Japanese Americans rally to resist Trump concentration camps

‘Never Again Is Now’ rally at Japanese American National Museum. Photos: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee
Joy Yamaguchi and Leslie Ishii from Nikkei Progressives speak at June 27 rally.

Los Angeles

On June 27, nearly 1,000 Angelenos, including children, adults and elders, gathered at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) to demand an end to the brutal U.S. policy of separating migrant and refugee families and detaining children in concentration camps. These camps are reminiscent of those that Japanese Americans were forced into during World War II. The slogan “Never again is now” rang through Little Tokyo in Los Angeles.

The rally was organized by a coalition of 13 Japanese American community organizations, including Nikkei Progressives, Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress, the Manzanar Committee and Japanese Americans for Justice. JANM, where the rally was held, is located at the site where Japanese families stood in lines to board buses to U.S. concentration camps after being removed from their homes over 70 years ago.

It was a diverse gathering. Korean drummers opened the rally, followed by a blessing from the Indigenous Tongva Elder Tina Orduno Calderon. Joy Yamaguchi of Nikkei Progressives reported from the June 22 protest being held at the infamous Fort Sill in Oklahoma, where 700 Japanese families were incarcerated during World War II. The protest at Fort Sill was in response to the Trump administration’s plans to detain migrant children there. The rally concluded with music, poetry and calls for continuing resistance.

The organizers announced a Crystal City Pilgrimage, an action at the Dilley Detention Center in Texas, from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2; and a Tsuru (paper cranes) for Solidarity Action in May 2020 in Washington, D.C.