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Discussion to Draw Links Between Japanese Latin Americans’ Campaign for World War II-era Redress, Slavery Reparations

By Laura Barnhardt Cech

A webinar Monday sponsored by the Juanita Tamayo Lott Endowment in Asian American Studies will feature experts and activists in a discussion of the links between the Black Lives Matter movement and Japanese Latin Americans’ fight for recognition.

“It’s an attempt to tie together two historic redress movements—each with a different history,” said UMD Lecturer Phil Tajitsu Nash, who has taught Asian American studies courses for over 30 years and has worked as a human rights attorney.

Although the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 provided redress for Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II, Japanese Latin Americans (JLA) were excluded. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights last year found in favor of those seeking redress for World War II-era injustices, though the international body cannot force a settlement. As activists also work for reparations for African Americans through legislation such as H.R. 40, the panel will explore how groups might work together.

This program will feature Nash, civil rights attorney Jerome Reide and Grace Shimizu from the Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project, Aniya Butler, a 14-year-old climate and social justice activist, organizer and poet from Oakland, Calif., and Law-Rel Butler, 18, a freshman at Rhode Island College in Providence and the lead organizer for the Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education.

Prior knowledge is not needed to take part in the 5 p.m. webinar, and the campus and public are invited to join the discussion, which will include a Q&A. Registration is open.

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