Stockton DOR Event Features ‘Ito Sisters: An America Story’

April 20, 2018 • Community, News

The Stockton JACL Chapter along with the Asian Pacific Islander American Staff Association of Delta College held its Day of Remembrance Event at the Tillie Lewis Theatre at San Joaquin Delta Community College on March 17 to bring the community closer to understanding that injustices of the past should never be repeated.

From left: Hedy Koda, Nancy Takahashi and Lillian Nakano, in a scene from the documentary “Ito Sisters: An American Story.”

With nearly 400 guests in attendance, the program included a screening of the film “Ito Sisters: An America Story,” followed by a panel discussion of the film and a candle-lighting ceremony to mark the anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066.

Delta College President Kathy Hart welcomed the audience, followed by the presentation of several certificates commemorating the Day of Remembrance and an acknowledgement of Aeko Yoshikawa, DOR committee chair.

The mixed audience, ranging from seniors to young children, then viewed the “Ito Sisters” film, where they learned how Japanese endured life in America. Through the lives of the three close sisters (pictured, from left, are Hedy Koda, Nancy Takahashi and Lillian Nakano), the film touched upon how the Japanese were faced with the Gentleman’s Act of 1909, discrimination, evacuation to the American concentration camps and then life after the end of WWII. Each sister reflected upon her own experiences and pain of that time.

Following the film’s screening, a Q & A session expanded upon its theme. Panel members included Antonia Grace Glenn, director and producer of the film as well as a granddaughter to one of the Ito sisters; Evelyn Nakano Glenn, lead scholar and daughter of one of the Ito sisters; and Gregory Pacificar, producer and editor.

Candle presentations by students then honored each of the 10 Japanese American concentration camps during WWII. An eleventh candle was lit in honor of Tillie Lewis, a highly respected woman from Stockton who developed a major cannery business and was lauded for her nondiscriminatory hiring practices that included Japanese Americans before and after WWII.

— Stockton JACL Chapter

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