Bridging Communities Program

The Japanese American Citizens League Pacific Southwest District (JACL PSW) and Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR) in partnership with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Shura Council announced the launch of the Bridging Communities program to connect the youth of the Japanese American community to the Muslim American community by celebrating the strengths and differences that bind us as a community.

WHAT: Through a series of interactive sessions, 40 high school students engaged in workshops with discussions and group activities as well as visiting sites that allowed the participants to fully engage and learn about the Muslim and Japanese cultures. These sessions focused on topics ranging from ethnic identity, culture/religion, civil rights, and activism.

WHY: Since 9/11 and the start of the Iraq War, Muslim communities throughout the nation have experienced heightened hostility, discrimination, and policies that work against them simply because of their ethnic identity. JACL and NCRR recognized the hostilities and civil rights infringements on Muslim communities as those that were similarly forced upon Japanese Americans during WWII. The joint effort of both communities heightened awareness through education to the youth.
WHERE: Sites included the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, Little Tokyo, a mosque in Orange County, and Manzanar.

WHEN: Four Saturday Sessions in Spring 2009: 2/21/09, 3/14/09, 4/4/09, 4/25/09. The last session was held at the Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 25th.