The event is held in conjunction with the annual Day of Remembrance, this year commemorating the 76th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, which set the wheels in motion to forcibly remove some 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry — most of whom were American citizens — from the West Coast into American concentration camps. It is also the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which granted a governmental apology and $20,000 redress to victims along with an educational fund.
“Given the dark cloud that surrounds such uncertain times, we feel that now, more than ever, we need to learn lessons from the past in order to prevent the repetition of such deprivation of civil liberties today,” said Kenji G. Taguma, Nichi Bei Foundation president. “The Japanese American community has played a unique role in utilizing our wartime experience to safeguard the rights of others, and the films reflect upon this important lesson.”
“This program, and the reminder of the impact and continued impact of the illegal incarceration of over 100,000 Japanese and Japanese American citizens, is especially important in today’s social and political context,” stated Christen Sasaki, Ph.D., a professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University and a Films of Remembrance committee member. “What I found interesting was that in this year’s films, I see a common theme — of the younger generation interacting and speaking with their elders who were incarcerated.”