Story of an American Family of Japanese Ancestry

It’s pathetic to realize that racism still exists so strongly that this topic even needs to be addressed. But with current events – attacks on black people necessitating Black Lives Matter, deportation of illegal Mexican immigrants while keeping their children in custody, violent attacks on Asian-Americans blamed for the “China Virus” – it’s clear that racism still exists in force.

My family has been part of the American population for over 100 years. The initial immigrant generation were treated as second-class citizens. My father’s grandparents immigrated to Utah as railroad workers in the early 20th century. After the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, many Japanese immigrated to replace them as railroad workers with low pay, unsafe working conditions, segregation, & inhumane treatment. As my grandfather said, they worked very hard to “get a good position in life.” But so much was taken away, following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, when all persons of Japanese ancestry were forced to evacuate the West Coast.

Because of the older generations’ efforts after WWII, I lived my childhood relatively free of racism in a neighborhood developed by Asian-Americans as a safe little haven in LA. But by the time I was a teen & began pursuing acting roles, I learned I would be limited to “ethnic” roles, because I was not considered a “regular” American.

Finally there is the need for unity & understanding if humanity is to have a future. I thought of a song – a cliche of the hippie peace & love movement – but with a strong message about unity. I wanted to perform it as a special musical piece for the church service, so I created a video of me singing & added relevant images. My skills as a video editor are pretty limited, but I think it gets the point across.