Proving that “racially motivated policies and discriminatory practices are timely issues,” law students at Fordham University in New York City on April 6 re-enacted both the mass trial of the 63 Heart Mountain resisters for refusing to report for Selective Service from inside an American concentration camp, and the subsequent trial of the 7 leaders of the Fair Play Committee and journalist James Omura for conspiracy to encourage draft resistance.
A photo gallery and summary are now posted on the Fordham Law News blog, “APALSA Students Give Heart to Heart Mountain.”
According to U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Denny Chin, who co-wrote the staged reading of the trial transcript and narrated the events, “We look for powerful stories about people and legal issues that are still relevant today. We try to introduce these cases to a new generation.”
The story includes two quotes from the transcripts. One comes from the trial of the 63 resisters: “How can you ask us to fight when our parents, our siblings, are forced to live behind barbed wire?” APALSA 1L representative Ehtesham Iqbal read as one of the Nisei. “We will serve our country, the only home we have ever known, in unsegregated units, when our rights as American citizens have been restored.”
And APALSA student co-social chair Daniel Chin read as FPC leader Frank Emi, who had been arrested after trying to leave the camp: “I thought once I had been drafted, all of my rights as a U.S. citizen had been recognized and restored. Doesn’t that include the ability to move around freely?”
Our thanks to Judge Chin (below right), Professor Thomas Lee, and the students at Fordham Law for keeping alive the legacy of the Fair Play Committee.