By P.C. Staff
For the first time ever, a documentary with the commitment and involvement of Norman Y. Mineta will be produced titled “All-American: The Legacy of Norman Y. Mineta.” As part of the Mineta Legacy Project, the documentary will stand alongside an educational curriculum geared toward high school and college-level students.
“We admire and respect what Norm has done and who he is. The public doesn’t know him on a big stage, and we want to take the opportunity to educate on his contributions. What Norm has successfully done is so extraordinary,” said the film’s co-producer Dianne Fukami. Fukami and co-producer Debra Nakatomi previously filmed “Stories From Tohoku” together, a film that tells the struggles of the Tohoku earthquake disaster survivors and the nuclear crisis.
The documentary, “All-American: The Legacy of Norman Y. Mineta,” will tell the story of Mineta’s life, career and contributions. From his time as a boy incarcerated at Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming during World War II, Mineta’s life reflects themes relevant to today’s audience: social justice and equality; leadership and statesmanship; bipartisanship and patriotism; civic engagement and inclusion.
“A focal point is harkening back to his experiences at Heart Mountain,” Nakatomi said. “Going back to that time as he experiences loss and seeing the challenges his parents faced gave him perspective as a man and as an elected official. He never lost hope and his sense of belief in the Constitution and what is good about America. Norm is in so many ways an American hero story.”
Mineta was the first Asian American mayor of a major U.S. city (San Jose, Calif.), a respected member of Congress and champion during Redress and as Secretary of Commerce and Secretary of Transportation in the Democratic and Republican presidential cabinets, respectively. He was called upon time and time again to protect the rites of marginalized communities and work with legislative civility as well as bipartisanship. On Sept. 9, 2011, it was Mineta’s voice that grounded all air traffic and reminded President George W. Bush the harm of racial profiling people from the Mideast.
Today at age 84, Mineta continues to travel to Japan annually with his wife and travels across the U.S., inspiring leaders, promoting civic engagement and public service.
For his service to his country, Mineta was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, in 2006. Today he works as a facilitator between the U.S. and Japan and often consults U.S. and Japanese government officials and business executives.
Now, his story will be shared on the national stage with a robust educational component.
Unlike other documentaries where an educational supplement is created after the film is completed, Mineta’s project and the film will be developed together. The Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) at Stanford University will develop the materials and curriculum. It will be made available for free on an open-source website with exclusive content, materials and interviews. Anticipated participants include President Bush as well as President Bill Clinton.
The website can also be hosted on other community partner websites such as the Japanese American National Museum, the Japanese American Historical Society, the Heart Mountain Foundation, as well as many others.
Plans for the documentary include a national broadcast on PBS stations as well as discussions with KQED in San Francisco and WETA in Washington, D.C. The documentary will also enter film festivals and be available for community screenings.
Fundraising is still ongoing. Those interested in supporting this project can visit www.normanminetafilm.com for donations and more information.