CALENDAR LISTING: National Day of Remembrance
Eighty years ago, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 that forced the removal and incarceration of 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent during World War II. The bipartisan 1988 Civil Liberties Act resulted in the historic apology and redress for Japanese Americans, reparation payments to individuals and a grant program for historical preservation and education that has been a catalyst for an ever-evolving way to share this complicated history.
This year, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is joining the National Park Service and the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation to mark the annual Day of Remembrance in a weekend of digital programming to explore the Japanese American community's struggle for recognition and redress with those who lived it and hear how the country continues to reckon with this history today. For information, visit the Day of Remembrance website.
Speakers: The Director of the Park Service, Charles F. "Chuck" Sams III, will join with the Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie Bunch and Anthea M. Hartig, the Elizabeth MacMillan Director of the National Museum of American History, in welcoming representatives of the Biden administration; the Ambassador of Japan to the United States of America, the Honorable Koji Tomita, former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta and noted scholars to the opening night ceremony. For details, please visit the events calendar.
PANEL DISCUSSIONS Feb 19-20
Scholar and historian Erin Aoyama, a PhD Candidate in American Studies at Brown University, Programs & Research Fellow at Minidoka National Historic Site, and a curatorial assistant at the Japanese American National Museum, will lead and moderate each of the panel discussions.
Saturday, Feb. 19
As the nation continues to wrestle with its long and complex history of racial injustice, the panel will look back on the Japanese American community's struggle for recognition and redress. In this session, cultural and museum leaders discuss early exhibits that set the stage for present-day work national and community institutions’ present-day work.
Speakers: Kevin Gover, Smithsonian Under Secretary for Museums and Culture; Dr. Franklin Odo, former director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and Professor at Amherst College; Karen Ishizuka, Japanese American National Museum media producer and Senior Curator; Hanako Wakatsuki, Superintendent of Honouliuli National Historic Site; Shirley Ann Higuchi, HMWF chair; Ann Burroughs, Japanese American National Museum president and CEO.
Community members are creating paths to justice, healing and renewal through annual events, virtual pilgrimages, and advocacy.
Speakers: Karen Korematsu, Fred T. Korematsu Institute founder and executive director; Mia Russell, Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium manager; Kimiko Marr, Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages founder/CEO; Barbara Takei, Tule Lake Committee CFO; Mike Ishii, NYC DOR and Tsuru for Solidarity Co-chair.
In commemorating the 80th anniversary of the signing of EO 9066, the panel will explore how the date has been reclaimed to seek justice. Frank Abe was instrumental in organizing the first Day of Remembrance in Seattle in 1978 with Frank Chin and Henry Miyatake. Community events became the center of the movement to demand redress from the federal government.
Speakers: Frank Abe, Rsisters.com; Susan Hayase, San Jose Nikkei Resisters founder; David Inoue, Japanese American Citizens League National executive director; Brian Niiya, Densho content director.
Sunday, Feb. 20
In preserving and interpreting the sites of Japanese American history and confinement, it is key to engage the community in a thoughtful and meaningful way. This panel will feature both site managers and community members working together through preservation and education.
Speakers: Dakota Russell, HMWF executive director; Dan Sakura, Friends of Minidoka vice chair; Kirsten Leong, Amache Alliance; Nate Gyotoku, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i, Honouliuli National Historic Site president and executive director; Phil Tajitsu Nash, University of Maryland Asian American history professor.
This panel looks at art as an artifact of history and history as an inspiration for art. Four Nikkei artists will discuss how they have drawn inspiration from their efforts to understand and educate about Japanese American incarceration and share their process and how personal history has influenced their work.
Speakers: Derek Mio, actor; Nikki Nojima Louis, New Mexico Japanese American Citizens League special events coordinator; Erin Shigaki Minidoka, Pilgrimage Planning Committee and Tsuru for Solidarity community activist; traci kato-kiriyama, Tuesday Night Project; Setsuko Winchester, Yellow Bowl Project creator.
As the generation that experienced the incarceration passes on, the next generation feels a pressing responsibility to continue the stewardship and to connect with larger social justice causes. Five leaders in the community will discuss embracing this challenge in their everyday work to inspire the next generation.
Speakers: Eric Komatsu (Kizuna); Connie Masuoka, Portland JACL board member; Vinicius Taguchi, Twin Cities JACL president; Erika Moritsugu, White House Deputy Assistant to the President and Asian American and Pacific Islander Senior Liaison; Jeffrey Robinson, American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director and Director of the Trone, Producer, "Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America"
Through incomparable collections, rigorous research and dynamic public outreach, the National Museum of American History seeks to empower people to create a more just and compassionate future by examining, preserving and sharing the complexity of our past. The museum, located on Constitution Avenue N.W., between 12th and 14th streets, is open Friday through Tuesday between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Admission is free, and passes are not required. The doors of the museum are always open online and the virtual museum continues to expand its offerings, including online exhibitions, K–12 educational materials and programs. The public can follow the museum on social media on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. For more information, go to https://americanhistory.si.edu. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.
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