California Civil Liberties Projects Announced

June 14, 2019 • National, News

Thirty-one California projects on civil liberty issues are funded — from the Japanese American WWII experience to present day.

SACRAMENTO The California State Library has awarded $998,850.25 for 31 projects through the California Civil Liberties Public Education program. Grantees from across the state will create unique educational projects — from opera to podcasts, documentaries to virtual reality — that involve multiple cultural communities and age groups.

“Fear and bigotry were the root cause of internment in World War II. Both are still around,” said Greg Lucas, California’s state librarian. “Better understanding past mistakes and connecting them with current events helps make sure we remember we’re always stronger together.

“Civil Liberties projects can play an active role in meaningful learning and discussion about the issues — and results of the past two years of funding for this program are available online for all to use and learn from,” Lucas concluded.

The current round of grants is the second of a series funded through a three-year one-time allocation of $3 million in the budget approved in June 2017. Funding will continue through June 30, 2020, and the State Library expects to offer one more opportunity for applicants in late fall or early winter of 2019.

Previous projects funded by the program can serve as educational tools — in classrooms or in communities — to celebrate May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Among past projects funded through the program are an interactive online experience of the hardships and decisions for Japanese Americans during World War II; multiple documentaries and podcasts from public broadcasting organizations and nonprofits; performing and visual arts programming; and teachers’ guides and lesson suggestions with primary source materials and articles.

Applicants applied for either statewide/regional grants in education, public media or preservation with a maximum request of $100,000, or community grants in a wide range of formats and a maximum request of $30,000.

Prior to WWII, California was home to more Japanese Americans than any other state. In the wake of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, wartime hysteria led to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942, which put more than 120,000 Japanese Americans into relocation camps for more than 18 months.

When the state legislature created the California Civil Liberties Public Education program in 1998, it said the program’s purpose was “to sponsor public educational activities and development of educational materials to ensure that the events surrounding the exclusion, forced removal and internment of civilians and permanent resident aliens of Japanese ancestry will be remembered so that the causes and circumstance of this and similar events may be illuminated and understood.”

The program received funding of as high as $1 million annually from 1998-2011; funding was eliminated on July 1, 2011. At the request of Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco, Governor Jerry Brown approved $1 million in onetime funding for the program in the 2016-17 fiscal year. With legislators such as Assembly members Ting and Al Muratsuchi supporting the program, Brown included $3 million in the 2017-18 budget to continue funding through June 30, 2020.

Legislation in 2017 by Muratsuchi, AB 417, clarified administrative details, established an advisory board and encouraged projects that provide information about civil rights violations or civil liberties injustices perpetrated on the basis of an individual’s race, national origin, immigration status, religion, gender or sexual orientation, as well as the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII.

Further details about the 
program can be found at 
https://www.library.ca.gov/grants/civil-liberties/.

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California Civil Liberties Grants Recipients

THE ABAS LAW FOUNDATION
Community Project     $10,000
Staged readings of Jeanne Sakata’s acclaimed one-man play “Hold These Truths.”

ADVOCATES FOR INDIGENOUS CALIFORNIA LANGUAGE SURVIVAL
Community Project     $10,000
This project emphasizes how language in particular is impacted by cultural suppression.

THE AJA PROJECT
Community Project     $21,997.25
This project will relate the internment of Japanese American citizens during WWII to present-day injustices.

API CULTURAL CENTER
Community Project     $10,000
A series of free multidisciplinary programs to educate the public about 
the Japanese American WWII experience.

CALIFORNIA STATE POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY, POMONA
Preservation     $51,064
The “Landscapes of Promise” project seeks to preserve, interpret and disseminate the history of the Tule Lake War Relocation Center and concentration camp.

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY DOMINGUEZ HILLS
Preservation     $86,310
The project is digitizing and cataloging more than 5,000 items on Japanese Americans during the mid-20th century/WWII era.

 DENSHO
Community Project     $30,000
Densho Encyclopedia will add 65 new articles specific to Californian Japanese Americans affected by Executive Order 9066.

FRED T. KOREMATSU INSTITUTE
Education     $20,000
The Korematsu Institute will conduct a statewide communication campaign.

FRIENDS OF MANZANAR
Education     $37,035
The organization will create an educational package on the Manzanar Guayule Rubber project.

