Minoru Yasui Day Registration

An update from the Minoru Yasui Legacy Project and the Oregon Nikkei Endowment/Japanese American Museum of Oregon:

We are writing to share that we are cancelling this year’s March 28 Minoru Yasui Day event. We were well on our way to finalizing the program, an event to honor one of Oregon’s civil and human rights heroes by presenting the challenges that refugees and immigrants face in light of U.S. immigration policies. Yet, with the rapid advent of COVID-19, we at the Minoru Yasui Legacy Project want to do our part to assist social distancing and support those who may be at high health risk. For this reason, we believe it is in the best interests of our community to cancel the event.

We are sincerely grateful for the sponsors who chose to support Min Yasui Day, the speakers who agreed to share their knowledge and wisdom, the students who planned to submit projects for the Minoru Yasui Student Content, and the people who planned to attend.

We are considering how and when we should reschedule the program, as we know our problematic immigration policies and the hardships that refugees, immigrants, Dreamers and others face will continue despite the event’s cancellation. Here are some ways we feel would continue this work:

Please consider viewing the following statement by President Obama in awarding Min the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015, which we had planned to show on March 28th: Obama’s statement. Please take to heart what the President said and realize that now more than ever we need to act in Min’s stead and speak out about injustices so that we can protect our democracy and constitution. Our program was also to include a video from Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, sharing her vision and stance on equitable immigration policies. We will send you her video once it is received.

Our keynote speaker would have been activist Dr. Satsuki Ina, the co-founder and co-chair of Tsuru for Solidarity.

Tsuru for Solidarity is a nonviolent, direct action project of Japanese American social justice advocates working to end detention sites and support front-line immigrant and refugee communities that are being targeted by racist, inhumane immigration policies. We stand on the moral authority of Japanese Americans who suffered the atrocities and legacy of U.S. concentration camps during WWII and we say, “Stop Repeating History!”

Dr. Ina — born in the Tule Lake prison camp—was to speak about the parallels between the Japanese American incarceration during World War II and the detention of immigrant children on the U.S-Mexico Border. We encourage you to learn about Tsuru for Solidarity and the cranes people are making to demonstrate peace, compassion, hope and healing. Videos on the Tsuru for Solidarity website demonstrate how to fold origami cranes and securely string them together. We suggest you have your own “fold-in” in the safety of your own home.

Should you choose to fold cranes, we encourage you to mail them to the Tsuru for Solidarity headquarters, National Japanese American Historical Society, 1684 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94115; and to display them in your homes, cars, businesses, and elsewhere as a sign of hope and healing as you stand in solidarity with the children, families and communities being unjustly detained, imprisoned, attacked, and mistreated.

With this pandemic, biases can and have surfaced, locally and nationally. For this reason, in addition to viewing the videos and folding cranes, we ask you to be aware of and correct the language being used by some to refer to COVID-19. Terms such as “China virus,” “Wuhan virus,” and “foreign virus” are stigmatizing and xenophobic. If you are well and patronizing stores and restaurants, we ask that you continue to eat at Chinese restaurants, buy at Asian stores, and patronize other Asian businesses, as many have incorrectly drawn a line between COVID-19 and people of Asian and Chinese ancestry. This xenophobic thinking, remarks and behaviors are not only biased, but they detract from the focus and need for all of us to come together for the sake of everyone’s health and safety.

Min Yasui said, “If we believe in America, if we believe in equal democracy, if we believe in law and justice—then, each of us, when we see or believe such errors are being made, have an obligation to make every effort to correct such mistake{s}…” Let’s all do our part to STOP REPEATING HISTORY. Thank you, be well, and stay tuned!