SSMO Foundation Speaker Series

Date: Monday, May 13
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: via Google Meet

In honor of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) heritage month, Jana Iwasaki, will share her family’s WWII experiences as Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed from their homes and stripped of their civil rights. 

Jana Iwasaki
Photo captured by Rich Iwasaki

More than 120,000 Japanese Americans from California, Oregon, Washington and Arizona were ordered to leave their homes, uproot their lives, and submit to imprisonment in 1942  — without a specific charge and without a trial.

During this time, her grandfather’s two younger brothers were drafted into the U.S. Army. After the family’s imprisonment, the Iwasakis returned to Oregon to continue working on their 108-year-old commercial greenhouse in Hillsboro – a legacy made possible through the friendship and ally-ship of their German American neighbors, the Freudenthals. 

Many other families were not as fortunate. It is more common to hear of those who were robbed of everything they worked so hard to build. Amazingly, the Japanese American community moved forward from this trauma and many of their children grew up not knowing about these horrific injustices.

Jana Iwasaki is a fourth generation Oregonian, a 1998 graduate of Valley Catholic High School, and a board member of the Japanese American Museum of Oregon.

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