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Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC)
                           Equality, Justice and Peace



San Jose Day of Remembrance
35th Annual San Jose
Day of Remembrance
"Stories from  the Past,
Lessons for Today"
Sunday, February 15, 2015
San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin
640 North Fifth Street,
San Jose, CA
Free and open to the public
The 2015 San Jose Day of Remembrance commemorates the signing of Executive Order 9066, which eventually led to the incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese descent during WW II. Each year, people from diverse communities gather at this event to remember that great civil liberties tragedy and reflect on what that event means to them today.

The 35th annual Day of Remembrance program, titled “Stories from the Past, Lessons for Today,” explores personal stories that have been passed down by those who were adversely affected by the executive order and the lessons that have been extracted from that experience.
Tom Izu
Tom Izu
, Executive Director of the California History Center (CHC) at De Anza College  and the Audrey Edna Butcher Civil Liberties Education Initiative, will be the keynote speaker at the San Jose Day of Remembrance event.
 As director of the CHC, Izu emphasizes that a major component of his work is to promote the importance of learning about local and regional history and the lessons that can be learned from that history. In communicating that history, Izu recognizes the great value of oral history and storytelling.
Izu reflected on how people, especially young people, can viscerally connect and understand the difficult societal challenges and concepts from events that took place several decades before many of them were born. “I have learned that these stories transmitted down through the generations document not just important historical information -- that otherwise would be lost -- but also make it possible for all of us to personally connect with that history, making it a ‘living’ history.”

Izu is very aware about the power of oral histories through his own experience and how they can help propel a grassroots movement toward achieving social justice. In the early 1980’s, Izu became the first “official” chairperson of Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC) at a time when the organization decided to become heavily involved in the Japanese American redress movement. During the early days, support for redress was not widespread and there were many prominent voices in the local Japanese American community who were reticent in supporting the movement. During the redress hearings, NOC encouraged, supported, and prepared former incarcerees so that they could finally tell their emotional, heart-breaking stories to the commissioners and to the public. Many people heard those gripping stories of hardship for the first time, and many more people started to embrace the cause.

“Stories are transformative in how they can be integrated into our own identity through their ability to create tremendous empathy, “ Izu said. “They can also be a powerful way to build support and involvement in the movement for social justice.”

Izu is concerned about how Japanese American internment is examined in the present and about what lessons people extract from that experience. “My main concern right now is whether the Japanese American experience is being made into an example of ‘American exceptionalism’ with Japanese Americans being considered ‘special’ since they ‘deserved redress.’ I would rather have people learn the lesson that civil liberties need to be protected for all people. The liberties and rights one has under the Constitution are not based upon how ‘deserving’ one is, or how loyally one acts. These rights are guaranteed to all.”

“There is a key lesson,” Izu continued, “regarding the true meaning of civil liberties that we must learn. It is very relevant for today, including everything from Ferguson to the treatment of Muslim Americans. A certain level of bravery and courage is required to fight for this. That is true patriotism and not the scapegoating or fear mongering that seems to remain popular in our country's politics today.”

Tom Izu is currently executive director of the
California History Center (CHC) at De Anza College and the Audrey Edna Butcher Civil Liberties Education Initiative,  He has served in the San Jose community in many prominent roles. He was the executive director of YuAi Kai, a senior service center; NOC chairperson, and he served as a board member for  the San Jose chapter of the Japanese American Citizen League  and the Japanese American Resource Center (now, the Japanese American Museum of San Jose).
Featured Speakers
Kent Carson  
Kent Carson Kent Carson is a volunteer docent with the Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj). Carson will recount the story of his grandfather, Terry Terakawa, who is also an active volunteer and a former board member of JAMsj.

Recently, Carson transcribed his grandfather’s story about what happened to his family after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. After the attack, prominent members of the Japanese American community were immediately rounded up without due process and taken away.Read More...
Kent Carson, stands before a portrait of his grandfather, Terry Terakawa. Terakawa is featured in the new exhibit, “Twice Heroes," at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose.  
Congressman Mike Honda
U.S. Congressman Michael Honda represents the 17th Congressional District of California and has served in the U.S. House of Representatives for over fourteen years. In Congress, Representative Honda is a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Co-chair of the Democratic Caucus’ New Media Working Group, and House Democratic Senior Whip.

Representative Mike Honda was born in California, but spent his early childhood with family in the Amache internment camp in Colorado during World War II.  Mike’s father served in the Military Intelligence Service, while his mother served as a full time homemaker. His family returned to California in 1953, becoming strawberry sharecroppers in San José's Blossom Valley. In 1965, Mike enrolled in the Peace Corps for two years in El Salvador and returned fluent in Spanish and with a passion for teaching.

In his career as an educator, Mike was a science teacher, served as a principal at two public schools, and conducted educational research at Stanford University. In 1971, Mike was appointed by then-Mayor Norm Mineta to San Jose's Planning Commission. In 1981, Mike won his first election, gaining a seat on the San José Unified School Board. In 1990, Mike was elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. Mike served in the California State Assembly from 1996 to 2000. In 2000, Mike was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He is currently the Chairman Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) after spending seven years as Chairman.

Mike’s district includes Silicon Valley, the birthplace of technology innovation and now the country’s leading developer of green technology. Mike has dedicated his life to public service and is lauded for his work on education, civil rights, national service, immigration, transportation, the environment, and high-tech issues.

The Day of Remembrance is an event that aims to bring different communities together in order to build trust, respect, and understanding among all people and to renew our pledge to fight for equality, justice, and peace.

  San Jose Taiko   The event also features the famous candlelight procession through historic San Jose Japantown and an electrifying performance by San Jose Taiko.
  Traditional candlelight procession through San Jose's historic Japantown. Photo courtesy of Andy Frazer.   A candle is lit in memory for each of the camps.
Photo courtesy of Andy Frazer.

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.