by Erika Vazquez
This weekend marks the 75th Day of Remembrance, commemorating the World War II incarceration of over 110,000 Japanese Americans. In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 and authorized the internment of Japanese Americans in ten internment camps across the United States. For two and a half years, many Japanese Americans endured extremely difficult living conditions and poor treatment.
It is important to recognize and acknowledge an important date such as this because many lives were changed so drastically in such a short period of time. Families were separated and some even passed away due to the living conditions of the camps.
Over the years, Visual Communications has produced films that teach the community about events in our history that are important for people to acknowledge. In 2004, VC produced John Esaki's “Stand up for Justice," a short film inspired by the true story of Ralph Lazo, a Mexican American who volunteered to join his Japanese American friends at the Manzanar concentration camp. In the film, we see how Japanese Americans were racially classified and grouped into the camps, and the poor conditions of the camps in which they lived in for two years. To see this film, please contact us to visit our VC Archives.
We believe in empowering communities, because even living in the 21st century we still need to remind others and ourselves to remain vigilant in protecting civil rights and standing together.
We encourage you to attend the Day of Remembrance event at the Japanese American National Museum on Saturday, Feb. 18 to remember those who were affected by the order that President Roosevelt authorized. To learn more, visit JANM.org.
Erika Vazquez is an intern with Visual Communications. She is currently a senior at California State University Fullerton, majoring in Communications, Entertainment and Tourism. She looks forward to expanding her knowledge about filmmaking and organizing community events and film festivals.