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‘Detained in America: Children Speak’ at JANM

The Japanese American National Museum will present “Detained in America: Children Speak” on Saturday, Sept. 21, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at JANM, 100 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo.

Conceived and created by Amy Cohen and Claudia Sobral, this is a program of child voices describing the trauma inflicted by U.S. government policies on the young and innocent. The program’s organizers include the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), Immigrant Families Together (IFT), and Bend the Arc.

Demonstrating how American policies that cruelly target children and families echo from one century to the next, the program will feature Japanese American children reading excerpts from archival letters by those imprisoned in concentration camps. Then, local children will read quotes from the declarations of their asylum-seeking age-mates, recently taken from their families and incarcerated in detention facilities and immigration camps.

Also to be screened three times (12:30, 3:40 and 4:10 p.m.) will be the clay animation film “Estrella” (17 minutes), written and produced by 7th-grade students from Keewanee, Ill. The afternoon’s program will close with a presentation by the film’s student narrator and the teacher who guided his students through this project of education, empathy, and creative child empowerment.

For more information on “Detained in America: Children Speak,” contact Amy Cohen at or Claudia Sobral at

Museum admission is free as part of the Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day.

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