This year is the 75th anniversary of the internment of over 120,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese Peruvians in concentration camps during World War II under the executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Today the Trump administration is justifying this action by arguing that it would be acceptable today for Muslims and other select groups be incarcerated again.This panel will look at the struggle against the internment and lessons for today with California historian Charles Wollenberg, who is currently completing a book about civil rights attorney Wayne M. Collins. During the 1940s, Collins bucked prejudice and war hysteria to take cases related to Japanese American evacuation and internment. Among others, Collins defended Fred Korematsu, a Japanese American citizen who refused to report for the camps and was imprisoned. The high profile Korematsu case reached the Supreme Court. Wollenberg’s talk is entitled “Wayne Collins: Rebel with a Cause.” In it, Wollenberg will discuss Collins’ legal defense of Nikkei (second generation) rights and liberties, including the Korematsu case. Author Laura Atkins, who is co-author with Stan Yogi of “Fred Korematsu Speaks,” will also discuss this important book for young people about the life of Fred Korematsu. Civil Rights Activist Grace Shimizu is Director of the Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project and the Campaign for Justice: Redress Now for Japanese Latin American Internees. She will speak about the ongoing fight for the Peruvian Japanese who were kidnapped from Peru by the FBI and brought to the United States to be used to trade for US prisoners of war. Panel member ILWU historian Harvey Schwartz has written about the role of the ILWU in fighting discrimination after the war against Japanese Americans. Larry Yamamoto, Bay Area artist, camp survivor, and retired ILWU longshore worker, will serve as commentator for the event.Peter Yamamoto of the National Japanese American Historical Society will chair the program.
July 1, 2017 “Internment, Japanese Americans, Labor and The Lessons for Today