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February 9, 2007

AMV Executive Director to receive
 Clifford I. Uyeda Peace & Humanitarian Award

Sixty-five years ago, on February 19, 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, setting into motion the exclusion, removal, detainment and incarceration of over 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II.

After World War II, Japanese Americans persevered in rebuilding Japantowns, struggled for redress, and helped to shape the nation's concept of democracy and constitutional rights. Day Of Remembrance is a time to cherish that history, hear untold stories, and reaffirm our commitment to unfinished redress issues and current civil liberties challenges in the post-9/11 period.

As a part of this year’s SF Bay Area Day of Remembrance program, scheduled for Saturday, February 17th, Samina F. Sundas, executive director of American Muslim Voice, will be receiving the Clifford I. Uyeda Peace and Humanitarian Award.  The Bay Area Day of Remembrance Consortium will present the award to her at its annual commemoration of the World War II internment of Japanese Americans - its lessons and legacy, especially in the current post-9/11 era -- as America finds itself in the midst of another war.  “Carrying the Light for Justice – DAY OF REMEMBRANCE 2007 – Continuing to Build Communities” will take place at the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Northern California, located at 1840 Sutter Street (nr. Webster) in SF Japantown.  Tickets: $15 Door, $12 Advance. 

According to a press release issued by the National Japanese American Historical Society, in addition to a program of cultural presentations, films and candle lighting ceremony, the 2007 Clifford I, Uyeda Peace and Humanitarian Award 2007 will be presented to Samina F. Sundas  by the Consortium in recognition of her courageous leadership and personal dedication to the principles of peace and social justice, particularly in the post 9/11 period.  Ms. Sundas’ advocacy on behalf of Muslim, Arab and South Asian Americans and others targeted as “the enemy” following 9/11, and her heart-felt efforts to promote friendship and mutual respect among diverse communities are deeply appreciated by the Consortium. The proud mother of two young adults, Misbah and Saqib, Ms. Sundas, is the founding executive director of the American Muslim Voice, and co-founder of Fear To Friendship, a group dedicated to promoting cross-cultural friendship and education following 9/11.  She is also the founder of the "Global Peace Partners," a partnership between American Muslim Voice, Global Peace Partners and Peace Alliance. 

A key strategy in Ms. Sundas’ tireless work for peace, justice and community building, has been to nurture life-long friendships among all Americans and to create a culture of mutual respect and harmony.   Ms. Sundas works for these principles in her work as a member of the steering committee for Multifaith Voices For Peace & Justice, Bay Area, Ca, Board Member Friends of Human Relations, Santa Clara , CA , Chair of the peace building committee of the HRC, Santa Clara , CA , Advisory Board member of Peninsula Community Foundation and a founding member of Defense Committee of James Lee Muslim Chaplin. She was also the coordinator of the Muslim Nationwide Hot line, to help people regarding INS Special Registration and to protect civil liberties for all.

For the past three years she has been speaking extensively on immigrant and civil liberties, issues, particularly the USA Patriot Act. She was on the panel of Amnesty International USA National Hearings on Racial Profiling, held in Oakland on September 9, 2003 .  Ms  Sundas has personally assisted two counties, ten cities and the state of California in passing resolutions against the USA Patriot Act. She is part of the current historical movement working with faith/immigrants right groups to defeat HR 4437 and towards a more humane immigration reform. She has established to introduce resolution in support of a cabinet level "Department of Peace and Non Violence" in the local communities to create a culture of peace, acceptance, mutual respect and harmony in the world.

American Muslim Voice was established in July 2003 as a grassroots, nonviolent, inclusive, civil, immigrant and human rights organization building alliances and genuine partnerships with like-minded groups and individuals to protect and preserve civil liberties and constitutional rights for ALL. Its goal is to bridge the gap between all communities and unite us all under the umbrella of our common humanity.

History of the Clifford Uyeda Award

The award was established three years ago by the Bay Area Day of Remembrance Consortium, to remember the legacy of the late Clifford I. Uyeda, a longtime civil rights and human rights leader whose life championed the civil and human rights of Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans, and others.  As the president of the National Japanese American Citizens League during the 1980s, Uyeda provided critical leadership in campaign to educate the nation about the World War II internment of over 120,000 persons of Japanese Americans; worked for an official apology and the passage of redress and reparations bills in Congress.  As a founder of the National Japanese American Historical Society, Uyeda spearheaded a number of educational and advocacy projects regarding the history of Japanese Americans and their contributions to American democracy.  Looking beyond the boundaries of ethnicity and race, Uyeda courageously spoke out and acted upon a variety of social justice and human rights issues, including Japan’s war crimes in China, Korea and other nations during World War II.  He was a co-founder and co-chair of the Rape of Nanking Redress Coalition and continued to do education and advocacy on this and other issues throughout his life.  The first recipient of the Award was Congressman Mike Honda in 2005; the second, Art Shibayama, Japanese Latin American redress activist, in 2006. 

Background on Day of Remembrance 2007

Sixty-five years ago, on February 19, 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, setting into motion the exclusion, removal, detainment and incarceration of over 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II.

After World War II, Japanese Americans persevered in rebuilding Japantowns, struggled for redress, and helped to shape the nation's concept of democracy and constitutional rights. DOR is a time to cherish that history, hear untold stories, and reaffirm our commitment to unfinished redress issues and current civil liberties challenges in the post-9/11 period.

The MCs for this year’s event are Vanessa Hatakeyama, vice president of the University of California at Berkeley Nikkei Student Union: and Kenyon Mayeda, a student at University of San Francisco and on the staff at Japanese Community Youth Center   The keynote speaker will be award-winning author/playwright Philip Gotanda (After the War).   Samina F. Sundas, of American Muslim Voice will also be featured as a guest speaker.  Mariko Nakanishi of the Campaign for Justice will also be on hand to provide a redress update on legislative efforts to secure equitable redress for the Japanese Latin Americans and others.

This year will also feature excerpts of several films about the Camp experience and the efforts by the community to remember and honor those who persisted through this journey. The films are: Pilgrimage by Tad Nakamura, My Face was My Crime by Anders Tomlinson; Meeting at Tule Lake by Scott Tsuchitani; and a new video by Curtis Choy documenting a historic conversation between Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq,  and Nisei draft resister Yosh Kuromiya, Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee leader Frank Emi and World War II Nisei veteran Paul Tsuneishi.

In addition to his keynote address, there will be a reading of an excerpt from After the War, a play by Philip Gotanda that will open in March at the American Conservatory Theater.  Other performances include Susumu Saiki (shigin), Mas Koga (shakuhachi/Japanese flute), and Genyukai (Okinawan folk music).

As always there will be the annual Candle Lighting Ceremony, which involves individuals who will be recognized for their contributions to cultural, educational and advocacy efforts to remember the legacy of Executive Order 9066.  The Japanese American Religious Federation will also lead an interfaith ceremony to close the evening’s activities.

This annual event is organized by the Bay Area DOR Consortium, which includes Asian Improv aRts, Asian Law Caucus, API Legal Outreach, Campaign for Justice - Redress Now for Japanese Latin Americans, Center for Asian American Media (formerly NAATA), JACL-SF Chapter, Jam Workshop, Japanese American Religious Federation, Japanese Community Youth Council, Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project, National Japanese American Historical Society, National Coalition for Redress/Reparations, Tule Lake Committee, UC Berkeley Nikkei Student Union (partial list)

For more info please visit http://www.dayofremembrance.org