A couple of weeks ago, I was reminiscing with my 91-year-old parents about the time we helped build the house they still live in after 50 years. To save money, the seven members of our family would visit the emerging house every day, do odd jobs, and clean-up the site. I remember as a 12-year-old, working with my parents and siblings to dig ditches, haul buckets of sand, pre-stain outside siding, build terraced rockeries, paint interior walls, and build a tool shed from scrap lumber.
I remember how good it felt when we finally moved in to lie on the newly installed carpet and smell the freshly painted walls. As I walk through the house 50 years later, I am still proud of the work we did. I also have the insight that — more important than the finished house — our family worked together for months on a shared goal. This experience created a trust and understanding that still exists today.
Every day at Densho, I am excited as we come together to build a state-of-the-art digital collection and educational platform on the WWII Japanese American incarceration. I am even more excited about the relationships we are building with Densho’s team and dozens of partnering organizations, educators, artists, and activists — working together with the shared goal of promoting equity and justice by keeping the Japanese American story alive. These relationships, more than anything physically built, are the real legacy of Densho.
Have a Happy Holiday Season!