Save Tule Lake: Send a letter by Oct. 10

graphic by Nathaniel Levine - Sacramento BeeThis graphic in last Monday’s Sacramento Bee says it all: “The proposed fence would encircle the Tulelake Municipal Airport next to the town of Newell,”

The Tule Lake Committee has issued an urgent call to #SaveTuleLake, where more than 24,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned during World War II. They are appealing for voices to be heard against the construction of a three-mile-long fence that will close off an airport that sits on two-thirds of the former concentration camp site and which, if built, would permanently close off access to the barracks area where most people lived. A national civil rights site will be irreparably damaged.

Residents of Klamath Falls raise the question of whose comment should carry the most weight, pointing out that they live there and we don’t. Well, yes, but the longer view on this is that we lived there before the airport and before most local residents were born. Against our will, Tule Lake was the home to 24,000 souls, long before the airport was established in 1965.

You are asked to send letters and emails to Modoc County Road Commissioner Mitch Crosby, who is accepting public comment until 5 p.m. Oct. 10 at his office at 202 West Fourth St. According to the Bee, the campaign is working. Crosby’s office has received hundreds of emails and letters opposing the fence.

Save Tule Lake banner

The committee has shared a template letter that is reproduced below, along with these suggestions:
1. Emails and letters should be written to Modoc County:

Mr. Mitch Crosby
Modoc County Road Commissioner
202 West 4th St.,
Alturas, CA 96101
mitchcrosby@co.modoc.ca.us

2. In your email, please write in the subject line: TULELAKE AIRPORT PERIMETER FENCE PROJECT

3. Sign your name and provide a physical street address.

4. Please cc your letter to the Tule Lake Committee at savetulelake@gmail.com. For a hard copy letter, send to: Tule Lake Committee, PO Box 170141, San Francisco CA 94117.

Mr. Mitch Crosby
Modoc County Road Commissioner
202 West 4th St.,
Alturas, CA 96101
mitchcrosby@co.modoc.ca.us

Dear Mr. Mitch Crosby,

I am writing to protest the construction of a fence around the Tule Lake airport. The plan is to construct a three-mile-long, barbed-wire topped fence that is eight feet high.

It will destroy the integrity of this historic site, desecrate the memory of those who were unjustly incarcerated there, and prevent the possibility of a respectful and dignified remembrance of a civil rights tragedy which President Ronald Reagan said was “a grave wrong,” when he signed H.R. 442 on Aug. 10, 1988.

More than 24,000 people, including immigrants who were denied the right to become naturalized citizens and thousands of U.S.-born Americans, were imprisoned at the Tule Lake concentration camp between 1942 and 1946.

Babies were born here. Men and women died here. Tule Lake is a sacred site to Japanese Americans and it is a historic site for all Americans, reminding our nation of the harm that can occur to the Constitutional rights of individuals when due process is ignored.

Please respect the historical, spiritual and national meaning of this unique site in our country’s history.

Please do not build the proposed fence.

Sincerely,

_____________________________
Name

______________________________
Street Address, City, State, Zip Code

________________________________________
Date

CC:
email to: savetulelake@gmail.com
hard copy to: Tule Lake Committee, PO Box 170141, San Francisco CA 94117

Hirabayashi jail cell memorialized at King County Courthouse

plaqueSeventy-five years ago, University of Washington student  Gordon Hirabayashi said enough was enough and simply refused to obey an 8pm curfew aimed only at persons of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. He got himself arrested and was held in a jail cell on the top floor of the King County Courthouse for nine months. He took his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Continue reading Hirabayashi jail cell memorialized at King County Courthouse

Film mentioned as an #inspirASIAN

graphic image of Frank AbeHumbled and a little embarrassed by this online recognition from the Asian American Journalists Association and friend Lori Matsukawa — but worthwhile if it encourages AAJA members to embrace their role in the newsroom and pitch stories that shine a light on our diverse communities — just as Lori has done so effectively in her position on air. Also worth it if it helps call attention to the film and the story of the Heart Mountain resisters and all the resisters in camp and the courts.
Continue reading Film mentioned as an #inspirASIAN

New translation of “NO-NO BOY” for the 21st century

Ryusuke KawaiJournalist Ryusuke Kawai says he decided to re-translate John Okada’s No-No Boy because readers found the previous rendering in Japanese to be filled with archaic words and incorrect grammar that made them put down the book. Kawai spoke to an attentive audience in Seattle on March 11, as a guest of former Uwajimaya CEO Tomio Moriguchi.
Continue reading New translation of “NO-NO BOY” for the 21st century

