Friends of Mukai remember history with film, discussion

Executive Order 9066 led to the incarceration of Americans of Japanese Ancestry during World War II.

The film ‘And Then They Came for Us’ will be shown on the Day of Remembrance, Feb. 19, at the Vashon Theatre (Dorthea Lange Photo).

The film ‘And Then They Came for Us’ will be shown on the Day of Remembrance, Feb. 19, at the Vashon Theatre (Dorthea Lange Photo).

The Friends of Mukai will host the documentary “And Then They Came for Us” followed by a panel discussion next Tuesday at the Vashon Theatre.

The date, Feb. 19, is the 77th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt signing Executive Order 9066, which led to the incarceration of 120,000 Americans of Japanese Ancestry during World War II. Each year the Friends of Mukai host an event to commemorate the order and the actions that followed, including the forced removal of 120 Japanese-Americans from Vashon just months after Roosevelt signed the order.

Friends of Mukai board member said this year’s film was chosen in part because it makes linkages to today, including to President Donald Trump’s statements and actions regarding Muslims and his travel ban.

“For me, the film is really appropriate not only because of the internment, but it also is about connecting history to the present and not letting history repeat in the present,” said Stephen Jeong, a Friends of Mukai board member.

The award-winning film features actor and activist George Takei, famous for his role as Sulu on the television series “Star Trek.” His remembrance of incarceration as a child and many others’ stories, are illustrated with photographs by Dorothea Lange. who is most famous for the photos she took during the Great Depression when she worked for the Farm Security Administration. Less well known is that later, she worked for the War Relocation Authority and documented the evacuation and internment of Japanese Americans.

Following the film, which runs about 45 minutes, there will be a panel discussion, including Assistant Attorney General and Wing Luke Civil Rights Unit Lead Colleen Melody, an islander who was involved in the lawsuit against the federal government that sought to stop the Muslim travel ban; Alix Clarke of Indivisible Vashon, Melvin Mackey of the Vashon Island Unitarian Fellowship Immigration Group, and Merna Hecht of Word Travels.

The film will begin at 6 p.m.; admission is free.

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