Film Excerpts to Be Screened in Little Tokyo to Commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act

To celebrate the landmark passage of the Civil Liberties Act by the United States Congress in 1988, Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR) and the community co-sponsors invite the public to a free viewing of excerpts from six films on August 10, 2013. These films recall the profound impact that racism, incarceration, displacement and disruption had on Japanese Americans during World War II and the work that still needs to be done today.

On August 10, 1988 President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act (CLA) of 1988, which acknowledged that the incarceration of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II was caused by “racial prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” The Act provided restitution and a apology to individuals affected by Executive Order 9066. The CLA also provided for a public education fund to prevent future occurrences. In 2002 the Office of Redress Administration announced that 82,220 Japanese Americans had received redress and that 645 Japanese Latin Americans had received a lesser sum under terms of a settlement. This lesser sum was only $5000 each, which is a continuing inequity in redress that will be addressed at the program.


Assistant Attorney General James Turner presents two Issei women a presidential apology and reparations of $20,000 for their wartime incarceration. Little Tokyo Towers, 1990. Photo by Janice Iwanaga Yen.

The films document the stories of individuals of Japanese ancestry (including prisoners removed from their homes in Latin America) and those who were threatened with deportation for protesting in the camps. The historic redress effort of the Japanese American community during the 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s is covered as well as the effects of the incarceration on younger generations of Japanese Americans. The series of films conclude with some of the responses by the Japanese American community as it outreached to those who suffered from racism and profiling by the U.S. government after the events of 9/11.

The free screenings will be held on Saturday, August 10, at the DISKovery Center located at 353 E. 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.  The following films will be shown:

“Pilgrimage” – describes how the first group pilgrimage to Manzanar came about in 1969 and the people who organized it. They share their thoughts and feelings about that first trip and the importance of the pilgrimages in their lives and on the events after 9/11. Directed by Tadashi Nakamura

“CWRIC Testimonies” – edited from the 1981 Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians hearings, these clips dramatically tell the first-person stories of  Japanese Americans arrested and incarcerated during WWII. Produced by Visual Communications and NCRR, edited by Stephen Nagano

“Justice Now! Reparations Now!” – features the many people and organizations that contributed to the community’s 1980’s campaign for redress and reparations, including the historic lobbying delegation of over 100 JA’s to Washington D.C. in 1987. Produced/Directed by Alan Kondo.

Hidden Internment” – the story of Art Shibayama, who, along with over two thousand other Japanese Latin Americans (JLAs), was essentially kidnapped and forcibly shipped to the U.S. and incarcerated at Crystal City, Texas. After JLAs were refused redress through the Civil Liberties Act, Shibayama worked with others to fight for redress for JLAs. Directed by Casey Peek.

“From A Silk Cocoon” – the story of American-born Itaru and Shizuko Ina, who were incarcerated at the Tule Lake Segregation Center.  Itaru, incensed by the indignities of prison camp life, was charged with sedition for speaking out in protest of the government’s efforts to separate the “loyal” from the “disloyal,” and the government ruled that he and his family were to be deported to Japan. Directed by Satsuki Ina.

“Post 9/11/01 Candlelight Vigil, Building Ties with Muslim and Arab Americans” – NCRR and the local Japanese Americans community support Americans of Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian descent during the months following the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Produced for NCRR by Janice Iwanaga Yen.

The abridged films range in length from 8 to 15 minutes each. In keeping with the celebratory nature of the program, there will be light refreshments and ample time allowed for informal discussion. Individuals who were incarcerated and participated in the redress/reparations movement will be present. The entire program will be repeated at 2:30.

Partial list of sponsoring organizations include NCRR, the Little Tokyo Historical Society, the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, the Manzanar Committee, and Visual Communications.

For more information call Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress at 213-284-0336. Press Release by NCRR.


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