February 2017
From Executive Director Tom Ikeda

Dear Friends,

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been asked how Trump's recent executive order placing a temporary ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries relates to Roosevelt's executive order leading to the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans. My answer is that the better comparisons for the Trump Executive Order are the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1908 that restricted immigration of Japanese laborers, and the Immigration Act of 1924 halting immigration of Japanese and other Asians ineligible for U.S. citizenship—all of which contributed to the anti-Japanese sentiment that paved the way for Executive Order 9066. What is similar among these laws, treaties, and orders is that they were designed to keep a particular group out of the United States because of fears that they were dangerous. A fear of Chinese and Japanese as a “Yellow Peril” back then looks a lot like a fear of Muslims as potential terrorists today.

In the cases of these discriminatory immigration policies, we have the benefit of actual results and historical analysis to show that the sensationalized fears of bringing in a supposedly dangerous population were unfounded. When Chinese and Japanese immigrants were allowed into the United States, they worked hard and contributed to American society, just like other groups. Making immigration policy from a place of fear and "America first" hysteria doesn’t work. Let’s allow all Muslims a fair and equal opportunity to apply for immigration, and let us approve these applications based on the individual and not by race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or country of origin.

Join me on February 19th as I discuss this topic with my friend and colleague, Arsalan Bukhari, Director of the Washington chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. 


Tom Ikeda

**Updated Venue & Event Information**
Due to overwhelming interest in our Day of Remembrance event with CAIR-Washington State, we are relocating the event to the Seattle Center Fisher Pavilion so that we can accommodate a higher volume of attendees. We are also delighted to share the news that we have added Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal to the program.  If you're in the Seattle area, please consider joining us for this critical and timely conversation!*

We will have reserved seating for Japanese Americans who were incarcerated or who served during World War II and their families. Email info@densho.org to let us know you're attending so that we can reserve space for you. 

*If you can't attend in person, we will be live streaming the event from our  Facebook page  beginning at 2 p.m. EST.  
Day of Remembrance Events in Seattle and Beyond

With the 75th Anniversary of EO 9066 coming at such a charged moment in American history, Day of Remembrance events across the country are more relevant than ever this year. Check this listing of Day of Remembrance events to see what's happening in your area and get involved!

>> Event listing

Blog Highlight: "This is Not a Test" 

Tom Ikeda responds to the Muslim travel ban: 

"Japanese American incarceration didn’t happen overnight. It happened after decades of vilification, legal measures, and discrimination, much like what Muslim immigrants, refugees, and citizens are now being subjected to."

>> Read more. 

Densho content director Brian Niiya says, "it was thrilling to see a nearly all Asian American cast on a Broadway stage performing a story about the central episode in the history of Japanese Americans." Even so, there are some historical inaccuracies that he thinks readers should be aware of. 

>> Read more. 

Densho Teacher Workshop

We are pleased to announce a new Densho teacher workshop:

Middle school and high school educators in Seattle*, Spokane, New York, and Birmingham are invited to join us for this one-day workshop and will be compensated with a $100 stipend. 

>> Learn more and register.

*The Seattle workshop is full but a waitlist is available. 

Oral History Spotlight

Cherry Kinoshita was a longtime Seattle activist and contributor to the Japanese American Citizens League and the redress movement. In this clip, she talks about the first Day of Remembrance in Seattle and Puyallup, Washington, and its effect on the Japanese American community. 

>> Watch interview clip

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