Monday, May 30, 2016

'Go For Broke' Debuts New Museum with Pearl Harbor Exhibit

Photos & story by Karen Ostlund, May 28th, 2016 in Los Angeles 

Go For Broke National Education Center presented a new museum
and a  Pearl Harbor Exhibit "Defining Courage" Memorial Day Weekend
 (Los Angeles, CA)   Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) made debut of a new museum and groundbreaking "Defining Courage" exhibition with a homecoming festival Saturday, May 28, 2016 at 355 East First street downtown Little Tokyo.

Exhibit "Defining Courage" is free admission every Thursday from 5-8 pm
Every third Thursday of the month is free admission ALL DAY

May 28 2016, Ribbon cutting of new facilities and Defining Courage exhibit
opening about Pearl Harbor in Hawaii

The exhibition documents the Japanese American World War II experience beginning with Pearl Harbor and draws parallels to our contemporary times. 
The exhibit explains with graphic photos and film clips the difference of being a Japanese who wanted peace living in USA, Dec.1 1941, and one week after (Dec.7) when the bomb hit Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
Sho Chiku Bai Sake tasting at the opening for everybody over 21

December 7 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor lagoon harbor on the island Oahu in Hawaii (USA) 
U.S. were shocked.

December 8, 1941, the United States Congress declared war (Public Law 77-328, 55 STAT 795) on the Empire of Japan in response to that country's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor the prior day. 

It was formulated an hour after the Infamy Speech of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Following the declaration, Japan's allies, Germany and Italy, declared war on the United States, bringing the United States fully into World War II.

Americans of Japanese descent suddenly found themselves labeled “Enemy Alien.” 
Over 110,000 Japanese Americans were sent to  WRA camps (War Relocation Authority camps) and wearing label tags.

From behind the barbed wire, young men volunteered for military service by the thousands. 
The U.S. Army put them in their own segregated units­–the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. These became the most decorated unit in U.S. military history.  In the Pacific, other Japanese American (JA) soldiers fought in the Military Intelligence Service. “Unknown Warriors of World War II” shines light on the brave, patriotic legacy of the JA soldiers of World War II.
Rev. Shawn Amos performed among many others 

Festival booths offered sponsors food tasting opening day

The Defining Courage exhibition is divided into eight sections to illustrate the difficult decisions Japanese Americans were forced to make. 
1. Pearl Harbor Aftermath:
The lives of Japanese Americans changed dramatically during the months immediately following their country (Japan) bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. 

2. Lives Left Behind:
“All of a sudden our friends were not our friends…we weren’t Americans anymore, we were Japs.  Nobody ever used that word before, but we in Hawaii were now considered Japs.  One year we were neighbors, and the next year we were enemies.”–Stanley M. Akita, Hanamuana, HI
Film clips from 1941
Japanese American families on the mainland were forced to relocated to WRA camps in accordance with Executive Order 9066. This meant that Japanese Americans had to sell their businesses, and their possessions–often for pennies on the dollar– unless they could find someone who was willing to store them.   Heirlooms, family pets, photographs and friends were almost immediately lost.  Community leaders were taken by the FBI.  Families with relatives in Japan and America were torn apart.  Almost overnight, these Americans lost everything, including their identity as Americans. 

