Japanese American group to hold panel, seeks to award honorary degrees to WWII detainees

The Nisei Project Symposium said it will host a panel discussion on the history and impact of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Sherman Kishi, Naomi Yamamoto, Turlock, and John Tateishi, leader of redress, will be featured at the symposium at Modesto Junior College, Tuesday, April 20th.

A reception with photo and artifacts display will be held at 6 p.m., and the panel discussion will begin at 7 p.m. in the MJC Student Fireside Lounge, East Campus.

It’s free and open to the public.

The reason for the symposium, organizers said, is the lack of knowledge of about the internment and about those who were denied a diploma.

Executive Order 9066 was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1942. It caused 120,000 people of Japanse ancestry to be forcibly removed from their homes and community, sent to remote internment camps and denied all constitutional rights, organizers said in a news release.

According to the California Nisei Diploma Project, 62 percent of the men, women, and children sent to the camps were American-born citizens who were Nisei (second-generation) and Sansei (third-generation) Japanese Americans.

The California Nisei Diploma Project is an initiative that seeks to award honorary degrees to all Japanese American students who had their college educations interrupted when they were forced out of institutions of higher learning and into internment camps.

The Nisei Project is the implementation of Assembly Bill 37 signed into law Oct. 11, 2009. MJC is seeking some 28 former students and plans to recognize them during the commencement ceremony April 30.