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Day of Remembrance: Japanese-Americans show support for Muslims, Sikhs

SAN JOSE — For older Japanese-Americans, the discrimination and attacks on Muslims and Sikhs are opening afresh an old wound that never healed.

To show support for Arab-Americans, the South Bay’s Japanese-American community held a somber candlelight ceremony and procession at San Jose Buddhist Church on Sunday evening, linking diverse faiths through similar fears.

The “Day of Remembrance” is an annual commemoration of Feb. 19, 1942, a day that changed the lives of Japanese-Americans forever. Citing concerns about wartime sabotage and espionage, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an order that led to the internment of more than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry at 10 camps scattered across seven states.

But the gathering evoked memories of more recent horrors, such as the murder of the six worshipers at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisc., and the burning of a mosque in Joplin, Mo.

"We have common issues in terms of justice, equity and fair treatment under the Constitution," said Congressman Mike Honda, D-San Jose, who was interned in Colorado as a child.

There is no justification for racism or denial of civil liberties, not in 1942 and not in 2013, said Honda. He also urged the acceptance of Latinos, gays and lesbians and others suffering from discrimination.

Diverse communities come together at “The Changing Face of America” candlelight procession on the corner of 5th and Jackson Street during the San Jose’s 33rd annual Day of Remembrance on Sunday, Feb. 17.
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