October 2022 Newsletter
Feb. 24-26, 2023: California Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference
Marriott Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
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An Interview with Duncan Ryūken Williams
About His Efforts to Remember Everyone
Duncan Ryūken Williams is a professor (USC), author (American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War), and Buddhist Priest. He and a team of workers have created the Irei: National Monument for the WWII Japanese American Incarceration project.
For a long time, I’ve wondered why no one has tried to do what you have just done – create a complete list of everyone that was incarcerated in Japanese American internment camps and government facilities during World War II. Was that what you thought too? The US government had an opportunity to do it when they passed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, but chose not to complete it. What finally got you to take on this truly monumental task and why?
There have been attempts to create lists of names for particular camps, but no one, including the Office of Redress Administration (ORA) that was created to process letters of apology and redress checks to camp survivors after the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, has managed to create a comprehensive list of all persons of Japanese ancestry incarcerated during WWII.
The barrier to fully counting everyone has been the large number of camps run by different agencies and government entities including the Department of Justice, the U.S. Army, the Wartime Civil Control Administration, and the War Relocation Authority (WRA). Other than the 10 camps run by the WRA that produced ten camp rosters that purported to account for everyone in those camps, there were at least 65 other camps that never had comprehensive rosters.
The challenge, then, has been to...
A Presentation by Simon Tam
An Asian American Troublemaker That Took on the Government
To Reappropriate a Racial Name
Transcription made by Mina Harada Eimon
The following is a transcription of a presentation by musician and author Simon Tam which he did at the Foster City Library on October 21, 2019.
Simon Tam may be best known as the founder and bass player for the Asian American rock group The Slants. He and his group were also involved in a trademark battle that eventually went all the way to the US Supreme Court (Matal v. Tam).
Simon Tam made his presentation in coordination with his memoir Slanted: How an Asian American Troublemaker Took on the Supreme Court.
Parts of the transcription were taken from indiscernible sections in the audio recording. With our apologies to Simon Tam, we did our best to transcribe your wonderful presentation.
The recording was started after Simon began his talk. The transcription begins with his experience as a musician doing a performance at a prison in Oregon.
…And I was a Johnny Cash fan. I was like, really excited about this. I was like, I’m gonna wear all black that day! This is going to be our Folsom Prison Blues moment. But I didn’t really think about what it would feel like to send an all Asian band into a prison with one of the highest populations of Neo-Nazis in the country.
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