Japanese in USA had to wear paper hang-tags
after the Pearl Harbor attack
 3. History Revisited:
 In History Revisited, we examine how we can stay safe as a country while simultaneously honoring the Bill of Rights.  The current global climate is bringing the Japanese American experiences of WWII to the fore, again.  Some parallels include the treatment of Arab and Muslim Americans after the events of 9/11; the USA Patriot Act of 2001; nativist rhetoric against immigrants; and the rise of racial profiling. 
4. Piece it Together:
What was it like to be an American one day, and a person of suspicion the next?  Piece it Together is an interactive storytelling component that provides a window into the experiences and emotions of Japanese Americans during WWII.  Visitors begin the journey geographically, selecting a destination.  They are then placed in the shoes of young Japanese Americans during the war.  They are confronted with decisions like “Will you join the military while your family is incarcerated?”; “Will you protest against the government’s unjust treatment?”; “Will you leave your family behind in the incarceration camp to seek education on the East Coast?”  In this computer-based activity, they then make a decision and face the consequences, learning about real-life Japanese Americans who made similar choices during World War II.
Propaganda posters at Defining Courage exhibit
5. Propaganda Deconstructed:
The exhibition warns against propaganda, fear mongering, and the abridgement of constitutional rights.  To illustrate the power of the media and others, Propaganda Deconstructed teaches visitors the methods by which propaganda is spread.  Visitors learn how stories, images, and videos are often edited to change the meaning.  On a large touch-screen, visitors experiment with cropping modern images in order to express differing messages.
6. Media Maker:
Media Maker lets visitors create their own mini-documentary films about the Japanese American World War II experience and its relevance to today.  This computer-based activity provides visitors an opportunity to create a short film using drag and drop technology.  Visitors draw from a library of hundreds of oral history clips, historic photographs and films, documents, and the personal stories of hundreds of wartime Japanese Americans. After the video has been created, visitors will be able to email themselves a link to their documentary to share with their friends and family. 
Hang tags,  Japanese were marked with during
World War II
7. Woven Thoughts:
The political and social climate during World War II is quite relevant today.  Woven Thoughts provides visitors with an opportunity to weigh in on contemporary issues. Participants will cast their vote in response to a question by selecting a piece of fabric and weaving it into a wire grid. These different colored ribbons will form a mosaic that provides a visual representation of public sentiment.
8. Courage:
The Nisei soldiers, members of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS), served heroically in Europe and the Pacific. The 100th/442nd remains the most highly decorated unit in US military history for its size and length of service, and the MIS was credited with shortening the war by two years.

Defining Courage exhibit closes with a selection of quotes from the Japanese American soldiers ‘passing the torch’ on to the next generation.  These quotes are taken from GFBNEC’s Hanashi oral history collection.  
The Japanese American veteran experience is a story of resilience, courage and a firm belief in the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
The new Museum is located in the former  Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple which was once among the largest and most influential Buddhist Temples in the United States.  At the time, Little Tokyo was home to more than 30,000 Japanese Americans. 
GFBNEC is located at 355 E. First St., Suite 200 in Los Angeles, CA 90012. 
Ticket info:
Inside the exhibit "Defining Courage"
History of Pearl Harbor bombing and its impact of World War II in USA 
(facts from :
When the explosives failed to go off, he swam to the bottom of the submarine to 
investigate the cause of the failure and became unconscious due to a lack of oxygen. 
The book "Attack on Pearl Harbor" claims that his sub hit four coral reefs and sank. 
Sakamaki was found by a American Hawaiian soldier, David Akui, and was taken
 into military custody. When he awoke, he found himself in a hospital under American
 armed guard
American Hawaiian soldier, David Akui 
(died in 1987)
Sakamaki was one of ten sailors (five officers and five petty officers) selected to attack Pearl Harbor in two-man Ko-hyoteki class midget submarines on 7 December 1941.
Of the ten, nine were killed (including the other crewman in his submarine, Kiyoshi Inagaki). 
After being taken to Sand Island in Hawaii, Sakamaki requested that he wanted to commit suicide, which was denied. Sakamaki spent the rest of the war until September 1945 in prisoner-of-war camps on the mainland United States. 
At the war's end, he was repatriated to Japan, by time he had become deeply committed to pacifism (opposition to war, militarism or violence).

