Let Me Tell You a Story
Welcome to our new website dedicated to the film we’re making about Minoru Yasui. I want to tell you how I got involved with this amazing film and why I think it’s important.
I’ve been teaching Media and Society classes at a couple of different colleges. When we get to World War Two, I’d show a few documentaries and discuss what was happening in the US at the time. I would bring up the relocation of American citizens of Japanese ancestry from the west coast and how they were put in to concentration camps.
I was shocked when I’d ask the class about these events. Usually a small percentage of the students would have studied it in school, or heard stories from their parents and grandparents but the majority of these college students had no idea about any of this. They knew about the war but nothing about what happened in their own country to American citizens. This is a subject that I learned about in high school, but I grew up on the west coast.
I started assigning class projects and when students would give reports on the relocation it always stimulated lively discussions. One question that always comes up is why didn’t anyone stand up to the government and say this is wrong. I tell them there were a few people who did just that.
Min Yasui’s story is the story of an American Hero. At great personal risk he challenged the military’s orders on a curfew imposed on Japanese Americans. He had a belief that you should not be singled out because of your ancestry and he fought for that belief his entire life. Even though the Supreme Court ruled against him in 1943 he continued his struggle for civil rights for Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, religious minorities, children and youth, senior citizens, low-income people and ex-cons like himself. He dedicated his life to helping others and to support a democracy that he cherished.
I met Holly Yasui when I was in film school in the early 1980’s and when she contacted me recently and asked me to work with her on this film about her father I jumped at the chance.
Minoru Yasui’s life is an amazing story. Please take some time and look around the website to learn more about this amazing man.
Making a film is expensive and we need your help to tell this story. I hope you’ll become a supporter of this film and make a tax-deductible donation.
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We’ll be updating this blog regularly so please come back often to check our progress.