Program Summary

In a similar vein as the previous year, the 1995 Day of Remembrance reflected NCRR’s continuing concern over the on-going issues of racism and the targeting of immigrants.  The program’s theme, “50 Years After the Camps: Racism & Resistance, Then. . .& Now,” marked the anniversary of the end of the war and the close of the majority of the camps.  However, the questions remained: what were the lessons learned from the camps?  who are the scapegoats in economic and political hard times?

These questions were addressed by emcee Richard Katsuda on behalf of NCRR, while Reiko Nimura spoke about the Japanese Americans who were still denied redress.  Reiko had earlier joined NCRR to work on reversing her redress denial.  Although she had not yet received reparations for her wartime incarceration, she announced the government’s reversal of two categories.  Through the efforts of organizations such as JACL and NCRR, 264 Japanese Americans in Hawaii were made eligible for redress, and in Glendale and Phoenix, Arizona, nearly 100 Japanese Americans were now potentially eligible.

The President of Cal Poly Pomona, Dr. Bob Suzuki presented the keynote address.  Formerly incarcerated at Minidoka Relocation Center, Dr. Suzuki was active in the 1960’s in the repeal of Title II of the Internal Security Act, which allowed the government to detain individuals based on suspicion of espionage.  He is an expert on diversity and higher education and continues to work for civil liberties and affirmative action.

NCRR honored two of its own members with the Fighting Spirit Award.  Nisei Jim Saito was gratified to see the work of the mostly Sansei NCRR and decided to join. “I saw them fighting my fight, so I decided I should join them and fight my own fight [for redress},” explained Saito.  Jim contributed to the campaign by pushing the government to grant reparations to Nisei employed as chick sexers outside of the military exclusion zones and to Nisei who entered the military before the U.S. entered the war.  Both groups were excluded from returning to their homes at the outbreak of war.  They lost most or all of their property and possessions.  Both categories later received reparations.

Also receiving the Fighting Spirit Award was Sansei David Monkawa.  A founding member of NCRR, David has devoted his life to improving the lives of those suffering from racial and class oppression.  His work included union organizing, empowering youth from the abusive police practices in Orange County, and working as an organizer for NCRR.  In this position David made significant contributions to those individuals who were denied redress.  David also made memorable contributions to NCRR and the DOR programs through his artwork.  (By 2007 he had designed and created 12 of the 25 DOR posters.)

The issues of Proposition 187 were addressed by speaker Linda Camacho, the Executive Secretary of the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA).

The DOR also included the screening of highlights of the 1981 federal Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilian hearings in Los Angeles. The video included the varied testimonies of ten individuals, some of whom were S.I. Hayakawa, Mas Fukai, Jim Kawaminami, Lillian Baker and June Kizu.

1995 Day of Remembrance, Rafu Shimpo, 2/21/95, Common threads
still denied redress..., Rafu Shimpo, 9/20/94, Community Members