Home Community Remembrance Weekend Sparks Action, Protest

Remembrance Weekend Sparks Action, Protest

By Bruce Rutledge
The North American Post

Day of Remembrance activities extended over the long weekend, with actions at the Federal Building, the Puyallup Fairgrounds, Olympia and King County International Airport, and proclamations by the cities of Bellevue and Seattle.

Protestors gather at the Federal Building in downtown Seattle

Tsuru for Solidarity kicked off the weekend of action and protest by blocking the entrances to the Federal Building in protest of the treatment of undocumented people held in the nearby Northwest Detention Center.

Tsuru for Solidarity teamed up with La Resistencia in what turned out to be a peaceful but moving protest, with each of the nine people blocking the entrance dedicating their actions to someone who had been incarcerated during World War II.

◀︎ Mike Ishii holds the mic for Vince Schleitwiler as Vince and others from Tsuru for Solidarity and LA Resistencia block the entrance to the Federal Building in protest of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s detention of undocumented people at the Northwest Detention Center. Photos by Bruce Rutledge

Before the action, Tsuru’s Mike Ishii and Reverend Ron Kobata took turns reading the names of Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II and undocumented people currently held in the Northwest Detention Center. Tsuru for Solidarity called on senators Murray and Cantwell to shut down the detention center.

February 19 marks the day in 1942 when then U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, incarcerating more than 120,000 Japanese Americans.

This year, both the cities of Bellevue and Seattle issued proclamations marking February 19, 2024, as a day of action and remembrance. In Seattle, the proclamation was introduced by councilmembers Rob Saka and Tanya Woo.

Dale Kaku of the Nisei Veterans Committee thanked the council for the proclamation and reminded the crowd at City Hall that when Japanese American soldiers came home from the front, they were not welcomed in their own country. “One good thing about the Niseis,” Kaku said, “was they were never bitter. They went on with their careers and raised their families.”

Dale Kaku displays the proclamation from the City of Seattle officially designating February 19, 2024, the Day of Remembrance. Photo by Chisaki Sato

Kyle Kinoshita of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) spoke of how personal this proclamation is for those whose loved ones were imprisoned because of Executive Order 9066. He called the proclamation a small but important step toward healing the wounds of the past.

On Tuesday, as this issue went to press, Tsuru for Solidarity was planning a protest at King County International Airport to demand an end of deportation flights from Boeing Field.

“These flights are often shrouded in secrecy and people who are forced to board them are given very limited advance notice beforehand,” Tsuru for Solidarity said in a statement.
“People are handcuffed and at times even forced into a restraining device meant to simulate solitary confinement as they are deported potentially to their death. It is unconscionable that these deportation flights are allowed to operate out of a Seattle-based airfield.