July 2016
From Executive Director Tom Ikeda

Dear Friends,

This is a milestone year for me and Densho. Not only did I turn 60 years old, but it also marks 20 years since the beginnings of Densho when I learned how to do an oral history interview and excitedly prototyped a Windows 95 computer to display a few video interviews and a dozen historic photographs to demonstrate what Densho might look like in the future. I delighted in showing people how technology made it easy to find and view this multimedia content, with one UW professor calling the demo “magic.” But the real magic, I remember thinking, was going to happen when people around the world would be able to search, watch, and learn from hundreds of interviews about what happened to Japanese Americans during World War II. 

After 20 years, 900 Densho interviews, and a million worldwide visitors to our website, I now realize the real magic is in our community and the stories they have shared. Please join us on September 24th as we celebrate these stories and our community. We will acknowledge the men and women who graciously opened their homes and allowed Densho to record their oral histories. And we will honor the community that has supported our work at each step along the way.

In addition to celebrating our past twenty years, we will preview what's in store for the next twenty. While we continue the necessary work of documenting Japanese American history, we have also increasingly taken on a social justice mission, drawing comparisons with what happened to a targeted minority group during World War II with the fear, racism, and bigotry we see today. Our dinner speaker, Dale Minami, is one of my personal heroes who will connect his groundbreaking work of getting justice for Fred Korematsu with the need for justice today.

Proceeds from this dinner will broaden our education efforts with students and teachers and increase our outreach efforts with public events, social media, online courses, and our nationally acclaimed website. Each dinner registration makes a difference, as the proceeds from just one ticket are enough to train one teacher who will reach dozens of students each year

My hope is that you will be inspired to attend. Below are some details for the event. It would mean a lot to me, Densho, teachers, and students if you support this effort! If you are unable to attend the event but still want to contribute, you can contribute online or mail us a donation at Densho, 1416 S. Jackson, Seattle, WA 98144. 



Densho 20th Anniversary Gala

Date: Saturday, September 24, 2016
Time: 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Place: Sheraton Seattle Hotel

Ticket prices: Early Bird: $200 / After Labor Day: $225

Learn more at www.densho.org/gala

Lawyer and activist  Dale Minami  will connect his groundbreaking work of getting justice for Fred Korematsu with the need for justice today.

Dale has been involved in significant litigation involving the civil rights of Asian Pacific Americans and other minorities. He has also received awards for his work including the ABA’s Thurgood Marshall and Spirit of Excellence Awards, ACLU’s Civil Liberties Award, the Employment Law Center’s Matthew Tobriner Award, and Honorary Degrees from the McGeorge and USF Schools of Law.
2015 Annual Report

We recently issued our 2015 annual report. If you didn't receive a print version, we invite you to take a look at the online version now. [link forthcoming]

In addition to reporting on accomplishments from the previous year, we are asking our supporters to make contributions that will help us sustain our work for another twenty years to come. If you are not able to attend the gala, we ask that you consider making a 20th anniversary donation by visiting our online giving platform.

Black Lives Matter 

Along with many in our community, Densho staffers were deeply troubled by the events that unfolded across our country last week. Our only hope is that this opens the door for communication and action. To that end, here are some resources we have found helpful. If you would like to share other resources or comments, please email me at tom.ikeda@densho.org. 

Thank You, Office of Arts and Culture!

We owe a big thanks to the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture for 2016 Arts Mean Business funding. This continued support helps us fund our Communications Manager position, allowing us to greatly increase the reach of our archival materials through social media, an active blog, media and community outreach, and through other written and digital communications. Funding for this position has enabled Densho to keep the story of Japanese American incarceration visible and relevant to issues concerning social justice and racial equity today. 

Oral History Spotlight

Rudy Tokiwa grew up in Salinas, California. During World War II, he was sent to the Salinas Assembly, California, and the Poston concentration camp, Arizona. In this clip he talks about being unaccustomed to the heat in Arizona.
Densho in the News 

NBC Asian America published Densho Special Projects Coordinator Nina Wallace's essay, A "Doubly Strange and Bewildering Day": Views of July 4th from Behind Barbed Wire.

Discover Nikkei published Densho Content Director Brian Niiya's essay, Common Myths of World War II Incarceration: "More Than Half Were Children".  

We are always pleased to see the story of World War II incarceration get out to a broader audience and are proud of our talented staff.

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