I’m very happy to announce that our crowd-funding campaign has been successful and we’ve finished what we now consider Part One of Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice. For those of you who have seen the film, you know it’s a standalone piece that covers the life and times of Minoru Yasui and the Japanese American community on the West Coast to the end of WWII; then a brief summary of Yasui’s work in Denver and nationally, including the redress movement and reopening of his legal case.
Now I’m glad to report that thanks to generous grants from the Spirit Mountain Community Fund (reported in my previous updates) and the Henry and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation, the last 8 minutes of the film is going to be expanded to provide more detail on Yasui’s defense of civil rights from the late 1940s-mid 1980s, and some follow-up on the lives of the family members introduced in Part One. This will make Never Give Up! a feature-length film, probably around 90 minutes. Our most sincere gratitude to the Foundation and Masako Takahashi; also Carole Dean of From the Heart Productions, who will administer the grant; and Michele Connor, Associate Producer, who initiated the grant process.
Because Part One of Never Give Up! is very relevant to many issues we face today, I’ve decided to make it available without charge to any educational or community group (teachers, librarians, museums, social activists, etc.) that would like to screen it, Interested parties please contact Holly Yasui through this website. This offer will be available until the feature-length film is completed, probably in 2019, at which time I plan to hand it over to a professional educational film distributor.
So please let your family, friends and associates know about this limited-time offer – surely there are students, teachers, educators and social activists in your circles who might want to use the film to organize an event and discussion in 2018. When possible, I will accompany the film in person to provide a post-screening Q&A; or I can provide that follow-up via teleconferencing.
Since Part One is now completed and we have reached our original goal of $50,000 that we set when we started the fundraising drive in 2015, we will “reset the thermometer” on January 1, 2018 with the more modest goal of $10,000 which will be used in 2018 -19 for promotion, to prepare the feature-length film for professional distribution, and to produce educational materials to go with a modular DVD or online streaming/downloading. We will also create two 45-minute modules for two 1-hour classes with a study guide for each part.
We already have some materials ready since we’ve initiated a Minoru Yasui Day in Oregon ESSAY CONTEST with the film as a major piece, along with other research materials that are posted on our MY Tribute webpage: https://www.minoruyasuitribute.org/copy-of-resources
Please tell anyone you know in Oregon who has middle-school or high-school children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews about the ESSAY CONTEST!
It’s a great opportunity for young people to learn about an aspect of history not usually taught in school, apply it to today’s important issues; and to compete with other students from all over the state for cash prizes and a free trip to Portland for the awards ceremony on March 28, 2018 (Minoru Yasui Day in Oregon).
I’d also like to take this opportunity to give special thanks to Eugene Pak of Wendel Rosen Black & Dean LLP, Attorneys; Don Tamaki of Minami-Tamaki LLP, Attorneys; and Donna Cole CEO of Cole Chemical.
Eugene, our pro-bono copyright attorney spent countless hours helping us to apply for Errors and Omissions insurance, which is required for Public Broadcasting (we’ve submitted Part One to Oregon Public Broadcasting for airing this spring). This months-long process entailed reviewing our film shot-by-shot – a couple times! - checking names in the U.S. Copyright Office, and providing advice about fair use of photographs and other materials in the film. We were able to get the insurance and closed captions in time to submit our film to Oregon Public Broadcasting this week, for broadcasting this spring (hopefully Minoru Yasui Day in Oregon, March 28, 2018).
Don was an attorney on the coram nobis team of Fred Korematsu and continues to work on the amicus brief team including Jay Hirabayashi, Karen Korematsu and myself, which since 9/11 has filed in the federal courts on cases including the most recent, in support of the International Refugee Assistance Program opposing the Muslim ban. Don recently unearthed old footage of the three coram nobis litigants and attorneys, including Fred Korematsu and Gordon Hirabayashi as well as Min Yasui, which we will be using in the second part of the film.
Donna Cole, founder and CEO of Cole Chemical and community activist in Houston, Texas, organized an amazing tour in the state, including Houston, Dallas, Austin and Georgetown during the month of December 2017. She is hosting a screening of the film in Houston on February 16 to commemorate the Day of Remembrance observed in communities throughout the country as the day on which President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, initiating the process by which over 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry were forcibly removed from their homes on the West Coast and imprisoned in concentration camps inland.
photo by Kris Ikejiri
Donna and Holly, watched over by the young Minoru Yasui, at the film screening at Southern Methodist University in Dallas on December 3, 2017.
For UPCOMING SCREENINGS, see http://www.minoruyasuifilm.org/distribution-plan
Thanks to all of you who have supported our project, which we believe is more important now than ever in this period in our history during which our civil rights are once again under fire. Please consider organizing a screening and discussion because the only way to defend our democratic ideals is to put them into practice, and learning the lessons of history is one way to start! Never Give Up the Fight for Justice!