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American Muslim

February 1, 2005

AMV to join Day of Remembrance 2005

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

The American Muslim Voice Executive Director, Samina Faheem Sundas, is honored to  join the candle lighters at the Japanese Day of Remembering candle light vigil on February 20th to commemorate the 63rd anniversary of  the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during the second world war.

The annual Candle Lighting Ceremony has been the heart and soul of the Day of Remembrance commemoration in the Bay Area.  Eleven individuals are selected by the San Francisco Bay Area Day of Remembrance Consortium as honored candle lighters for their inspiring work in education, social justice or advocacy, helping to make the Japanese American internment experience and its lessons a critical part of the American consciousness, particularly in the post 9/11 period.  Past years’ candle lighters have included Rev. Cecil Williams, Fred Korematsu, and Alberta Lee daughter and advocate of Wen Ho Lee.

The commemoration will remember the history and lessons of the World War II internment of Japanese Americans and express solidarity with the Arab, Muslim and South Asian communities who, in the post 9/11 period, have experienced civil liberties violations reminiscent of the Japanese American experience following Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Since 1979, the Bay Area Japanese American community has commemorated February 19th as the Day of Remembrance, which marks the day in 1942 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which led to the incarceration of over 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry in American concentration camps. 

Over the years, the Day of Remembrance has come to represent a special time for the Japanese American community and others to honor past internees, remember this history and educate the public so that it does not recur for any other community.  “In the post 9/11 era, our Day of Remembrance has also become a time to express our solidarity with communities now suffering civil liberties violations similar to what Japanese Americans experienced over 60 years ago,” a Consortium statement said.

This year DOR theme is “Carrying the Light for Justice – Crossing Generations, Beyond Borders.” The event will begin at AMC Kabuki Theatre with a program which will feature the Candle Lighting Ceremony, a keynote address by Congressman Mike Honda, a short film and a variety of music and poetry.

The commemoration will continue with a procession from the Theatre to the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC), located two blocks away, at 1840 Sutter Street, where audiences will participate in an interfaith candle ceremony led by the Japanese American Religious Federation, in which all audience members receive a candle.

It may be added that post- 9/11 the  Japanese American community were the first who came to support the American Muslim community  when its civil liberties were curtailed.

The American Muslim Voice encourages the Muslim community throughout America to participate in the Day of Remembrance to express its solidarity with the Japanese community and make sure that what happened with the Japanese community should not be repeated.

 Consortium Members:
Asian Improv aRts * JACL – SF Chapter * Japanese Cultural & Community Ctr of No. Calif. Japanese American Religious Federation * Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project Campaign for Justice – Redress Now for Japanese Latin Americans * Nat’l Coalition for Redress/Reparations  NAATA * National Japanese American Historical Society * Nosei * Tule Lake Committee * Urban VOICES