Japanese Latin American Abductee to Testify Before International Commission

Guest post by Martha Nakagawa

family with carIsamu Carlos Arturo “Art” Shibayama, who was among the more than 2,264 Japanese Latin Americans (JLA) kidnapped from their country during World War II by the United States government to be used in hostage exchanges with Japan, will finally get a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington DC, on March 21, from 8:30 am, in the Padilha Vidal Room.
Continue reading Japanese Latin American Abductee to Testify Before International Commission

Guardian of history challenges historical integrity of “Allegiance”

Only four weeks, and we are already fatigued with the daily barrage of demonstrable lies and outright propaganda coming from the new Administration. Terms like “alternative facts” and “fake news” have suddenly entered the lexicon. In his climate of misdirection, it’s more critical than ever to hold tight to a sense of reality and a common set of facts.

Densho logoIn that regard the Densho Project in Seattle has been a leader in the documentation of facts about the WW2 incarceration of Japanese Americans, both through the video capture of first-person narratives and the preservation of photos and documents. So it is worth taking note when Densho addresses the question we’ve raised before of the historical integrity of the musical Allegiance, screening again today on this Day of Remembrance.
Continue reading Guardian of history challenges historical integrity of “Allegiance”

What #Resistance Means Now

Smokey the Bear raising a fistDocumenting the history of Japanese American incarceration, and the resistance to incarceration, was always important, but it remained just that — history, something good to know about, to make sure that mass exclusion on the basis of race “never happens again in America.” But when rangers in the National Park Service have to go undergound, and Smokey the Bear is raising a fist in flames, you know something has gone terribly wrong.

We have just passed the tipping point and now live with an authoritarian American government. #Resistance is a trending hashtag. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich posts a daily “Resistance Report” on YouTube. Former sportscaster Keith Olberman rebrands his show on GQ as “The Resistance.” Reuters is instructing its reporters how to cover the new Administration as if it were a banana republic. And the story of the Heart Mountain resisters is getting renewed attention.

KUOW logoThanks to host Bill Radke and producer Shane Mehling for having me on Seattle’s NPR affiliate today, on KUOW’s “The Record,” to connect the Japanese American resistance to the current actions in the streets. Here’s a link to the full 11-minute conversation, which has been well-received. As I said to Bill, I feel both validated that the Fair Play Committee is getting recognized, and appalled that we are now talking about a very real threat to Muslim Americans and Mexican Americans for the purpose of fulfilling a campaign promise to a resurgent white nationalism.
Continue reading What #Resistance Means Now

Access needed to site of the barracks at Tule Lake

None of the 24,000 Japanese Americans sent to live in the shallow volcanic lakebed of Tule Lake for the duration of World War II wanted to be there, but their presence makes this a National Historic Landmark.

In hindsight, an airstrip operating on a site of this historic significance is not an appropriate or compatible use, but before anyone could know that, the government after the war granted homestead rights to farmers, and in 1951 granted two-thirds of the main detention and barracks site to the city of Tulelake for an airstrip, which today hosts just one business, a crop-dusting service. It’s not easy to see without an aerial view, but the airstrip runs left to right in the photo below.

airstrip at Tule Lake Continue reading Access needed to site of the barracks at Tule Lake

Adopt “Alternative C” for public access to Tule Lake

Tule Lake aerial photoYour voice is needed to create a record for the National Park Service that will help Stop the Fence at Tule Lake.

Our friends at the NPS have a preferred plan — Alternative C — which will provide for stabilization of structures at the CCC isolation camp, reconstruction of the notorious Tule Lake Stockade and a replica guard tower, and open the site for year-round visitation.
Continue reading Adopt “Alternative C” for public access to Tule Lake

What resistance means now: “Has the Gestapo come to America?”

The Heart Mountain resisters refused induction in 1944 as a last-ditch attempt to clarify their status as American citizens and challenge the constitutionality of the American concentration camps in which they were held. With the actions being threatened by a new Administration, a new kind of resistance is now being called for in the 21st century.

It’s only been one week since the election, and an adviser to the President-elect is testing the public’s willingness to go along with creation of a national registry of all Muslims in America — a database whose only useful purpose would be to make it possible to round them all up for some kind of mass action.

Journalist James Omura saw the dangers of mass registration in February 1942, in his testimony to the Congressional Tolan Committee, which was preparing the public for acceptance of the mass exclusion of a feared racial minority perceived as the enemy. “Has the Gestapo come to America?,” he asked.


Continue reading What resistance means now: “Has the Gestapo come to America?”