During WWII, the United States government incarcerated about 120,000 innocent Japanese, Japanese American and Japanese Latin American people during World War II because Japan was seen as its enemy at the time.
Now, former Japanese American and Japanese Latin American detainees and their decedents are part of a growing movement to protest immigration detention in the United States because they don’t want “the history of injustice to repeat itself.”
Indykids journalists spoke with Lauren Sumida, one of the members of Tsuru for Solidarity, who, with Indigenous leaders, immigrant rights advocates, and racial justice groups staged a peaceful protest at Fort Sill Army base in Oklahoma, in June 2019, to stand up against the proposed incarceration of 1,400 migrant children there.
Fort Sill Army base has a long history of incarcerating communities, not just Japanese Americans, but also Native Americans. Several Chiricahua Apache prisoners of war, including about 50 children, were “dumped unprotected” in Fort Sill in the autumn of 1894, among them Chief Geronimo, a symbol of Native American resistance, who died there in 1909. There was also an American ‘Indian boarding school’ there, and many Native peoples were born in captivity in Fort Sill. President Obama first used Fort Sill in 2014 to detain Central American migrant children seeking asylum from violence in their home countries.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced in late July it, “does not have an immediate need to place children in (holding) facilities.” Yet the group Tsuru for Solidarity continues to campaign against immigration detention elsewhere in the country.
Listen to Lauren Sumida reflect on what being part of this movement has meant for her and her family. Indykids reporters produced this podcast as part of their summer camp.
Listen to their story:
Incarceration – Being confined in prison; imprisonment.
Music in this episode is from Blue Dot Sessions