Sakamaki prisoner of war 1941-45,
before he died 1999 in Japan
Outside of writing a memoir, Sakamaki refused to speak about the war until 1991.
He spent the rest of his life in Japan until his death in 1999 at the age of 81, and was survived by his wife and two children.
Sakamaki wrote a memoir titled "Four Years as a Prisoner-of-War, No. 1" and his memoirs were translated and published in the United States on the eighth anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack under the title  "I Attacked Pearl Harbor".
Sakamaki's experience as a prisoner of war in America was detailed in "The Anguish of Surrender: Japanese POWs of World War II" by Ulrich Straus (2004).
The attack on Pearl Harbor took place before a declaration of war by Japan, but that was not the intent of the Japanese leadership. 
It was originally stipulated that the attack should not commence until 30 minutes after Japan had informed the United States that it was withdrawing from further peace negotiations.It was the intent of the Japanese to uphold the conventions of war while still achieving surprise, but the attack began before the notice could be delivered. 
Tokyo transmitted the 5,000-word notification (known as the "14-Part Message") in 
two blocks to the Japanese Embassy in Washington - but the transcription took too long 
for the ambassador to deliver it in time. Many lives could have been saved.
Nuclear weapons have been used twice in nuclear warfare history, both times by the 
United States against Japan near the end of World War II. 
On August 6, 1945, the U.S. Army Air Forces detonated a uranium gun-type smaller 
fission bomb nicknamed "Little Boy" over the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
Three days later, on August 9, the U.S. Army Air Forces detonated a plutonium 
implosion-type fission  bigger bomb codenamed "Fat Man" over the Japanese 
city of Nagasaki, which made Japan surrender, August 15 1945. 
World War II ended two weeks after,  September 2nd 1945. 
The bombings resulted in the deaths of approximately 200,000 civilians and 
military personnel from acute injuries sustained from the explosions.
The ethics of the bombings and their role in Japan's surrender remain the 
subject of scholarly and popular debates.
After the Pearl Harbor bombing Japanese Americans
were relocated to WRA, War Relocation Authority camps in US (1942-45)
After the Pearl Harbor bombing, which lasted 90 min, and declaration of War (the day after) December 8 1941,President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the War Relocation Authority (WRA), which selected ten sites to incarcerate more than 110,000 Japanese Americans (64% were American citizens). They had been forcibly removed from the West Coast, where over 80% of Japanese Americans lived.
All camps closed closed between October 15 and December 15 1945. Tule Lake 
was the last camp which held "renunciants" slated for deportation to Japan. 
It closed on March 20, 1946, and Executive Order 9742, signed by President 
Harry S. Truman on June 26, 1946, and officially ended the WRA’s camps mission in USA.
About Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC)
Since its formation in 1989, Go For Broke National Education Center has been committed to educating the public about the responsibilities, challenges, and rights of American citizenship by using the life stories of the Japanese American soldiers of World War II. In order to share these stories, they began video recording the oral histories of Japanese American veterans, and today they have the largest collection of its kind in the country. The interviews have been incorporated into a complete curriculum with lesson plans and web-based project learning to share their story with youth across the country.
In 1999, GFBNEC dedicated the Go For Broke Monument in the Little Tokyo District of Los Angeles. On the monument are the insignias of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service (MIS), 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, 232nd Combat Engineer Company, and the 1399 Engineer Construction Battalion. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

LA PRIDE 2016 Music Festival Announces Line-up in West Hollywood, June 10-12

By Karen Ostlund in West Hollywood

On June 10th-12th 2016 in West Hollywood, CA, LA PRIDE Music Festival & Parade 2016 will set the stage for a fresh lineup that is as diverse as the massive festival crowds expected to attend. 
The three-day music festival features a carefully crafted assortment of Electronic, Pop, Hip Hop, R&B and Latin artists, all performing on one of four venue stages.
GRAMMY ® nominated singer and songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen

This year's all-inclusive lineup will be headlined by multi-platinum, GRAMMY ® nominated singer and songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen, international pop sensation Charli XCX, responsible for penning multi-platinum and GRAMMY ® nominated singles and multi-platinum selling sisters/vocalists/songwriters/DJs Krewella who will join over 50 artists scheduled to perform throughout the festival weekend. 
Pop sensation Charli XCX

