September 2017
From Executive Director Tom Ikeda
Dear Friends,

Personal stories have the power to connect our communities, guide the work we do, and inspire each of us. Earlier this week, I was in Washington, D.C. to lead a history session at a national convention of Asian and Pacific American non-profit organizations. The purpose of this session was to acknowledge the difficulties we face in navigating a political environment where vulnerable communities are under heightened attacks—and to find lessons in our shared history, where we have seen this repeatedly.

To get us grounded, we each told our personal story of why social justice work is so important to us. We heard family histories of coming from war-torn Vietnam and Cambodia, growing up as a Chinese American amidst racism in a Midwest town, journeys to explore Polynesian roots, being in Koreatown during the L.A. riots, and Japanese American families incarcerated during World War II. Sharing and hearing these powerful stories gave me a feeling of empathy, inspiration, gratitude, and resilience.

If you feel overwhelmed by the daily mind-numbing examples of racism and injustice happening in our country today, take a moment to find your own personal story and share it with someone else . Then ask that person to share their story. I hope making this connection will give you strength and clarity as we face the difficult days ahead.


Tom Ikeda
Curriculum: Examining Racism and Discrimination Through Oral History

For the past two years, we've been developing and workshopping a new curriculum that uses personal stories and oral history to bring conversations about racism and discrimination to the classroom. Please help us share it widely -- these conversations are so needed right now.

Thanks to our funders, the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program and the Kip Tokuda Memorial Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program.

And THANK YOU to all of our individual Densho donors who helped us meet the required matching funds for these grants. We truly could not do this important work without you!
Join Us For the First Annual Densho Dinner
Join Us On November 18th For Our First Annual Densho Dinner!

We are busy planning the 2017 Densho Dinner and we think you're going to love it. We're creating a program that will get you thinking and talking about the need for civic action. But we're also introducing fun new features too: A Dessert Dash will allow guests to pool their resources and compete for a selection of fine cakes and confections. A Wine Grab will put your divination skills to the test as you select from a lineup of cloaked wine bottles, valued between $30 and $100. Wine and cake for a good cause? Everyone’s a winner !
5 Ways You Can Help Us Make our First Densho Dinner a Success

We need your help in making our first annual Densho Dinner a success. Here are five ways to get involved:
  • Buy individual tickets or sign up to serve as a table captain.
  • Volunteer at the event.
  • Donate items for our wine grab or dessert dash.
  • Sponsor the event.
  • Donate an item for our live auction.
Have we piqued your interest?
Email Naoko Magasis and let her know how you'd like to get involved:
New Staff Announcement

This summer we welcomed Cameron Johnson on board as our new Assistant Digital Archivist . Having worked on collections at U.C. Berkeley’s Folklore Archive as well as those at the Minidoka National Historic Site, Cameron’s interests are centered on the preservation and presentation of narratives in historically underrepresented communities. Most content when poking around cultural texts and esoteric computer systems, he is elated to get to do both in his new position at Densho. Cameron holds a B.A. in anthropology and a minor in rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley. He is continually humbled and emboldened by the experiences gained at the intersections of public outreach and collections management.
Blog Highlight: 4 Crucial Things to Remember As You #DefendDACA

Last week, President Trump turned the futures of 800,000 young immigrants, many of whom know no life outside the U.S., into gambling chips in a toxic political climate. Aside from being unquestionably cruel, a  lawsuit filed by 15 state attorney generals alleges that the administration’s actions were motivated by racial bias and that they violate the due process rights of DACA recipients. We’ve got a long battle ahead, folks, and there are a few crucial things to remember as we wage that battle. 

>> Read more .
Visual History Spotlight

Alfred "Al" Miyagishima was born in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, but moved with his family to Stockton, California, before World War II. During the war, he was incarcerated in the Stockton Assembly Center, California, and the Gila River concentration camp, Arizona. In this clip, he describes his first impressions of the camp at Stockton.

Scapegoat Cities

This month, scholar and longtime Densho collaborator Eric Muller debuted a new podcast featuring stories from WWII incarceration. The first three episodes are currently available online and through iTunes. Listen in and let us know what you think!

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