR 40 years ago …

“At that time it was a program meant to bring the community together to reflect on the harsh impact and the legacy of the executive order issued on Feb. 19, 1942 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but it was during the 1980s and 1990s the DOR also served to update the community on the campaign for reparations and to involve them in the continuing fight for redress.”

On a personal note, Morita said, “My mother’s family was from the small farming community of Parlier near Fresno and they were incarcerated at Gila River, Arizona while my father’s family and many of their friends from San Diego were sent to Poston, Arizona. My father was denied enlistment and was declared an enemy alien in spite of being born in California, but he was later drafted out of Poston and joined the 232nd Engineers of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.”

Hideki Fukusumi of Kizuna and Carrie Morita of Nikkei Progressives served as emcees.

Co-emcee Hideki Fukusumi of Kizuna described himself as a Shin-Nisei who is half Japanese and half Thai. “So my experience is very different than Carrie’s, but we both share a lot through community work, through Nikkei Progressives and other activities … This is actually my first time emceeing any type of community event, so it’s quite an honor to be here.”

JANM President and CEO Ann Burroughs, who fought against apartheid in her native South Africa and was recently elected chair of the General Assembly of Amnesty International, said, “Our theme for this year … could not be more appropriate given the strong racist parallels between the past and the present. Two years ago we gathered here in this hall to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 under the pall of the Muslim bans. And this year we mark the 77th anniversary in the face of a national emergency, barely 24 hours old. Each is an example of executive action based on false and misleading information.

“The incarceration was based on a deliberate lie, a lie that people of Japanese ancestry were a threat to national security, a lie that was fueled by bigotry and prejudice, and this is no different. Asylum seekers, migrants and refugees are no more a threat to national security than your families were in 1942. The similarities and the parallels are stark — a climate of naked racism … a false national security threat that incarcerated over 120,000 people 77 years ago, and then today the impetus for a wall that will close our southern border to people fleeing violence and persecution.

President and CEO Ann Burroughs spoke on behalf of JANM.

“The real crisis is the assault on the right to asylum. It’s a fundamental human right that is upheld in the laws of this country, which state very clearly that people have the right to seek asylum from violence and persecution. Instead of affording them the protection that our law and international law requires, they have been demonized and their lives and safety used as pawns in a political game. The real crisis is the separation of children and their families at the border. The real crisis is the incarceration of between 14,000 and 16,000 children in detention centers across the country.

“It’s this crisis and the policy that gave rise to it that history will surely recognize as a crime against humanity. It remains to be seen whether the Supreme Court will uphold this manufactured emergency as it did the incarceration and the Muslim ban. And it remains to be seen whether it will once again ignore the underlying racism and prejudice that breathes life into these deeply abhorrent and discriminatory policies. Our job is to make sure that there is no mistaking the tragic and dire consequences of unfettered and irresponsible and unlawful executive action.

“This is a community that understands it better than most and I’m so proud that we’ve all chosen to make this stand under JANM’s roof.”

JANM was also represented by Gene Kanamori, a member of the Board of Governors.

Fukusumi added, “Last September when the DOR Committee began to meet to develop today’s program, we were bombarded with news about the harsh treatment of refugees and asylum seekers at our southern border. It was incredibly tough to watch as we saw children forcibly separated from their families and housed in cages. For many of us, it felt too familiar, like many of our parents and grandparents who were torn from their homes and communities during World War II and whose families were often separated into different camps.”

Actors Edward Hong and Kelvin Han Yee read actual correspondence between a Nisei soldier of the 442nd RCT and his Issei father in camp.

“After our community waged a historic campaign to demand justice and got the support of many other justice-minded individuals and communities, Congress passed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and President Ronald Reagan apologized to Japanese Americans for that executive action that was determined to be based on racism, wartime hysteria and the failure of political leadership,” Morita said. “Over 82,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese Latin Americans received a letter of apology from the president and individual monetary reparations. We must continue to tell the Japanese American incarceration story in the hope that it can be a cautionary tale for all Americans about the violation of human rights.”

A camp roll call and procession were held to remember those who were incarcerated, particularly the Issei and Nisei whose sacrifices and accomplishments were cut short. Banners representing the camps were carried by members of Nishi Hongwanji (Boy Scout Troop 738 and Girl Scout Troop 12135), Venice Japanese Community Center (Boy Scout Troop 764), and Christ the King Lutheran Church (Boy Scout Troop 242). The War Relocation Authority camps — Amache, Gila River, Heart Mountain, Jerome, Manzanar, Minidoka, Poston, Rohwer, Topaz, and Tule Lake — were represented along with Crystal City and other Department of Justice camps.

The “In Memoriam” segment included redress activists such as Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga, who was recognized at last year’s DOR.

Veterans and former incarcerees were asked to stand and be recognized. Those with family ties to a particular camp, as well as those without a direct connection to the camps, also stood.

“Let’s take a moment to honor all who were forcibly removed and lived in America’s concentration camps as well as those Japanese Americans who lived outside of the military zones and suffered from the racism and hatred heightened by the executive order,” said Morita. “We also pay tribute to the thousands of Japanese Latin Americans, German and Italian Americans who were incarcerated by the U.S. government.

“And we pay respects to all of those who are no longer with us, family members, friends, activists, leaders who left our community and the country a tremendous legacy about the camps, about rebuilding lives and communities, about the Japanese American experience and about fighting for justice.

Kay Ochi and Richard Katsuda of Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress paid tribute to notable individuals who have passed during the past year, including redress activist Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga, who attended the 2018 DOR.

Fukusumi pointed out a quilt displayed on the wall. “When we see the current administration’s relentless push for a Muslim ban and demonizing refugees and asylum seekers, we know that we must speak out and let our concerns be known. There is a national network of Japanese Americans called Never Again Is Now that is coordinating efforts to speak out as part of this effort. Nikkei Progressives here in L.A. just completed their ‘Families Belong Together’ quilt …

“This quilt is a tangible show of support for immigrants and refugees who suffer from detention, family separation and harsh conditions at the border. Funds have been donated as a part of this … All the money donated will go to the detainees and families who have been separated.”

First of two parts.

Photos by MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo


Above and below: Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts carried banners representing the War Relocation Authority and Justice Department camps where Japanese Americans were detained during World War II.

Above and below: Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts carried banners representing the War Relocation Authority and Justice Department camps where Japanese Americans were detained during World War II.

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Hideki Fukusumi of Kizuna and Carrie Morita of Nikkei Progressives served as emcees.

Hideki Fukusumi of Kizuna and Carrie Morita of Nikkei Progressives served as emcees.

President and CEO Ann Burroughs spoke on behalf of JANM.

President and CEO Ann Burroughs spoke on behalf of JANM.

Actors Edward Hong and Kelvin Han Yee read actual correspondence between a Nisei soldier of the 442nd RCT and his Issei father in camp.

Actors Edward Hong and Kelvin Han Yee read actual correspondence between a Nisei soldier of the 442nd RCT and his Issei father in camp.

The “In Memoriam” segment included redress activists such as Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga, who was recognized at last year’s DOR.

The “In Memoriam” segment included redress activists such as Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga, who was recognized at last year’s DOR.

Source: http://www.rafu.com/2019/03/2019-dor-focus...