Leaders from the National JACL have selected the Twin Cities as one of five locations to present a teacher training workshop, “Constitutional Vigilance in Times of Crisis.” Several times in our nation’s history, political leaders have been faced with balancing constitutional rights with issues of national security. This workshop, planned for spring of 2015, will cover the historical background of the Japanese American incarceration during WWII and connect it to current events with the ongoing lessons of civil liberties, discrimination, and justice. The project is sponsored by the National JACL with funding from the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program. The TC JACL Education Committee is looking for volunteers to help with the planning and implementation of this project. If you are interested in volunteering to help, please contact Carolyn Nayematsu, firstname.lastname@example.org or (651) 699-7407.
Other recent activities of the Education Committee include participation in the Minnesota Council for the Social Studies and Great Lakes Area 2014 Annual Conference, and fulfilling speaking requests.
On March 2, Sally Sudo and Lucy Kirihara set up a display table at the Sheraton Hotel in Bloomington, and Sally spent the next day with educators providing information and distributing complimentary resource materials, including the Twin Cities JACL curriculum guide on the MIS Language School at Camp Savage and Fort Snelling (CD-ROM), the Densho Civil Liberties Curriculum (CD-ROM), and the National JACL Education curriculum guide on “A Lesson in American History: Japanese American Experience.” A grant from the JACL Legacy Fund supported the chapter’s participation in the conference. Three teachers requested a speaker on the Japanese American World War II Experience. Participation in the conference was made possible through a grant from the JACL Legacy Fund.
For the first school speaking engagement, Sally gave a 40-minute presentation on March 11 to 10th grade history students at Christ’s Household of Faith School in St. Paul. Afterwards, Sally was interviewed by three of those students for their National History Day project. This year’s theme is “Rights and Responsibilities in History,” and in addition to the interview, the students also used materials from the Twin Cities JACL educational resources collection for their project.On March 20, Sally participated in the My Mankato “One Book, One Community” program. The book selected this year was “When the Emperor was Divine” by Julie Otsuka, and organizers gave out 500 free copies. Sally’s presentation on the Japanese American Experience During World War II was the first of three accompanying events organized by Delta Kappa Gamma, a group of women educators in Mankato.
Over 50 people attended the program, and one participant commented on Facebook: “Outstanding Community Read Program last night! Sally Sudo from the Japanese American Citizens League (and an internee at a camp as a child) gave the audience a vivid picture of life as a Japanese American in the internment camps during WWII.”The two other events in conjunction with the program are: screening of “A Time of Fear,” a documentary about the two camps in Arkansas on March 27, 6:30-8 p.m., and a discussion of Otsuka’s book, led by retired English teacher, Beth Christensen, on April 3, 7-8 p.m., both to be held at the North Mankato Police Annex Meeting Room at 1001 Belgrade Avenue, North Mankato.
We are in the planning process of bringing to Minnesota an exhibit titled, “Go For Broke: Japanese American Soldiers Fighting on Two Fronts,” curated by Eric Saul, retired from the Military Museum at the Presidio in San Francisco. The photographic exhibition chronicles the history of Japanese American Nisei soldiers from the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) who served during World War II to prove their loyalty to the country of their citizenship, the United States. This exhibit was presented at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, and opened at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii in Honolulu in March 2014.
The Education Committee has done preliminary work, including meeting Eric Saul at Sally Sudo’s home in December 2013, and meeting with representatives from the Minnesota Historical Society in March to discuss possible venues for the exhibition, including Fort Snelling Visitors Center and the Minnesota History Center.
Lastly, the Twin Cities Education Committee is accepting nominations for its inaugural “Power of Truth” Teacher Award, which will recognize a Minnesota educator in grades K-12 (not limited to a classroom teacher) who goes beyond the required Minnesota curriculum standards in teaching about the Japanese American World War II experience. The educator who is selected will be honored with a monetary award and recognition at our chapter’s annual banquet in Fall 2014. The deadline is June 15, 2014. Download the nomination form or apply online.
Please feel free to contact the Education Committee with questions about any of our projects or programs. Current members are: Sally Sudo (chair), Carolyn Nayematsu (co-chair), Janet Maeda Carlson, Lucy Kirihara, Lil Grothe, Sylvia Farrells, Gloria Kumagai, Matthew Walters, and Cheryl Hirata-Dulas.