Events Celebrate Michi Weglyn's Contributions to Social Justice


Events Celebrate Michi Weglyn's Contributions to Social Justice
Michi Nishiura Weglyn

Consider the late Michi Nishiura Weglyn as the Rosa Parks of the Japanese American Redress Movement.

The prominent civil rights activist is widely praised for her 1976 book, “Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America's Concentration Camps,” which recounts the dramatic tale of the internment of thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II.

The book resulted in a presidential apology and redress payments to all the survivors in 1988.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Weglyn's passing. In commemoration, Cal Poly Pomona will host two events to celebrate Weglyn.

On Thursday, Jan. 29, the university will present “A Tribute to An Amazing Legacy of Social Justice and Peace” in the Bronco Student Center's Ursa Minor, from 3 to 5 p.m. The free lecture will feature guest panelists such as Dr. Bob Suzuki, a concentration camp survivor, multicultural expert and president emeritus of Cal Poly Pomona. Also speaking will be Dr. Franklin Odo, director of the Asian Pacific American Program at the Smithsonian Institution who has put on display numerous exhibits highlighting the experiences of Asian Americans, and Phil Nash, a close friend of Weglyn's. All will speak on Weglyn's lifework and commitment to social justice.

Following the panel discussion, a VIP reception will begin at 5 p.m. at the W. Keith and Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery. At 7 p.m., guests will be treated to a special performance by three-time Grammy Award-winning artist Daniel Ho in the Music Recital Hall. Ho, who has been honored for Best Hawaiian Music, will be joined by hula performer Nani Edgar and lead members of the award-winning smooth jazz band, Kilauea.

General admission to the concert, with parking, is $45. A concert and VIP reception package is $75.For more information, contact Dr. Mary Danico of the Michi and Walter Weglyn Endowed Chair in Multicultural Studies at (909) 869-3115 or at mkydanico@cpp.edu. An additional event to be held in honor of Weglyn's passing is the screening of the documentary,”Passing Poston,” on Tuesday, Feb. 17.The university will show the film in the Ursa Major suite from 1 to 3 p.m.The award-winning documentary tells the haunting story of four former internees of the Poston Relocation Center in Arizona during World War II.

A Q&A session will follow the screening. Those participating will be Mary Higashi, Ruth Okimoto, Leon Uyeda and Kiyo Sato — all survivors of the internment.

Cal Poly Pomona is home of the Michi and Walter Weglyn Endowed Chair in Multicultural Studies. It sponsors several activities throughout the year and serves as an organizing center for those who want to make donations to promote Michi's life projects and legacy.