Current Events of Interest
2017 Digital Storytelling Project Releases Four New Videos
The Digital Storytelling Project, an educational and outreach project of the Foundation, continued work on producing videos focusing on the ten World War II Japanese American Internment Camps. Four students worked on this special project, each selecting one of the camps and producing a film to capture their research and thoughts regarding the camp.
Jerome: Democracy Adrift
Minidoka: A Portrait of America
Gila River: Stealing Home
Tule Lake: Fighting the Fence
Jerome Camp, Located in Arkansas, opened (although it was not completed) in September 1942, and is depicted in this video by Ryan Nguyen.
Minidoka was an internment camp in Idaho and is portrayed in this video by Becca Jackson.
Gila River was located on an Indian Reservation in Arizona and was known for its baseball team. This film by Annie Schillo captures the essence of the camp.
Tule Lake was designated as the segregation center, selected because of its capacity and the large number of persons who gave "incorrect" responses to the loyalty questions. These facts are recounted in this film by Jackson Sousa.
2016 Digital Storytelling Project Presents First Five Videos
In the summer of 2016, five exceptional high-school students from diverse backgrounds and from four different states (CA, OH, MD, DC) who wanted to learn about the Japanese American experience and history during WWII, tapped into their creativity and produced the first five videos of NJAMF’s 2016 Digital Storytelling Project. The students each researched one internment camp, conducted interviews with former incarcerees and their families, and then, while at the Heart Mountain Pilgrimage, received training from Jeff MacIntyre, an Emmy-award-winning documentarian, on how to produce these videos, or “digital stories.” The videos-- featuring Amache, Heart Mountain, Manzanar, Poston, and Topaz--can be viewed below. To support the continuation of this project, donate here.
Amache: Never Forget
Heart Mountain: Racial Profiling Then and Now
Manzanar: One Camp, Ten Thousand Lives
Poston: A Cycle of Fear
Topaz: History Must Not Repeat Itself
Amache (aka Grenada), was a Japanese American WWII internment camp in the town of Amache, Colorado. It is depicted in this short video created by Halle Sousa.
Heart Mountain, located in Powell, Wyoming, was a Japanese American WWII internment camp and is recalled in this short video created by Connor Yu.
Manzanar was a Japanese American WWII internment camp in California. It is recalled in this short video created by Julia Shin.
Poston, in Arizona’s desert country, was a Japanese American WWII internment camp and is portrayed in this short video created by Reed Leventis.
Topaz, a Japanese American WWII internment camp located in Utah is depicted in this short video created by Carolyn Hoover.
The Digital Storytelling Project is a seed project of the Foundation that is meant to inspire a young generation to engage in civil rights, the study of the Constitution, and America’s checkered history.
- We called for applications from high school students around the country with the goal of choosing ten students—one for each major incarceration camp in the mainland U.S.—to learn how to develop, write, research, and ultimately produce a short video. We chose five students this year and we intend to choose five more for next year. The students traveled to Cody, Wyoming, in July 2016 to attend a two-day intensive digital storytelling workshop offered as part of the Heart Mountain Pilgrimage. The students worked very hard for many hours and were able to offer the first showings of their films to a banquet room full of enthusiastic friends of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation. Now the five films are polished and available to the general public.
Our partner in mentoring the students through digital storytelling training is Jeff MacIntyre. Since 1988, Mr. MacIntyre has been producing reality-based/news-formatted television content and documentaries. He is an Emmy Award-Winning Producer, Cameraman and Editor. His work for ABC News has taken him all over the world and has garnered 11 Emmys and four Edward R. Murrow awards for excellence in Journalism and Production. His Los Angeles-based production company is Content Media Group. The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation has been our other partner in the project, hosting the Workshop last summer and making the expertise of their Executive Director, Brian Leisinger, available to the students. The creators of the five videos are Halle Sousa from California (Amache), Connor Yu from Washington, DC (Heart Mountain), Julia Shin from Ohio (Manzanar), Reed Leventis from Maryland (Poston), and Carolyn Hoover from Maryland (Topaz).
The Digital Storytelling Project is meant to be the heart of a mobile Application to be developed in 2017 for visitors to the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism in WWII. Most visitors to the Memorial in Washington, DC, did not experience life in a confinement site. We hope the videos on the mobile App will give every visitor to the Memorial a real sense of the experience at every one of the confinement sites. The fact that each video was created by a young person interested in civil rights and the history of Japanese Americans during WWII supports our goal of including the upcoming generations of Americans in all of the Foundation’s work.
To support additional students participating in this project go to http://njamf.com/SupportUs/SupportUs.html and donate through PayPal. Or simply send a check to: NJAMF-Digital Project 4200 Wisconsin Ave. NW #106-236 Washington, DC 20016
High school students interested in applying for the Project in 2017 should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Past Events of Interest
Secretary Mineta Welcomes Cherry Blossom Princesses to Memorial
“Here we admit a wrong. Here we affirm our commitment as a nation to equal justice under the law.”
— President Ronald W. Reagan, upon signing the Civil Liberties Act of 1988
For the United States, the Second World War began when the Empire of Japan attacked American armed forces at Pearl Harbor in what was then the Territory of Hawaii on Sunday, December 7, 1941. A little more than two months later – in what was eventually described as acts born of wartime hysteria, racism, and weak political leadership - President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. The Order resulted in the internment of 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry into 10 relocation camps scattered through more desolate regions of the western United States.
Most of those interned were American citizens. But despite these injustices, thousands of Japanese Americans voluntarily joined the U.S. armed services forces to help win the war in Europe and the war in the Pacific. More than four decades later, the United States Government – in the historic Civil Liberties Act of 1988 approved by Congress and the President -- formally apologized for the personal justice denied by the mass internment.
Soon thereafter, Japanese American veterans of the War led an effort to create a national memorial in the Nation’s Capital to honor the military and civilian patriotism of these individuals and the communities in which they struggled. An ultimate quest was to lift the unjust stigma of shame placed upon the backs of these loyal Americans. The National Japanese American Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC on Federal land on November 9, 2000.
The Memorial honors the heroism and sacrifice of Japanese Americans who fought and died for their country. The Memorial tells the story of Japanese Americans who supported their nation on the home front. But the Memorial does not tell merely a Japanese American story. It tells an American story of patriotism, perseverance and posterity. It is a story about the rights of every American. It is a story of triumph over tragedy.
Throughout our presentation, we'll be mindful of the purpose of the Memorial and our mission. You'll have an opportunity to learn more about how the Memorial was conceived, designed and constructed. You’ll meet the people whose dedication and effort brought it into being, and hear some of the many stories of those Japanese American patriots to whom it is dedicated. But most importantly, you'll be provided the important opportunity to participate in the Foundation’s ongoing efforts to share our story…and your rights.