Stories From Our Venues

Meaningful Movies Honors Japanese Americans Fighting For Justice for All

On November 15, 2019, Meaningful Movies in Kirkland screened “Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story.” During WWII, Fred Korematsu, at  age 22, defied government orders to live in an internment camp and challenged the federal policy of internment of Japanese Americans in court.

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson attended and spoke about his recent accomplishments protecting the civil rights of Washingtonians. He spoke specifically about his opposition to several immigrant travel bans enacted by Presidential Executive Order. Attorney General Ferguson reminded the crowd of the lessons learned from brave Japanese Americans such as Fred Korematsu who resisted unjust internment during  World War II.

Members of the audience learned that the children of Japanese Americans who were interned continue to fight for the rights of our immigrant neighbors. In 2017 Jay Hirabayashi, Holly Yasui, and Karen Korematsu joined in an amicus brief by Seattle University’s Korematsu Center and several other legal advocacy groups.  According to Heidi Groover writing for The Stranger, “The center is named for camp Fred Korematsu, who along with  Gordon Hirabayashi and Minoru Yasui, refused to follow government-imposed curfews or register at internment camps. All three became symbols of the movement against internment as they took their cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld their convictions.” 

Attorney General Ferguson is currently working with State Senator Bob Hasegawa and State Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos to pass a state law that creating an annual day of remembrance on Jan. 30 to honor Japanese Americans who fought against Japanese Internment. These pioneering civil rights leaders left a legacy that stands for the enduring importance of fundamental human rights. 

 

On November 21, 2019, The Mt Baker Meaningful Movies Team presented their 2019 Mt Baker Social Justice Documentary of the Year Award to  “Never Give Up ” which  reveals  the story of Minoru Yasui, his family, and  his  resistance  to the unjust imprisonment of Japanese American families during World War 2. The Mt Baker leaders recognized this film  “because of its power and impact, the continued relevance of the topic, and the current activism of the filmmakers and other Japanese Americans”.

 “Never Give Up” was screened at Mt Baker venue on July 25, 2019. After the film, guest speakers, Stan Shikuma, Min’s brother, Homer Yasui, and niece Barbara Yasui led a conversation about the current injustice of our immigration system and the internment and separation of immigrant families. The filmmakers encouraged attendees to support the group, Tsuru for Solidarity, a nonviolent, direct action project of Japanese American social justice advocates who are working to end immigrant detention sites and to support front-line communities.  They say they stand on the moral authority of Japanese Americans who suffered great injustices in U.S. concentration camps during WWII. 

 The  Mt Baker Meaningful Movies Team expressed gratitude to the Japanese American descendants who are speaking up and saying “Stop Repeating History”! The Yasui’s and other members of Tsuru ask that Meaningful Movies leaders, friends and attendees join them in a National Pilgrimage to Close the Camps on June 5-7, 2020.  You can learn more at https://tsuruforsolidarity.org