|Notes from the presentation of the "Power of the Commission Hearings: First Person Voices of Japanese American Incarceration" held at the Katy Geissert Civic Library Community Meeting Room in Torrance on May 3rd, 2014.
Sponsored by the Friends of the Library, City of Torrance Community Services Department, and Creating and Enriching Community through People, Programs, and Partnerships
The Japanese American Historical Society sponsored a program with Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR) and Visual Communications (VC) which reprised the Seattle panel on the “Power of the Commission Hearings” but with a South Bay emphasis.
Roy Nakano of the Gardena Committee on Redress/Reparations, along with Charlie Hamasaki of Terminal Island shared stories about the South Bay work.
Miya Iwataki talked about NCRR’s efforts to organize the community for the hearings and Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig shared some of her stories she discovered in her research work with the Commission.
Lane Hirabayashi, who was also a member of the Gardena Committee, moderated and Kay Ochi of NCRR shared how the tapes were used during the redress campaign and the educational work today.
In 1981 Japanese Americans spoke out for redress at the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) hearings across the country.
The Los Angeles hearing was one of the few that was videotaped. Preserved by the Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR) and Visual Communications (VC), these testimonies galvanized a grassroots campaign for redress, resulting in the signing of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, authorizing $20,000 and an apology.
Panelists from both NCRR and testifiers from the South Bay shared insights from the hearings and the impact it had on their lives and the community.
Excerpts from the hearings were shown with special attention to South Bay testimonies.