20 Years After Redress:
Civil Liberties and War

28th Annual San Jose
Day of Remembrance

Feb 17, 2008

 

Go to photo gallery

 


Photos courtesy of Andy Frazer
www.gorillasites.com

Traditional candlelight procession through historic Japantown

   
 

The program for the 28th Annual Day of Remembrance, “20 Years After Redress: Civil Liberties and War," centered on a reflection on the landmark Civil Liberties Act of 1988, in the context of today's wartime environment.

Appropriately, longtime NOC member, Gary Jio, was the emcee for the evening as he was one of the many local community activists who fought for Redress during the 1980's.

Carolyn Kameya was also a NOC activist during that same period. Although Carolyn had no family connections to Internment, she recalled how her sensitivities to racism were formed during her adolescence, a time when she was taunted for her mixed race heritage. She also witnessed the great turbulence of the Vietnam War and the struggle for civil rights which had a great impact on her later involvement with the Redress movement.

Carolyn recounted the difficult efforts to gather former internees for the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians and how many former internees "had not shared their stories with their own families, so the prospect of doing it publicly before an official commission

  and large audience was daunting to say the least. We encouraged and listened, encouraged and listened.  We set up house meetings so when some brave souls began to speak of their experiences, it was easier for others to follow suit.  People rose to the challenge and inspired us all."

Carolyn also put her experience in working for Redress twenty years ago in the context of today. "It’s a day (The Day of Remembrance) to remind everyone in this nation to reject bigotry and intolerance that threaten and diminish us as a people."

Samina Faheem Sundas, of the American Muslim Voice, eloquently spoke about how she cried on the day of the attacks of 9-11 but was still looked on suspiciously by people nearby. "I stood there crying for loss of life" she said, but she "felt all alone and unwelcome in what I thought was my home."

Samina described how -- similar to what happened after Pearl Harbor -- hundreds of Muslims were detained and arrested immediately after 9-11 and how 86,000 Muslims were registered under the "Special INS Registration" program. She tried to help her community during this chaotic period. Samina remembered

  how she  tried to answer questions from a parent asking whether their debilitated son, who had serious head trauma, had to register, or from a son whose father was hospitalized with memory loss should as well. There was also a question whether a patient who was in a coma for two years should register. In all cases, the answer was "yes."

Samina explained that "more than six years post 9/11 we are still suffering from hate crimes against Muslims. It is becoming acceptable to openly speak against Muslims and their faith." This is clearly evident in the latest erroneous assertions that Barack Obama is a Muslim, with the bigoted implication that being a Muslim is a characteristic that is not American and Islam is a religion that should be feared.

Samina concluded with a central belief of NOC, "Let's pledge today that we will focus on what binds us together rather than what we believe divides us. Let's learn about each other, accept and embrace each other and cherish our diversity."

San Jose JACL, a longtime participant of Day of Remembrance programs, were represented by Kenzo Kimura and the Ogawa

 

Family, who led the candle-lighting ceremony,  with accompaniment by Dick Matsueda on shakuhachi.

Kenzo passionately spoke about JACL's efforts to keep the lessons from the Redress movement alive. San Jose JACL will host a commemoration of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 in the Fall.

Other regular supporters of the Day of Remembrance, Iman Tahir, of the South Bay Islamic Association, and Congressman Mike Honda, spoke about why we must protect our civil liberties for our children and for future generations.

Rev. Doug Norris, of the Wesley United Methodist Church, participating in his first Day of Remembrance, gave the Aspiration to open the program. Rev. Gerald Sakamoto, of the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin and a past participant, gave the Benediction.

San Jose Taiko, a featured performer for the San Jose Day of Remembrance event, gave their usual electrifying performance to close the program.

NOC would like to thank the all of the people who  made this year's program a success.
 

 
 
   

Day of Remembrance Photo Gallery

 
   
   

Samina Faheem Sundas (AMV) and Congressman Mike Honda

 

San Jose Taiko

 

Carolyn Kameya

     

NOC Emcee Gary Jio

San Jose JACL's Kenzo Kimura

 

Gary Jio and Assemblywoman Sally Lieber

 
 

   

Rev. Doug Norris, Wesley UMC

   

Iman Tahir, South Bay Islamic Association

 

Rev. Gerald Sakamoto

  Victoria Taketa, Congressman Honda
 
     
Gary Jio, Ogawa family, Samina Faheem Sundas, Kenzo Kimura, Neil Kozuma, Gail Sueki, Tom Oshidari,

San Jose Taiko

Yukio and Yoneko Ogawa

           
 
   

Jimi Yamaichi, Eiko Yamaichi, Dick Matsueda

Will Kaku, Gary Jio, Otto Lee, Gail Sueki

 

     

 

 

   
NOC: Fran Ellis, Will Kaku, Carolyn Kameya, Masao Suzuki, Reiko Nakayama, Gary Jio   Ogawa Family led the candle lighting ceremony  

Banner Bearers: Jiro Saito, Gail Sueki (JACL), Wayne Kaku, Neil Kozuma (JACL)

 

   

Saminia Faheem Sundas (AMV), Neil Kozuma (JACL),
Will Kaku (NOC)

Fran Ellis, NOC

Longtime NOC members
Carolyn Kameya and Gary Jio

         
 
   
         
 
   
         
 

Sushi Crew: Nori Kondo, Georgi Johnson

   

Masao and Susan, both from NOC

 
 

 

 

 

Will Kaku and Reiko Nakayama, NOC Chairperson