San Jose, CA – More than 80 people gathered at the San Jose Buddhist Church Oct. 22 to learn about U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehrin Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq. Lieutenant Watada’s father, Bob Watada, and his wife, Rosa Sakanishi, explained the Lieutenant’s opposition to the war, which is both illegal and unjust. Also in the program were Reverend Gerald Sakamoto of the San Jose Buddhist Church, Dennis Kyne, a veteran of the first invasion of Iraq in 1991, the singing group Anne and the Vets and Reverend Motoe Yamada of the Wesley United Methodist Church.
Berkeley, CA – Tuesday, November 4, 2008 was a bittersweet evening for me. The sweetness came first, as I was driving my daughter home from a play rehearsal when I heard that Barack Obama had won the election for President of the United States. Later that evening the feeling faded as I watched the news showing that California Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, was heading towards a narrow victory.
When I heard that the Nobel Peace Prize had been awarded to President Barack Obama, I was shocked. I know that most of my friends and family had voted for Obama in hope of a change from Bush. But what had President Obama done to deserve a peace prize? The United States is still occupying Iraq with more than one hundred thousand troops. Obama is increasing the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and his escalation of the war is taking a growing toll on the lives of the Afghan people and U.S. troops. In 2002 in awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, the committee noted the contrast with the Bush administration's war in Afghanistan and build-up to invade Iraq. So how can they now award the peace prize to a President who is fighting the same two wars?
San Jose, CA – El 2 de junio, 2002, miembros de la comunidad japonésa-americana se reunieron en el Yu-Ai-Kai (Centro de personas mayores japonésa-americanas) para aprender más sobre los ataques en contra de los árabe-americanos, los musulmán-americanos y los derechos civiles después del 11 de septiembre. Susan Hayase facilitó el programa por parte del Comité de organización Nihonmachi. En su presentación, dijo Hayase que “está pasando de nuevo,” destacando el vínculo entre los arrestos de los japonés-americanos después de Pearl Harbor y la detención de los árabe-americanos y los musulmán-americanos hoy día.
San José, CA – Tras el símbolo de los campos de concentración en que estuvieron detenidas las personas de orígen japonés durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, Steve Nagano de la organización Nikkei por los Derechos Civiles y la Indemnización – Los Angeles (conocida como NCRR-LA por sus siglas en inglés), presentó la película Lucha por la Justicia – La Historia de Ralph Lazo durante el acto conmemorativo efectuado por el Comité Nihonmachi de San José. Dicho acto contó con la participación del templo budista local, la iglesia metodista y de una mezquita, así como de personalidades de la política y miembros de otras organizaciones americanas-japonesas. Como parte de este acto conmemorativo, también se llevó a cabo una marcha y un espectáculo cultural. Ralph Lazo era un joven chicano que, durante la segunda guerra mundial, vivió en los campos de concentración al lado de sus amistades de orígen japonés.
San José, CA – Speaking from behind a symbol of the World War II concentration camps for Japanese Americans, Steve Nagano of the Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress – Los Angeles introduces the film Stand Up for Justice – The Ralph Lazo Story at the San Jose Day of Remembrance event organized by the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee. Ralph Lazo was a young Chicano who went to a concentration camp during World War II, along with his Japanese American friends. This year’s event drew almost 300 people, the largest audience since the 1980s struggle for redress and reparations for Japanese Americans. The event also featured statements from the local Buddhist temple, Methodist church and Islamic mosque, speakers from other Japanese American organizations and politicians, a candlelight procession and cultural performances.
San José, CA -El pasado 15 de febrero unas doscientas personas se dieron cita en el Templo Budista de San José para rememorar la orden ejecutiva 9066, del entonces Presidente Roosevelt, por la cual más de 120,000 japoneses-americanos fueron enviados a campos de concentración.
An interview with peace activists Mary and Lewis Suzuki
Berkeley, CA – In October of 1952, more than 400 delegates and observers from 37 countries gathered in Beijing, China for the Peace Conference of the Asian and Pacific Regions. Two of the delegates from the United States were Mary Bonzo and Lewis Suzuki. In the 50 years since the conference, both Mary and Lewis have remained active fighters for peace and supporters of national liberation movements. In August, both spoke at a program to commemorate the anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The program was sponsored by Nosei, a group of younger Japanese American activists in San Francisco and the East Bay. I spoke with Mary and Lewis after the program.
For this year’s holiday honoring Dr. King, we are printing 3 commentaries on King’s political thinking that are important for understanding today’s situation – Fight Back! editors
In 1967, exactly one year before Dr. King was assassinated, he made an impassioned plea to stop the War in Vietnam. “Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor in Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hope at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.”