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16 California Educator June/July 2012 FEATURE OUR BOAST We print the news VOL. 1, ISSUE 1 SIGN OF THE TIMES A Newspaper the People Read INDEPENDENCE, CALIFORNIA FEBRUARY 1942 JAPANESE AMERICAN INTERNMENT: WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED? Eileen Ngoy and Estuardo Casteneda at Thomas Starr King Middle School in Los Angeles listen to Jenny Chomori talk about the Japanese American internment. IT'S 1941 FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT is president. The nation is just emerging from the Great Depression of the 1930s. Racial segregation is legal. Frozen foods, antibiotics and TV are essentially unknown. Children gather around family radios to listen to series such as "The Lone Ranger." In Europe, U.S. allies are at war with Hitler, but many Americans want to stay uninvolved. Few people outside Hawaii have ever heard of Pearl Harbor. Farewell to Manzanar Sourcebook "T HEY WERE TOLD they were going to the camps for their own protection. But the guns weren't facing out. They were facing in." There is silence as Jenny Chomori describes how innocent Japanese Americans were incarcerated dur- ing World War II. Sixth-graders at Thomas Starr King Middle School in Los Angeles are shocked that U.S. residents were locked up after the bombing of Pearl Harbor just because they were Japanese. Most lost their homes and all their possessions. How could that happen, asks Chomori, in a land dedicated to justice for all? Her class is creating podcasts and movies about the Japanese American internment and reading It's about civil rights, freedom and what it means to be a citizen. Cliff Kusaba U.S. military. Some 6,000 served in the Military Intel- ligence Service, playing a key role in the Pacific The- ater, intercepting and decoding enemy messages. Thousands who served defended the reputation of their community with their lives while their families were interned. It wasn't until the 1988 Civil Liberties Act (often called the Redress Bill) was signed into law that the United States apologized for the unjustified ference as a powerful experience. "For me, it was per- sonal. It was where my family lived." Attendees ate meals in the reconstructed mess hall and met in the auditorium. They visited the interpretive center, talked with former inmates and visited the camp- ground, ending the conference at the Manzanar monu- ment and cemetery. Now, 70 years later, history may not have repeated itself, but it did take a similar turn after Sept. 11, ob- serves Kusaba. "The panic after 9/11 was similar to what ensued after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor," says the Teachers Association of Long Beach member. "The Patriot Act brought civil rights and privacy into ques- EDITION $.50

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