This year will feature a variety of stages including the Delta Air Lines Main Stage, the Nissan Latin Music Stage powered by Club Papi, the Hip Hop Music Stage  powered by B.A.S.H., and a new Dance Music stage. 
Mexican singer Diana Reyes will perform

The Delta Air Lines Main Stage will showcase everything from top 40 hit makers to emerging artists. Meanwhile, the Nissan Latin Music Stage will have a talent lineup ranging from Electronica to Banda including Diana Reyes, Maribel Gaurdia and Mariana Seoane. This year's Hip Hop Music Stage is going all out featuring Grammy Award winning and Billboard chart-topping musical acts like Faith Evans, Da Brat, Trina & Big Freedia. Each stage highlights unique musical styles and the curated lineup celebrates a diverse collection of talent with mass appeal.
Sisters/vocalists/songwriters/DJs Krewella

Complete list of Artists who are scheduled to perform at this year's LA PRIDE 2016 Music Festival please click here 

Lesbians and friends will gather by the hundreds on Friday, June 10, 2016 to celebrate community at the annual West Hollywood Dyke March.
Gates will open at 6 p.m. for this free event, and festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. at the main stage of the Christopher Street West L.A. Pride in West Hollywood Festival at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The program will include a welcome from members of the West Hollywood City Council and a presentation of the Etheridge Award to this year’s honoree, the June Mazer Lesbian Archives.
The Etheridge Award is presented annually to women or women’s organizations who have made significant impacts within and for the lesbian community. Named after its first honoree, highly acclaimed singer/activist Melissa Etheridge, past honorees of the Etheridge Award have included the Honorable Sheila Kuehl, Jewel Thais-Williams (Parade Grand Marshal), Ivy Bottini, Rita Gonzales, and the late Jeanne Cordova.
There will be brief comedy sets hosted by UnCabaret and featuring funny women Julie Goldman, Selene Luna, and Marsha Warfield, to follow the award presentation.
The West Hollywood Dyke March, itself, will begin at 7:30 p.m.; participants will march from the Festival grounds along Santa Monica Boulevard and back. The Festival will be free and open to the public on Friday, June 10, 2016 until 1 a.m., with entertainment organized by Christopher Street West, including live performances by Krewella, Maria José, Da Brat, and Faith Evans. 
On Saturday, June 11, 2016 and Sunday, June 12, 2016, the L.A. Pride in West Hollywood Festival will continue at West Hollywood Park — on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 1 a.m.; and on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. Enjoy live entertainment on multiple stages, headline performances, dance venues, numerous exhibitors, and food-and-drink vendors.
On Sunday, June 12, 2016, the Pride Parade will take place. It steps-off at 10:45 a.m. from Crescent Heights Boulevard and travels westbound along Santa Monica Boulevard, just past the main entrance of the festival at San Vicente Boulevard, ending at Robertson Boulevard. With many thousands of participants, spectators, and marchers, this emotionally charged experience is not to be missed.

June 10th FREE, June 11th & 12th - LA PRIDE Music Festival (A Ticketed Event at www.LAPRIDE.ORG)
June 12th - LA PRIDE Parade (Free Event)

LA PRIDE will offer free entry into its Friday June 10th evening Vogue Ball for anyone who is tested for HIV at REACH LA before the event weekend. 

With all eyes on the signature parade on Sunday, June 12th, LA PRIDE will dedicate its 'Moment of Silence' to LGBTQ minorities affected by HIV/AIDS. 

Facebook Event Page has been created for this this year's event. 

(Center) Parade Grand Marshal 2016, Jewel Thais-Williams
Christopher Street West celebrates the 46th Anniversary of LA PRIDE with the announcement of its most iconic and honored role within the weekend festivities, the Parade Grand Marshal, Jewel Thais-Williams. The annual Parade, which takes place in West Hollywood, honors the LGBTQ community's past struggles while celebrating its future generation of leaders. The 2016 Parade celebration will also feature Los Angeles area LGBTQ pioneers from the community who have helped shape LGBTQ history, highlight community organizations, corporate partners and a mix of celebrities who support the LGBTQ community. 

