“Our History, Our Responsibility: Day of Remembrance 2018,” held Monday in Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion, marked the 76th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066, which ordered Japanese Americans into internment camps.
Khizr Khan, lawyer, author and Gold Star parent, and Kishi Bashi, a musician and filmmaker, spoke and performed Monday as the featured guests at “Our History, Our Responsibility: Day of Remembrance 2018,” in Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion.
The date marked the 76th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066, which ordered Japanese Americans into internment camps. The event was hosted by Densho, a local nonprofit focused on preserving this chapter of Japanese Americans’ history through oral interviews, photographs and documents.
“To make sure that history does not repeat itself,” said Tom Ikeda, Densho’s executive director.
Drawing parallels to modern discrimination against American Muslims, Densho copresented the event with the Washington chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR-WA, to share this day of remembrance.
More on internment
Khan, whose son, United States Army Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed in action during the Iraq war in 2004, showed deep gratitude for the spirit and actions of Japanese Americans.
“Regardless of the mistreatment, regardless of the cruelty, regardless of the prejudice that Japanese American communities suffered, they went to defend this country. They had a belief in the constitutional values, and the goodness of this nation …” Khan, who is Muslim, said.
“Muslim Americans are given strength from your sacrifice.”
Khan made headlines during the 2016 Democratic National Convention as he spoke against then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.
Musician Kishi Bashi, who has been traveling and creating music and a new film at sites where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II, performed a few songs and previewed part of the film.
“For me, cultivating empathy is really the key to combating prejudice and discrimination,” he said. “Art and music are really grounded in bringing out this kind of emotion.”
His new film, “Omoiyari,” connects the experiences of Japanese American internment to modern-day discrimination and issues of identity.
To see the livestream of the event and read more, visit https://densho.org/dor2018/.
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