Day of Remembrance 2022

National Day of Remembrance: 80 Years of Reckoning

Friday, February 18, 2022 @ 7:00 p.m. ET

Artist Frank S. Fujii created this logo for the first Day of Remembrance (1978)

February 19, 2022, marks 80 years of racial reckoning since the signing of Executive Order 9066 that led to the wrongful incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. National Day of Remembrance: 80 Years of Reckoning, a collaborative event co-hosted by the National Park Service, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, and Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation is a three-day program inspired by Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III’s 2020 initiative “Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past,” which speaks to the responsibility of the Smithsonian and all museums:

Secretary Bunch stated, “[O]ur vision is to create a hopeful future for all people using history and reconciliation to contextualize and transform our understandings and responses to race and racism.” He mentioned in another interview that “[i]n a divided moment, the Smithsonian can remind audiences of our shared history, heritage and hopes for the future.” 

As we commemorate the 80th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, we look back on the museum’s 1987 exhibition A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the U.S. Constitution. This exhibition featured the Japanese American immigration story up to incarceration and emphasized the misinformation and racism that enabled this great injustice to happen. Just four years before the opening of the exhibition, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, a congressional study resulting in a process of hearings and reconciliation, had concluded that the incarceration was due to “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” The exhibition contextualized the congressional findings and had an immense impact on Congress, which thereafter passed the 1988 Civil Liberties Act. The Civil Liberties Act, signed by President Ronald Reagan, authorized historic, bipartisan redress and reparation payments to individuals who were incarcerated and a grant program for historical preservation and education. This act has been a catalyst for an ever-evolving reckoning of the Japanese American community and allies to this day.

It is our hope that this Day of Remembrance, in the spirit of Secretary Bunch’s initiative, will spark positive dialogue, creative partnerships, and cross-community engagement in our “shared future.”

Learn about the Japanese American community's struggle for recognition and redress from those who lived it and hear from those who continue to reckon with this history today. Please join us for our opening program and six live-streamed panel discussions involving 30 dynamic leaders from around the country who are making a difference.

About this image: Artist Frank S. Fujii was incarcerated at Tule Lake Camp Segregation Center during World War II. He created this logo in 1978 for the first Day of Remembrance event in Seattle and used it to promote the effort to earn reparations and redress for Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II. It was Fujii’s hope that others in the community would also use it. The circular logo incorporates an image of barbed wire and a graphic representation of first, second, and third generations as it evokes the traditional style of a Japanese family crest. Special thanks to Ann Fujii for permission to use the graphic. 

 

ONLINE EVENT

Friday, February 18
7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT/2:00 p.m. HT

National Day of Remembrance: 80 Years of Reckoning

Opening Ceremony

Link: National Day of Remembrance: 80 Years of Reckoning Opening Program

National Park Service Director Charles F. "Chuck" Sams III is joined by the Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie G. Bunch III and National Museum of American History Elizabeth MacMillan Director Anthea M. Hartig, PhD, in welcoming the Honorable Koji Tomita; Ambassador of Japan to the United States of America; Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, Chair of the Board of Trustees Japanese American National Museum; representatives of the Biden administration; and noted scholars in this inspiring opening-night ceremony.

 

Saturday, February 19

Join moderator Erin Aoyama for a series of six 60 to 90-minute panels over two days. Aoyama is a PhD Candidate in American Studies at Brown University, a programs and research fellow at Minidoka National Historic Site, and a curatorial assistant at the Japanese American National Museum.

 

Panel Discussions

1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT/8:00 a.m. HT

Racial Reckoning and Japanese American Museums

Link: Racial Reckoning and Japanese American Museums

As our nation continues to wrestle with its long and complex history of racial injustice, join us as we look back on another moment of reckoning: the Japanese American community's struggle for recognition and redress. Since the early days of the redress movement, museums have played a powerful supporting role in this work. In this session, hear from cultural and museum leaders about early exhibitions that set the stage for much of the ongoing work that national and community institutions are undertaking today.    

Kevin Gover, Under Secretary for Museums and Culture at the Smithsonian, will open this panel by introducing the Smithsonian’s “Our Shared Future” initiative and explaining the role that museums can play in the national conversation about race. The panel will then explore how museums and historic sites in the present day are rising to meet the current moment.

