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Protest & Resistance Virtual Tule Lake Pilgrimage 2021

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2021 Tule Lake Virtual Pilgrimage

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Join us Saturday, July 31 for a deep dive into the story of Tule Lake, unique among the 10 War Relocation Authority (WRA) concentration camps as the only maximum-security Segregation Center used to punish and deport Nikkei dissidents.

During WWII, the U.S. government viewed Japanese American dissenters as anti-American and disloyal. At Tule Lake, more than 12,000 Nikkei were segregated and punished for peacefully protesting the unjust forced removal and incarceration. In recent years, the dissidents segregated at Tule Lake are finally being recognized as the long-missing story of Japanese American civil rights resistance during incarceration.

For most of the past 75 years, the stories of Tule Lake’s activists were erased, the survivors shamed and silenced. The JACL considered civil rights protesters as “troublemakers” and “pro-Japan fanatics,” dismissing the moral and political courage at the core of resisting government abuses of power.

A new generation of Nikkei activists sees the connection between the unjust incarceration and the need to use our community’s moral authority to challenge similar injustices. Inspired by the courageous protesters at Tule Lake, a nationwide movement has grown to oppose the detention of children and families, and to advocate for redress and reparations to Black Americans for the harm of slavery, America’s original sin.

10:45 AM (Pacific) - Join early, meet and greet with friends

11:00 AM - Welcome

- Tribute to Hiroshi Kashiwagi: Remembering Tule Lake’s beloved poet laureate, Nisei actor, poet, writer and playwright.

- Tule Lake, The Big Lie by Emiko Omori: The government’s attempt to justify, rectify and perpetuate the lie of “Military Necessity.” Excerpts from Omori’s 1999 film, Rabbit in the Moon.

- Tule Lake 101: Righteous Protest at Tule Lake and the Demonization of Japanese American Civil Rights Advocacy.

12:30 PM - Lunch Break

2 to 4 PM - “Healing Circles” facilitated by Tsuru for Solidarity. A rare experience with limited spaces available, please register early and be sure to save your seat when you register. We anticipate a sellout.

For information on Healing Circles: https://tsuruforsolidarity.org/healing-circles/

What Made Tule Lake Unique?

Tule Lake was the only maximum-security Segregation Center, used to punish unjustly imprisoned Japanese Americans who refused to give unqualified “yes” responses to two key questions on a misguided, incompetently administered “loyalty” questionnaire. During segregation, Tule Lake became the biggest concentration camp, with 18,700 inmates crowded into a facility built for 15,000.

Tule Lake had four separate incarceration sites that were used to detain dissidents. The nearby former CCC Camp became a WRA Isolation Center (1943) that punished hundreds of loyalty questionnaire resisters. Within the Tule Lake Segregation Center, stockade Area B (1943-44) was used during martial law and afterwards to punish, without due process, anyone deemed a “troublemaker.” The second stockade known as Area 99 (1945) was used to corral and detain renunciants who were being sent to Department of Justice internment camps. The Tule Lake WRA jail (1945), the only jail within a WRA concentration camp, was a menacing concrete structure used to detain American citizens who renounced their U.S. citizenship, a denationalization program that made them “enemy aliens,” enabling legal deportation.

At Tule Lake the government pressured 5,461 Nisei and Kibei into renouncing their U.S. citizenship. In contrast, at the other nine WRA camps, only 128 renounced.

Tule Lake was unique as the only WRA camp where draft resisters were prosecuted and legally vindicated.

Tule Lake was the first WRA camp to open on May 26, 1942, and the last one to close on March 20,1946. The remaining approximately 400 renunciants included individuals and their families who were sent to the Crystal City Family Internment Camp, TX, awaiting deportation.

During the1950’s, Tule Lake was proposed for use as a concentration camp to imprison Communists, and in the 1960’s, Black civil rights activists.

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To support the Tule Lake Committee’s work to preserve the story of Japanese American civil rights protest during WWII, please visit the Commitee’s online donation page or send a check to:

Tule Lake Committee, P. O. Box 17014, San Francisco, CA 94117.

Save the Date for the next in-person Tule Lake Pilgrimage July 1-4, 2022. To help us plan, or just stay informed, join our mailing list: info@tulelake.org

For more information about the Tule Lake Committee, visit: https://www.tulelake.org/


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Organizer Tule Lake Pilgrimage Committee

Organizer of Protest & Resistance Virtual Tule Lake Pilgrimage 2021

The role of the Tule Lake Committee (TLC) is to: (i) to educate the general public of the government's forced and unconstitutional imprisonment of over 120,000 men, women and children of Japanese ancestry into ten concentration camps; (ii) to recognize the unique role of the Tule Lake camp, which was converted into a segregation center to incarcerate those from all of the camps who resisted their imprisonment and were deemed disloyal; and (iii) to preserve the history and experiences of the inmates of the Tule Lake Segregation Center and their struggles to cope with an unjust imprisonment and harsh conditions of the Segregation Center and their rejection by their own government.

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