HERITAGE FUTURE/1888 CENTER
Community Project     $23,500
A 2019 Heritage Future/1888 Center five-part Creative + Cultural Podcast.

JAPANESE AMERICAN NATIONAL MUSEUM
Community Project     $30,000
JANM will conduct Phase II of the Stanley Hayami Diary Project.

KALW SAN FRANCISCO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Public Media     $20,000
KALW proposes a series of live panel discussions to expand public understanding of the history of Japanese American detention.

KIZUNA LITTLE TOKYO
Community Project      $20,000
Kizuna’s “From Generation to Generation” Media Project is aimed at a youth audience.

L.A. THEATRE WORKS
Public Media     $78,839
L.A. Theatre Works will commission, produce and broadcast a new play about the 40-year pursuit of justice for three Japanese Americans who defied the Internment Order.

LOS ANGELES OPERA COMPANY
Community Project    $30,000
Students will learn about the violations of civil liberties throughout history and their impact today.

MONTEREY PENINSULA JACL
Public Media     $66,273
The Monterey Peninsula JACL will create a documentary telling the story of Japanese Americans returning home at the end of WWII.

NEW VILLAGE ARTS, INC.
Community Project     $15,000
New Village Arts will mount a full production of “The Desert Rock Garden,” a play by Roy Sekigahama.

NICHI BEI FOUNDATION
Community Project      $15,000
“Films of Remembrance” is a daylong showcase of films related to the Japanese American incarceration experience. 

NIHONMACHI LITTLE FRIENDS
Community Project     $10,000
A documentary telling the story of San Francisco’s Japanese immigrant women and their creation of the 1830 Sutter Street Japanese YWCA building.

NIKKEI FEDERATION
Community Project      $14,400
“Kagoshima 9066 Westridge: The Life and Art of J. T. Sata” follows the journey of an Issei immigrant artist into America’s internment camps and finally to the campus of an exclusive girls’ school in Pasadena, Calif.

POSTON COMMUNITY ALLIANCE
Community Project     $15,000
“Poston Live: It’s Lessons and Multicultural Legacy” includes a short-form narrative film and a research booklet.

THE REGENTS OF THE 
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
Community Project     $30,000
An open access online digital exhibition and accompanying high school curriculum on the work of former internee and civil rights icon Yuri Kochiyama.

SAN DIEGO REPERTORY THEATRE
Community Project     $29,500
San Diego REP will present 24 performances of “Hold These Truths” by Jeanne Sakata, a play inspired by the life of Gordon Hirabayashi.

SAN JOSE TAIKO GROUP
Community Project     $30,000
San Jose Taiko will produce a four-city tour of its cutting-edge “Swingposium.”

TRITON MUSEUM OF ART
Community Project     $24,982
The Triton Museum of Art will present a series of two art exhibitions and corollary education programs.

TULE LAKE COMMITTEE
Community Project     $30,000
The Tule Lake Committee will educate a team of docents to communicate with participants of the pilgrimages and other frequent visitors to the site about issues surrounding civil liberties.

VALLEY PUBLIC TELEVISION, DBA VALLEY PBS — KVPT
Public Media     $50,000
“Unbroken Honor” (working title) is the next installment in the “Silent Sacrifice” story.

VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA
Community Project     $29,950
“America’s Concentration Camps, Revisited” will enable Visual Communications to reactivate its mobile photographic exhibit created in 1970, popularly known as the “Cubes Exhibit.”

VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA
Community Project     $30,000
“All That Remains” is a feature-length documentary examining the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII and the racial profiling and detention of Muslim Americans after 9/11. The film considers these events by using original audio interviews with survivors over footage of their lives today, personal objects, photos and documents as tangible remains of trauma.

VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA
Public Media     $100,000
“Third Act” is an hourlong documentary that illustrates the legacy of remembrance and the ongoing process of recovery from the WWII exclusion and detention of Japanese Americans.

YUBA SUTTER REGIONAL ARTS COUNCIL
Community Project     $30,000
The Yuba Sutter Arts Council will create an ongoing project titled “The Faces of Internment,” comprised of three public installations that memorialize key aspects of the evacuation of Japanese Americans during WWII.

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