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We Hereby Refuse: the Bay Area Allies of the Resisters

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Join us for a conversation with the writer of WE HEREBY REFUSE, Frank Abe, and the Bay Area allies of the resisters.

About this event

UPDATE: This event will be virtual-only due to the recent Covid-19 circumstances and livestreamed to OACC’s YouTube Live channel here.

For this year’s Day of Remembrance, Frank Abe, writer of WE HEREBY REFUSE: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration, will be joined in conversation with Kathleen Purcell, daughter of Mitsuye Endo’s attorney James Purcell; Wayne Collins Jr., the son of Hiroshi Kashiwagi’s attorney Wayne Collins; and Sadako Kashiwagi, Hiroshi Kashiwagi’s wife. They will share the stories of James Purcell, Wayne Collins, and of Hiroshi Kashiwagi and the larger picture of Mr. Collins’ representation of the 5,000 renunciants who spent the decade fighting to win back their citizenship. Our moderator, Darren Murata of the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, will also engage Frank Abe in conversation about the craft of creating words and drawings around the stories of folks involved in the fight for civil liberties in the midst of wartime fervor.

Special event sale: 10% off WE HEREBY REFUSE: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration at Eastwind Books of Berkeley.

This event is brought to you in collaboration with the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. Donations are greatly appreciated and will support future programs. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

About the book:

Three voices…

Three acts of defiance…

One mass injustice

WE HEREBY REFUSE: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration is the story of camp as you’ve never seen it before, a new graphic novel which presents an original vision of America’s past with disturbing links to the American present.

Japanese Americans complied when evicted from their homes in World War II – but many refused to submit to imprisonment in American concentration camps without a fight. For the first time, three of their stories are woven together into one epic narrative. In We Hereby Refuse, we meet:

  • Jim Akutsu, the inspiration for John Okada’s No-No Boy, who refused to be drafted from the camp at Minidoka after he was classified as a non-citizen, an enemy alien;
  • Hiroshi Kashiwagi, who resists government pressure to sign a loyalty oath at Tule Lake, but yields to family pressure to renounce his U.S. citizenship;
  • And for the first time, we hear the personal voice of Mitsuye Endo, a reluctant recruit to a lawsuit contesting her imprisonment, who refuses a chance to leave the camp at Topaz so that her case could reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Through these characters, we see the devastating impacts of mass incarceration based solely on race, and reveal the depth and breadth of the long-suppressed story of camp resistance.

About the writer:

Frank Abe is the lead author of the new graphic novel, WE HEREBY REFUSE: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration (Chin Music Press, 2021). He won an American Book Award for JOHN OKADA: The Life & Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy (University of Washington Press, 2018), and wrote and directed the PBS film on the largest organized resistance to incarceration, Conscience and the Constitution. With Floyd Cheung he is currently co-editing a new anthology for Penguin Classics on The Literature of Japanese American Incarceration. He blogs at Resisters.com.

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Photo of Wayne Collins Jr. by Kiyoshi Ina

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Organizer Eastwind Books of Berkeley

Organizer of We Hereby Refuse: the Bay Area Allies of the Resisters

Eastwind Books of Berkeley has been serving the public providing books on Asian American diverse cultures, Ethnic Studies, history, and literature since 1982. Celebrating more than 20 years in Berkeley, Eastwind Books of Berkeley has provided the public with meaningful and relevant books for our times. Eastwind supports and promotes various authors at book events including: The Forbidden Book: The Philippine-American War in Political Cartoons, Other: An Asian Pacific Islander Prisoners Anthology, and Palestine...it is something colonial. Visit us in-store at 2066 University Avenue, Berkeley or online at www.asiabookcenter.com

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