May 2021
From Executive Director Tom Ikeda
Dear friends,

This Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I have been reflecting on the lessons we can learn from our history. These lessons feel especially urgent now, as we witness continued attacks on our Asian friends and elders, more Black lives lost to police violence, and countless children whose lives will be affected by the trauma of incarceration. Understanding our own history, from the anti-Asian hate that met our immigrant ancestors to WWII incarceration and beyond, can help us connect the deep foundation of racism and xenophobia in this country — and give us the tools to root them out.

As daunting as this task might be, I feel grounded in the knowledge of our history, the wisdom of our parents and grandparents’ lived experience, and the blueprints for resilience and resistance passed down between generations. This month and every month, let’s celebrate this inspiring AAPI heritage and do our best to honor it with continued action and engagement.

In solidarity,


We Hereby Refuse Book Event on June 14

We Hereby Refuse is a new graphic novel from authors Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura, with illustrations by Ross Ishikawa. Japanese Americans complied when evicted from their homes in World War II -- but many refused to submit to imprisonment in American concentration camps without a fight. Based upon painstaking research, We Hereby Refuse presents an original vision of America’s past with disturbing links to the American present. Join Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle Public Library Foundation, The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience and Densho on June 14 for a book event featuring Frank Abe, Tamiko Namura and Ross Ishikawa in conversation with Tom Ikeda.
Rewatch Facing the Mountain: Book Launch

Thank you so much for joining us for the official book launch of Facing the Mountain! The book is a gripping story about four Japanese American families and their sons: Gordon Hirabayashi, Kats Miho, Rudy Tokiwa, and Fred Shiosaki. Their stories challenge us to think about what it means to be an American and the many different forms that patriotism can take, from military service to civil disobedience.

Thank you to our event sponsors: Oki Foundation, Ron Tanemura & Tina Yamagiwa, Colbert & Gail Matsumoto, M. J. Takisaki, Inc, City Produce Company LLC, Concourse Concessions LLC, and Ohashi Landscape Services.

If you weren’t able to attend, you can check out the full recording.
Meet Densho's new Development Assistant!

Georgia Seltzer (she/her) was raised on Bainbridge Island, where its shameful place in the incarceration of Japanese Americans is a focus of the public school curriculum. After moving away for college, she quickly realized that this education was an uncommon teaching of World War II and that much of the country is uninformed about the atrocities committed on our own soil. She is excited to join Densho’s team and work towards a more informed and equitable future! 

Georgia is a graduate of Whitman College with a degree in Politics and a minor in Gender Studies. She previously worked as a Field Organizer for Dr. Kim Schrier’s Congressional Campaign and has worked with multiple nonprofits like NARAL Pro-Choice WA, Northwest Center, and Islandwood. 
Oral History Spotlight: The First Night in Manzanar

Grace Hata grew up in Gardena, California and was incarcerated at Manzanar and Tule Lake during WWII. In this clip, she remembers experiencing one of Manzanar's infamous dust storms on her first night in the camp.