December 2020
From Executive Director Tom Ikeda
This has been a difficult year for all of us. But I take some comfort in knowing that our work at Densho has a meaningful, tangible impact during a time when many are struggling.

Earlier this year, Densho’s education team launched a virtual teach-in on the history of xenophobia and racism in the U.S. We hoped to equip teachers, parents, and the public with tools to navigate online learning and better understand how we arrived at this political moment. Below is a note from a teacher who attended one of these workshops:

“I always know a Densho workshop will be good, but this was exceptional…. I so appreciate your willingness to take a stand, to honor your own community while standing as allies for other communities, for tying it all together, and for making effective and fully usable classroom materials all in one two-hour workshop.”

One of the central pieces of this teach-in encourages participants to think about what action looks like for them, and how each of us can play a role, big or small, in making the change we want to see in the world. I’m grateful that Densho can contribute to the vital work that educators, artists, journalists, and so many others do every day. And I want to thank our community for supporting us during these trying times and ensuring that we can keep doing this work. 

I wish you a happy holiday season, and hope to see you in 2021!

In appreciation,

Video Spotlight: Erin Aoyama on Using Densho's Educational Resources

Brown University PhD candidate Erin Aoyama participated in one of Densho’s virtual teach-ins this past summer. In this testimonial she talks about how that influenced her teaching this fall—and what a valuable resource Densho has been to her as an educator and student of Japanese American history. 

The film she mentions, Other: A Brief History of American Xenophobia, is available at TedEd along with curriculum designed for the virtual classroom. And we’ll be offering more virtual teach-ins next year, so stay tuned!

Announcing Facing the Mountain

We are pleased to share news of the forthcoming publication of Facing the Mountain, a new book about WWII incarceration and the 442nd RCT by Daniel J. Brown, NY Times bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat. Based on years of research and interviews with Nisei vets, Daniel weaves a complex narrative that gives equal weight to stories of courage and resilience as it does to addressing the many injustices of incarceration. We're honored to have worked with Daniel on this project. Look for Facing the Mountain in May 2021. 
Make a Year-End Gift to Densho

From webinars to short films, podcasts to teach-ins, we’ve taken innovative approaches to provide materials to educators during these challenging times. Your year-end gift to Densho will ensure that we can continue to provide online resources and curriculum to support remote learning for educators. Make a donation of $125 or more by December 31st and we’ll send you one of two exciting thank-you gifts: a custom enamel pin of the Honor Roll at Minidoka designed by artist Kiku Hughes, or Erika Lee’s America for Americans, that recounts our country’s shameful history of xenophobia and why it has endured. Donate $250 or more and we’ll send you both!
Campu Returns on January 6

Densho’s podcast Campu tells the story of Japanese American incarceration like you’ve never heard it before. Brother-sister duo Noah and Hana Maruyama weave together the voices of survivors to spin narratives out of the seemingly mundane things that gave shape to the incarceration experience: rocks, fences, food, paper. Follow along as they move far beyond the standard Japanese American incarceration 101 and into more intimate and lesser-known corners of this history. Episodes 1-3 are available now wherever you listen to podcasts. Make sure to subscribe to hear new episodes starting on January 6th. 
Densho Won the BECU People's Choice Award

You voted, and Densho WON the $40,000 BECU People’s Choice Award! We are grateful that so many people took the time to vote for Densho. BECU selected us as a finalist because of our work to support remote learning, and your votes made us their People’s Choice. We are so fortunate to have a support base and friends who quickly mobilized to help us out during such an uncertain time. With these funds, we will be able to continue to share more online resources and curriculum to support remote learning. Thank you so much to our Densho community and BECU!
Blog Highlight: Yoshio Okumoto’s Views of Life in Heart Mountain

Yoshio Okumoto was a biologist by profession, but for a few years during WWII—while incarcerated at Heart Mountain—he became a prolific photographer documenting his and others' experiences in the camp. The photos he left behind are a remarkable record of life in Heart Mountain and Japanese Americans’ efforts to create beauty and retain a sense of community despite their confinement.

Oral History Spotlight: Teaching in Camp

Hannah Lai grew up in Seattle and was incarcerated at the Puyallup Assembly Center and Minidoka concentration camp during WWII. While at Minidoka, she was recruited to teach elementary school students in the camp. In this clip, she describes the challenges she faced as a new teacher with limited resources.