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Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC)
                           Equality, Justice and Peace



In this Issue

No on Proposition 8

U.S Army Chaplain Yee talks
about Guantanamo

Rendition of Japanese
Latin Americans

Spirit of Japantown Festival


No on Proposition 8

Image: Vote No on Marriage Ban  
"I went to school in a black tar-paper barrack [as a child in internment camps] and began the day seeing the barbed-wire fence, and thank god those barbed-wire fences are now long gone for Japanese Americans. But I still see an invisible, legalistic barbed-wire that keeps me, my partner of 19 years, Brad Altman, and another group of Americans separated from a normal life."
  -- George Takei, during a 2006 interview on National Public Radio

Photo: Takei Wedding
Brad Altman and George Takei, followed by Walter Koenig (Lt. Chekhov) and Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhuru). Photo by Stan Honda

  Many people in our community may feel unconnected to the issues that are related to Proposition 8, also known as the Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry Act. Some people do not see LGBT rights as basic human rights and cannot relate their own experiences with racism, intolerance, and bigotry to the experiences of the LGBT community.

On September 14, George Takei, actor and community activist, married his longtime partner Brad Altman, at a wedding ceremony hosted by the Japanese American National Museum. Takei specifically chose the venue to make a point that connected his experience of being a target of racism (he was interned at Rower and Tule Lake during World War II), and his experience as a gay American.

 Here are comments made by George Takei during a recent CBS interview:

"As gay Americans, we have been stereotyped and characterized as something frightening and threatening as Japanese-Americans were before the war."

Referring to the constitutional gay marriage ban on November's ballot,  Takei said, that it is "against the basic fundamental ideals of democracy."

"You know, we're a pluralistic society, and there are many, many faiths and beliefs here. Now, we respect everybody's faiths--their right to their beliefs, but there's no right for any one faith group to write their own particular beliefs into civil law that applies to everyone. That's not democracy...and we are going to make sure that democracy
prevails here."

"I think, basically, the majority of Californians are fair, decent-minded people and they will recognize the beauty of our marriage, the truth of our marriage; and they will not take it away from us."

"However, I warn everybody that we must not be confident, we've got to fight...we don't know what kind of last minute campaign they are going to throw at us."

Recently, one Proposition 8 proponent claimed that they have raised $18 million since June 1st and they are now broadcasting television advertisements with misleading charges that have been challenged by legal experts (San Jose Mercury News 9/30/08).  NOC urges you to prevent bigotry and homophobia from being written into the California State Constitution. Vote NO on Proposition 8.

Photo: Lt. Sulu
Star Trek's Lt. Sulu

  Photo: Takei Wedding Photo: George Takei at Tule Lake Pilgrimage
George Takei at 2004 Tule Lake Pilgrimage. Photo by Ginger Greenfield.

U.S Army Muslim Chaplain James J. Yee
to speak about Guantanamo


6 pm , Friday, Oct 17, 2008
Muslim Community Association Islamic Center
3003 Scott Blvd, Santa Clara, CA
At this event, Chaplain James J. Yee will provide a gripping account of his Guantanamo experience and his struggle for justice.

James J. Yee is a former US Army Chaplain and graduate of West Point who served as the Muslim Chaplain for the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. While
ministering to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Captain Yee advised camp commanders on detainee religious practices and objected to the cruel and degrading abuses to which the prisoners were subjected.

After being officially recognized twice for outstanding performance, Captain Yee was arrested and imprisoned in a Naval brig for 76 days in September 2003 while being falsely accused of spying, espionage, and aiding the
alleged Taliban and Al-Qaeda prisoners. He was held in solitary confinement and subjected to the same sensory deprivation techniques that were being used against the prisoners in Cuba that he had been ministering to.

After months of government investigation, all criminal charges were dropped.

With his record wiped clean, Chaplain Yee was reinstated to full duty at Fort Lewis, Washington. He tendered his resignation from the U.S. Army and received an Honorable Discharge on January 7, 2005.  Upon separation he was awarded with a second Army Commendation medal for "exceptionally meritorious service."

For more info: Stephen McNeil, at smcneil@afsc.org.


WWII Rendition of Japanese Latin Americans

  Redress Remembered: 
WWII Rendition of Japanese Latin Americans

2:00 pm, October 25, 2008
Japanese American National Museum
369 East First Street
Los Angeles, CA 95012

During WWII, over 2200 men, women and children of Japanese ancestry were kidnapped from 13 Latin American countries for the purpose of hostage exchange. Learn more about what they endured during WWII, their ongoing redress struggle to hold the US government accountable for war crimes, and lessons for present day challenges.

More info: Event website

Spirit of Japantown Festival

Image: NOC Booth
NOC booth at 2007 Spirit of Japantown Festival

Spirit of Japantown Festival
Saturday, Oct 4, 2008

Festival website: www.spiritofjapantownfestival.com


Photo: Jemma Jio
Jemma Jio

  NOC is proud to announce that famed Origami Grand Master, Jemma Jio (the daughter of NOC Treasurer, Gary Jio), will be giving lessons on origami, the traditional Japanese art of folding paper into various decorative shapes, in the NOC booth.  Jemma studied extensively at the famous Tule Lake Pilgrimage Origami Crane Two-Hour Workshop where she earned the prestigious Certificate of Attendance. Come by our booth and pick-up your free NOC Crane of Peace from Jemma.


San Jose Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC)
P.O. Box 2293, San Jose, CA  95109

E-Mail: info@sjnoc.org

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
                                                                           - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.