LETTERS: Bay Area Day of Remembrance underscores the need for unity

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Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent in response to the article entitled “Bay Area Day of Remembrance calls for reparations for African Americans” that appeared in the March 4, 2021 issue of the Nichi Bei Weekly.

Dear Editor,

Not being able to have an in-person event this year because of the pandemic, it was heartwarming that over 400 participants attended this online event with the theme, “Abolition! Reparations! Carrying the Light for Justice,” to remember the camp experience, and express our resolve to continue to fight for racial justice and reparations for Japanese Latin Americans and Black people in the United States.

The candle lighting ceremony was particularly moving.  It began with the purification ceremony filmed at the beautiful Konko Church. The ability to see each candle lighter “close up” virtually created an intimacy for the ceremony. Coupled with hearing each person’s biography of fighting for justice in the background, there was a sense of personally getting to know each candle lighter. Hearing the stories and legacy of the multiracial, multi-generational group of candle lighters was inspirational and hopeful sign of solidarity.

Since the Day of Remembrance program, there has been an uptick of anti-Asian hate. A number of attacks have been by African Americans which has fueled anti-Blackness among some Asian Americans. Spaces like the Bay Area Day of Remembrance that emphasize solidarity between our communities and working together toward common goals is welcomed at this time. Let’s not make this a once-a-year occasion, but create more spaces like this throughout the year.

Joyce Nakamura
San Francisco

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