Town Hall examines WWII Japanese internment, present-day ‘Muslim Ban’

DEARBORN – The Arab American National Museum hosts its third annual 9/11 Anniversary Town Hall at 6 p.m. Sept. 8.

“Executive Orders: Japanese Internment & the Muslim Ban,” will reflect on the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which resulted in the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, and its contemporary counterpart, Executive Order 13769, known widely as “the Muslim Ban.”

This major anniversary arrives as the nation comes to grips with a new executive order that similarly targets and discriminates based on national origin and religion. A panel comprised of members of the Japanese, Arab and Muslim American communities will explore Japanese internment, draw parallels to EO13769 affecting travel among the Arab and Muslim American communities, and examine future impact.

Admission is free, but reservations are required by going to bit.ly/911townhall. Light refreshments will be provided.

The event is presented in partnership with the Japanese American Citizens League, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, ACCESS’s Campaign to Take on Hate, Bank Suey, and Wayne State University’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights and its Detroit Equity Action Lab.

The discussion will be followed at 8 p.m. by a ticketed Global Fridays musical theater performance of “The Camp Dance: The Music & The Memories” by the Grateful Crane Ensemble, a non-profit theater company dedicated to honoring its Japanese American elders by telling their stories and singing their favorite songs.

Read more about this performance and purchase tickets – $10 AANM members, $15 non-members – at http://arabamericanmuseum.org/GF-Fall-17. Members of the ensemble will take part in the town hall panel prior to the performance.

The AANM is at 13624 Michigan Ave.

9/11 Town Hall panelists

Ahmad Abuznaid was born in Jerusalem. A Palestinian American, he was motivated by the murder of Trayvon Martin to co-found Florida-based Dream Defenders and serves as director for National Network for Arab American Communities, an institution of ACCESS.

Soji Kashiwagi is a San Francisco native who has been executive producer and playwright for the Grateful Crane Ensemble since its founding in 2001. The author of “The Camp Dance: The Music & The Memories,” and other Grateful Crane shows, Kashiwagi’s work has been seen at multiple national conventions of the Japanese American Citizens League, and at the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation gala in Washington, D.C. Both of his parents and their families were incarcerated at the Tule Lake concentration camp during World War II.

Darrell Kunitomi of Los Angeles is a longtime actor and director with the Grateful Crane Ensemble. His theater credits include a monologue using his uncle Ted Fujioka’s wartime letters from the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, honored in 2009’s L.A. Weekly’s Best Production of the Year, Best Male Lead, for his portrayal of a Cambodian genocide survivor in E. M. Lewis’ “Song of Extinction,” reprised at Scotland’s 2010 Edinburgh Fringe. He did voiceovers for the new Go For Broke National Education Center in LA’s Little Tokyo, is a past member of the Manzanar Committee, and currently serves on the board of the Heart Mountain Foundation.

Namira Islam is a Bangladeshi American lawyer and graphic designer. Based in Michigan, she is co-founder and co-director of the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, a faith-based racial justice education organization. Her background includes work in prisoners’ rights litigation, international human rights law and poverty law. She has written for multiple publications, delivered lectures and trainings throughout the United States and provided commentary and analysis on identity, current events and social justice narratives for media worldwide.

Mary Kamidoi was born in Stockton, Calif. She was among those affected by EO9066, ordering the evacuation of 120,000 Japanese Americans from the West Coast. In 1942, at age 11, she and her family were sent to the fairgrounds in Stockton for seven months, then to camps inland. Ordered at the end of the war to vacate the camps, they again had to start a new life. Kamidoi settled in Michigan, where she teaches the history of Japanese internment through her personal experiences.

Amy Doukoure is a graduate of Wayne State University with a degree in English Language Arts. She spent a decade as an educator in the Detroit area, including stints at local Islamic schools. A community advocate, Doukoure wrote grants to open a soup kitchen in the Brightmoor Community in northwest Detroit. While earning her doctorate from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, she was founding president of the Muslim Student Lawyers Association. After law school, Doukoure completed internships at the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy and ACLU of Michigan.