By Production Dramaturg Alix Rosenfeld and former Resident Dramaturg Gina Pisasale, with contributions from Assistant Dramaturg Liana Irvine
“It is up to those of us who feel that a wrong has been committed, that we have fallen short, to bear witness to that fact. It is our obligation to show forth our light in times of darkness, nay, our privilege.”
– Gordon Hirabayashi
In February, we passed a grim anniversary: 80 years since the passing of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the displacement, evacuation, and internment of over 120,000 people of Japanese descent along the West Coast of the United States. When Gordon Hirabayashi peacefully resisted the order, he set in motion a legal battle that would span decades. Yet Gordon’s abiding faith and belief in the Constitution kept him steadfast as he stood up for his rights as an American citizen, despite facing impossible odds and racist government action.
Japanese Americans and many others continue to fight against the violence, discrimination, and dehumanizing practices and policies informed by racism and misinformation. Read on to learn more and consider joining or supporting them.
Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)
Founded in 1929, the JACL nonprofit is the oldest and largest Asian American and Pacific Islander Civil Rights organization in the United States. Along with their work to maintain the civil rights and liberties of Japanese Americans and others facing bigotry and injustice, they strive to preserve the vibrant heritage and Legacy of the Japanese American community.
Stop AAPI Hate
Stop AAPI is a coalition that was created in response to the rise in hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities following COVID-19. They track and analyze incidents of hate perpetrated against AAPI folks to raise awareness, provide resources, and to work with government agencies, corporations, and community organizations towards long-term change.
The Philadelphia Chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Philadelphia)
Founded in 2004 by thirteen Philadelphia-area Muslims to respond to post-9/11 discrimination, CAIR-Philadelphia is a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group working to protect and empower American Muslims. After 9/11, the continuing War on Terror, and Executive Orders authorizing travel bans (justified in court using the Fred Korumatsu Supreme Court decision upholding the Constitutionality of Japanese Internment), anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim hate crimes, discrimination, media representation, and public hysteria more than echoes the treatment of Japanese Americans in the 1940s.
The Shut Down Berks Coalition
The Berks County Residential Center (BCRC) is a 96-bed ICE detention center in Leesport, PA. Originally a family detention center that was briefly cleared in 2021, it has recently reopened to detain adult immigrant women. The Coalition is a group of organizations and individuals fighting against the inhumane treatment of detainees and for the rights of immigrants in Pennsylvania. They remain dedicated to closing all ICE detention centers in the state.
Tsuru for Solidarity
This nonviolent, direct action group of Japanese Americans and allies seeks to shutdown detention sites in the US and provide support for the immigrant and refugee communities affected by these centers. Tsuru means “crane” in Japanese and symbolizes peace, compassion, hope and healing.