College Focuses on Internment of Japanese Americans during World War II
(Santa Ana)— Students, staff, and faculty members across the Santa Ana College (SAC) campus have been reading the college’s 2011-2012 Book of the Year, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. The historical novel is about the love and friendship of a Chinese American boy and a Japanese American girl during the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
“It was natural that the college continued its exploration of the impact of Executive Order (E.O.) 9066 that forced more than 120,000 Japanese Americans from their homes, schools, jobs, and businesses to internment camps,” said Erlinda J. Martinez, Ed.D., SAC president. “Last spring, it was a privilege to present ten honorary degrees and one actual degree to four of our former students who were forced to the camps. We also presented seven posthumous honorary diplomas to family members.”
During the academic year, faculty members have worked to include the book and its discussion in their classrooms. The year-long observation will culminate in the following four events slated for this spring:
- Resilience and Fortitude in the Face of Injustice: World War II and Japanese Americans: This art and artifact exhibit is on display in the Nealley Library until May 18. The hours are Monday – Thursday, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.; closed on Saturday and Sunday. The exhibit features 2008 Day of Remembrance posters created by Karl Tani, graphic artist and SAC/Santiago Canyon College adjunct faculty. Poster prints of Hatsuko Mary Higuchi’s Executive Order 9066 paintings are also on display. An artifact display includes personal belongings that were taken to or handcrafted in the camps. Artifacts include luggage taken by the Motokane family to the camp and a display of handcrafted bird pins made by Fred Tani, the patriarch of the Tani family.
- Lives Before, During, and After E.O. 9066: A panel of former Japanese American internees will be hosted at the college on Thursday, April 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Phillips Hall. Free parking will be available in student lots. Panelists include:
- Sumiko Ida Fujimoto, retired teacher and mother of Norman Fujimoto, former SAC vice president of academic affairs; was relocated with her family to the Gila River, Arizona, camp.
- Dr. Donald Teruo Hata, emeritus professor of history at California State University, Dominguez Hills, was incarcerated along with his family at the Gila River, Arizona, camp.
- Hatsuko Mary Higuchi, retired elementary school teacher and artist, was imprisoned along with her family at the Poston, Arizona, camp.
- Carol Tomiko Miura, retired Santa Ana College professor of art and artist, was relocated with her family to the Tule Lake camp and later moved to the camp at Topaz, Utah.
- Ordinary Lives Making a Difference: Japanese Americans and Justice: Guest speaker Dr. Thomas Fujita-Rony, associate professor of Asian American Studies at California State University, Fullerton, is slated to speak on Thursday, April 19 from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. in D-101. He will talk about civic responsibility and social justice as reflected in the lives of Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, the chief archivist for the Japanese American redress movement, and Fred Korematsu, a civil rights activist who resisted internment and took his case all the way to the Supreme Court. Free parking is available in student lots.
- A Visit with Jamie Ford, Author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: Jamie Ford will speak at Santa Ana College on Thursday, May 3 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in Phillips Hall. Ford’s debut novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was first published in January 2009 and was met with much critical acclaim. Since then it has been translated into 23 languages and has won numerous awards. It has also been optioned for a major motion picture. Free parking is available in student lots.
For more information about the Book of the Year events at Santa Ana College, contact Yolanda Garcia at (714) 564-6717 or visit www.sac.edu/bookoftheyear.
About the Rancho Santiago Community College District
The mission of the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) is to respond to the educational needs of an ever-changing community and to provide programs and services that reflect academic excellence. Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College are public community colleges of RSCCD, which serve the residents of Anaheim Hills, East Garden Grove, Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin and Villa Park. Both colleges provide education for academic transfer and careers, courses for personal and professional development, customized training for business and industry, and programs to train nurses, firefighters and law enforcement personnel.
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