As the Day of Remembrance approaches on February 19th, the AAPI Equity Alliance team remembers a special tour given to us by our friends at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.
In the museum archives we saw Executive Order 9066, which required removal and incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War ll. This xenophobic order stripped many families of their freedom. Darin Tokunaga, our Director of Finance & Administration and a 4th generation (Yonsei) Japanese American, recollects memories of his grandparents’ lives.
“Gramps played baseball and never learned Japanese as a way to show he was a real American. That all changed with Order 9066. He never really talked about how hard life was back then. He only talked about the good, how he met the love of his life, my grandmother we call “Gummy”, at Manzanar. On this year’s Day of Remembrance, I want to honor all of those in the Japanese American community who remained hopeful in the face of adversity- even when a nation they so fully embraced had betrayed them.”