November/December Update!

Dear supporters of Never Give Up!

I apologize for the long delay in this report. We have been very busy with the culmination of Min Yasui Tribute events on October 19 in Hood River and October 23 in Denver, and making a work-plan for the completion of Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice. And the election results yesterday required a day of silence and reflection before resuming our work.

We celebrated Min Yasui’s 100th birthday in Hood River, Oregon starting on October 18 with the “Vision and Vigilance” program (reading of excerpts from the play Citizen Min, followed by roundtable discussion) organized by Chisao Hata; and on October 19, 2016 with the unveiling of the Legacy Stone at the Public Library in the afternoon, a no-host dinner at Celilo Restaurant located on the site of the old Yasui Brothers store, and the screening of Part One of Never Give Up! at the Columbia Center for the Arts in the evening. Many, many thanks to Maija Yasui who coordinated all the events; Rachael Solomon of the Public Library and Amanda Lawrence of the Sense of Place series which hosted the film.

About 75 people attended the Legacy Stone ceremony and viewed the Medal of Freedom and Minoru Yasui exhibit at the Hood River Public Library between 4-5 pm when the rain blessedly let up for the outdoor event.

Laurie Yasui reading an inscription on the Legacy Stone.

Closeup of the inscription

Over 150 people showed up for the screening of Part One of Never Give Up! – we had to turn away people at the door since the small theater space at the Columbia Center for the Arts was packed to capacity. We promised to bring the film back to Hood River when it is complete.

Holly also screened the Part One at the Minidoka Civil Liberties Symposium in Boise, Idaho on October 16; and at Arizona State University in Phoenix under the aegis of Arizona JACL on October 21. Thanks to Kristof Bihari of Boise State Univeristy and Donna Cheung, Catyana and Anthony Falsetti of Phoenix.

FYI: we are now referring to Part One and Part Two of Never Give Up! since we are very close to finishing Part One and will have it completed by Min Yasui Day in Oregon (March 28, 2017) which is the 75th anniversary of his arrest for violation of curfew in Portland. Part One will be a 55-minute standalone film appropriate for broadcast and educational use. Starting in We will work on Part Two and educational outreach using Part One starting in June, 2017 after we hear back from a foundation to which we are applying for a major grant to complete the film, to make alternative versions for educational, broadcast and community organization use with study guide materials, and to promote and distribute it.

Part One portrays Min Yasui’s childhood and youth in Oregon and his wartime experiences, including his legal test case, solitary confinement, the Portland “Assembly Center” and Minidoka concentration camp, the loyalty questionnaire / draft resisters controversy. We plan to finalize the cut that we screened in October, record narration with George Takei in January and have the it scored by Shoji Kameda in for the March 28 screening(s).

Yasui family and friends, ca. 1939. Min is standing, third from the left.

Part Two will portray Min Yasui’s continuing defense of the human and civil rights and equal opportunities for all people in Denver, Colorado where he relocated after the war, his ongoing work with the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), helping to found and participate in a myriad of diverse community organizations, his leadership role in the national redress movement and the reopening of his legal case. It will also include an epilogue on his legacy today.

Min Yasui addressing a diverse group of youth in the 1970s.

Thank you all for your ongoing support of the Minoru Yasui film project. We will send out an update when we have confirmed the day, time and place for the screening of Part One of Never Give Up! in honor of the second Minoru Yasui Day in Oregon and the 75th anniversary of his “walk for justice” from his law office to the Portland Police Headquarters where he initiated his legal test case against the discriminatory military curfew in 1942.

We are working on plans for screenings in Los Angeles and Denver in 2017 as well. If you are interested in screening Part One as a fund-raiser for Part Two, please let us know.

Given the new challenges we now face, it more important than ever to Never Give Up! the Fight for Justice …

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