As the owner of the historic Catch One Disco, one of the most iconic Black gay discos in the world, Jewel Thais-Williams helped create a safe haven for many of the LGBTQ community for over 40 years. Not only was The Catch a place where one could find some of the biggest names in entertainment, like Sammy Davis Jr., Chaka Khan, Sylvester, Weather Girls, and Rick James, it also served as a community center for the Black LGBTQ community in Los Angeles. 
Her work with those affected by HIV/AIDS has steadily continued through the years. In the realm of community service, she also co-founded the Minority AIDS Project, which aims to help those affected by the disease in the African-American and Hispanic communities. Jewel served as a Board member of the AIDS Project Los Angeles and has made significant strides in helping women affected by AIDS by co-founding Rue's House. Rue's House was the first housing facility for women with AIDS giving much-needed services and shelter for women and their children in the United States.  

"I am humbled by my selection as the Grand Marshal for this years LA PRIDE Parade. Many years ago we collaborated with another club and a florist company to become the first representing people of color in the parade. What an honor it is for me to lead the parade, pause for a minute to acknowledge the unity we have come to cherish in the community," said Jewel Thais-Williams. 

Jewel founded the Village Health Foundation in 2001. As a non-profit organization that specializes in nutrition, lifestyle changes, and diseases with high incidence in the African American community, the foundation aims to provide preventative health care and education to the community for diseases like HIV/AIDS, along with others. By offering services like emotional counseling, individual, family and group counseling, and medication therapy and management, Village Health Foundation does much to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the African-American LGBTQ community. 

"Jewel Thais-Williams is a true symbol of leadership within our community. Her tireless efforts have positively affected the lives of countless LGBTQ minorities," said Marquita Thomas, CSW Board Member. "Jewel's dedication to bettering our community is truly inspiring to myself as well as a whole new generation of activists, community leaders and community supporters. In the past, our Grand Marshal has been a celebrity-focused opportunity. While we will again have celebrity participation throughout our parade, starting last year with Reverend Troy Perry and Trans youth activist Zoey, our Grand Marshal title now honors community activists who we consider to be our own celebrities and who have fearlessly fought for equality for our community." 

In conjunction with LA PRIDE's recognition of Jewel Thais-Williams and her history of work, this year's weekend programming will engage guests through various events and activations to shed light on the HIV/AIDS crisis within LGBTQ communities of color. 
While overall rates of HIV have declined in the United States, rates are increasing in African-American and Hispanic men who have sex with men. 
At current rates, half of black and one quarter of Latino gay or bisexual men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes. 
Focused on education, care, and prevention amongst LGBTQ community members of color, LA PRIDE, along with several LGBTQ Minority Community Based Organizations, will host onsite festival activations throughout the weekend. 
LA PRIDE will also offer free entry into its Friday evening Vogue Ball for anyone who is tested for HIV at REACH LA before the event weekend. With all eyes on the signature parade on Sunday, June 12th, LA PRIDE will dedicate its 'Moment of Silence' to LGBTQ minorities affected by HIV/AIDS. Several parade contingents will march in solidarity to bring broader awareness to this epidemic that is plaguing LGBTQ communities of color. 

About LA PRIDE / Christopher Street West 
Christopher Street West Association, Inc., is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community of Greater Los Angeles. We are committed to the goals of human rights, education, outreach and equality for LA's LGBT community. Founded in response to the Stonewall Rebellion on Christopher Street in New York on June 28, 1969, Christopher Street West conducted the first parade in the world advocating for gay rights in June of 1970 in Hollywood, CA. That tradition lives on today in the form of the LA PRIDE Music Festival and Parade, now in it's 46th year, taking place in the City of West Hollywood, CA.