(PHOENIX, Ariz., Jan. 17, 2012) – The Raul H. Castro Institute of Phoenix College and the Asian Pacific Islander Coalitions from Glendale Community College and Mesa Community College will present a 30-minute drama based on the real life actions of one Mexican-American/Irish-American student in Los Angeles to the forced relocation of his Japanese-American friends to concentration camps during World War II.
Ralph Lazo, a 16-year-old student from Belmont High School, chose to go to the Manzanar concentration camp in Owens Valley, California with his Japanese American classmates and their families. He was imprisoned for three years before being drafted by the U.S. Army and sent to the Pacific theater.
The 30-minute educational narrative, which has been adopted by many school districts in California as part of the curriculum, explores the enduring values of friendship and loyalty between Lazo and his Japanese American Nisei friends. Lazo is deeply moved by the trauma suffered by Japanese American families after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. When Japanese Americans on the West Coast are forced to sell their possessions and leave for designated concentration camps following the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lazo decides to join them. He obtains his father’s permission to “go to camp” and manages to board the train taking hundreds of Japanese Americans to Manzanar.
Following the film, which will be screened at Bulpitt Auditorium on Friday, January 20, will be a panel discussion featuring Mas Inoshita, a former internee at the Gila River Internment Camp in Arizona; Marian Tadano Shee, a former internee at Crystal City Camp in Texas; Kathy Masaoka, co-chair of the Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress in Los Angeles; and Pete Garcia, president of The Victoria Foundation.
Jason Tadano, president of the Associated Student Government at Glendale Community College, will serve as moderator.
Other sponsors of the event are: the Asian Chambers of Commerce, The Victoria Foundation, Chinese American Citizens Alliance-Phoenix chapter, Japanese American Citizens League-Phoenix chapter.
A reception prior to the screening with authentic Japanese food available for sale and provided by Nagasaki Grill's Chef Yoshi-San will be held in Pastor Plaza.
The event is free and open to the public.
When: Friday, January 20, 2012
6-7 p.m. Reception in PC's Pastor Plaza; Film begins at 7 p.m. followed by panel discussion
Where: Phoenix College Bulpitt Auditorium
For more information, contact Jim Shee at 602.499.9488 or Ted Namba at 602.571.0247.