Speakers: Kevin Gover (Smithsonian), Dr. Franklin Odo (Amherst College, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center), Karen Ishizuka (Japanese American National Museum ), Hanako Wakatsuki (National Park Service), Shirley Ann Higuchi (Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation), Ann Burroughs (Japanese American National Museum)

 

3:00 p.m. ET/noon PT/10:00 a.m. HT

Creating Paths to Justice, Healing, and Renewal 

Link: Creating Paths to Justice, Healing, and Renewal

Though we have come so far as a community, in large part thanks to the truth-telling jump started by the redress movement, there is still much work to be done to promote education and healing within the Japanese American community and to advocate for other marginalized groups. This panel will feature community members who are doing this work through annual events, consortia, virtual pilgrimages, advocacy, and creating new paths to justice and healing.

Speakers: Karen Korematsu (Fred T. Korematsu Institute, Fred Korematsu Day), Mia Russell (Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium), Kimiko Marr (Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages), Barbara Takei (Tule Lake Committee), Mike Ishii (NYC Day of Remembrance and Tsuru for Solidarity)

 

5:00 p.m. ET/2:00 p.m. PT/noon HT

Day of Remembrances: Standing for Redress and Reclaiming History

Link: Day of Remembrances: Standing for Redress and Reclaiming History

As we commemorate the 80th anniversary of the signing of EO 9066, we must also take time to celebrate how the community has reclaimed this date to seek justice. Day of Remembrances sprang up across the country after the first one held in 1978 in Seattle, Washington, planned by leaders Frank Chin and Henry Miyatake. They created a groundswell of support for U.S. government reparations and redress. Frank Abe assisted in organizing that first event. In this panel, Frank Abe and Susan Hayase will discuss the evolution of these events through first person accounts. Historian Brian Niiya and JACL Executive Director David Inoue will reflect on the legacy of the Day of Remembrance, and discuss its role in the Japanese American community today.

Speakers: Frank Abe (Resisters.com), Susan Hayase (San Jose Nikkei Resisters), David Inoue (Japanese American Citizens League), Brian Niiya (Densho)

 

Sunday, February 20

1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT/8:00 a.m. HT

Restorative Justice and Healing in Preservation and Interpretation Through Community Engagement 

Link: Restorative Justice and Healing in Preservation and Interpretation Through Community Engagement

One of the most important places to address race and injustice is the historical landscape itself. In preserving and interpreting the sites of Japanese American history and confinement, it is key to engage the community in a meaningful way. This panel will feature site managers and community members who are working together to address a wide range of issues and to seek justice through preservation and education.

Speakers: Dakota Russell (Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation), Dan Sakura (Friends of Minidoka), Kirsten Leong (Amache Alliance), Nate Gyotoku(Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, Honouliuli National Historic Site), Phil Tajitsu Nash (Japanese Latin Americans, Campaign for Justice)

 

3:00 p.m. ET/noon PT/10:00 a.m. HT

Historic Preservation and Engagement Through the Arts

Link: Historic Preservation and Engagement Through the Arts

The relationship between art and history is ever evolving and powerful. Art can be an artifact of history; history can inspire art. Join us for this panel with four Nikkei artists who have drawn inspiration from their efforts to understand and educate about Japanese American incarceration during World War II. Each artist will share their process and how their work has been influenced by this very personal history.

Speakers: Derek Mio (Actor), Nikki Nojima Louis (New Mexico Japanese American Citizens League), Erin Shigaki (Purple Gate Design, Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee, and Tsuru for Solidarity), traci kato-kiriyama (Tuesday Night Project), Setsuko Winchester (Yellow Bowl Project)

 

5:00 p.m. ET/2:00 p.m. PT/noon HT

Passing on the Torch and Empowering the Community

Link: Passing on the Torch and Empowering the Community

The Japanese American community is resilient and continues to inspire the next generation, our elders, and other communities. As the generation that experienced the incarceration passes on, the next generation feels a pressing responsibility to continue the stewardship of this history and connect it to larger social justice causes. Join these five inspiring leaders who embrace this challenge in their everyday work and lead the next generation.

Speakers: Bryce Ikemura (Kizuna), Connie Masuoka (Portland Japanese American Citizens League), Vinicius Taguchi (Twin Cities Japanese American Citizens League), Erika Moritsugu (White House), Jeffery Robinson (American Civil Liberties Union, Producer, "Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America")