The first Day of Remembrance in 1978 was political. We staged it as a car caravan from Seattle to a family potluck and program at the Puyallup Fairgrounds, but it was only to create a safe space for the Nisei to begin to express their long-suppressed rage at expulsion and incarceration, and channel it into a long-overdue petition for redress of grievances and a call for our elected leaders to right a wrong.
Over the course of two hours, close to 500 joined the call for an end to mass detentions and deportations under the nationalist and exclusionary policies of the current administration. Our historical and moral obligation to do so was evident. As Densho director Tom Ikeda pointed out, we stood within sight of Union Station, where Tacoma-area Nikkei assembled for eviction in 1942.
And it was a pleasure to welcome national leaders Satsuki Ina and Michael Ishii back to the Northwest. Satsuki, who was born in the Tule Lake Segregation Center, recalled the hunger strike her father joined to call attention to their extra-judicial detention in the infamous Tule Lake Stockade, a jail within the jail of their concentration camp.
Linda Ando said she was up until midnight the day before making signs for the ten War Relocation Authority camps to be used at the protest to #ShutDownNWDC. It was significant that she added the Justice Department family internment camp at Crystal City, Texas, where Satsuki, her mother, and brother were finally reunited with her father after the closing of Tule Lake. And now added to the list of infamy: the Geo Corporation’s Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.
This day’s action was just a start. Satsuki, Michael, and Tom are part of a steering committee organizing a national Pilgrimage to Close the Camps in Washington D.C. on June 6, for which registration has just opened.