Nikiko Masumoto & I in the Fresno Bee

Remembering legacies of trauma and resilience, this 4th of July:

“To reckon is to remember; to remember is to turn toward the history of this country with curiosity, and a true desire to face the patterns of brutal exclusion that bring us to this moment. What happens if, to honor this country’s promise of greatness, we ask ourselves a set of deeper, perhaps more difficult questions: What does it mean to belong to one another, as a community, and as a country? How can we encourage each other to bravely acknowledge the suffering of the past caused by government-sanctioned racism? Where, in our lives now, are we bystanders, and when are we brave?”

Toma Hubert, left, a Lakota Sioux tribe member, and Michael Topaum, with the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, protest plans to house migrant children at Fort Sill, in Lawton, Okla., June 22, 2019. Protesters called the plan for the site, home to an internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II, a return to one of the nation’s great shames. NICK OXFORD NYT

Toma Hubert, left, a Lakota Sioux tribe member, and Michael Topaum, with the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, protest plans to house migrant children at Fort Sill, in Lawton, Okla., June 22, 2019. Protesters called the plan for the site, home to an internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II, a return to one of the nation’s great shames. NICK OXFORD NYT

"Truth and Reconciliation" Artists' Residency

Wrapping up at the Santa Fe Art Institute’s “Truth and Reconciliation” residency. A powerful time of interdisciplinary conversation, writing, and art-making—and completing a new book project supported by Densho on the Japanese American incarceration of WWII. I’m so grateful for this time and support.

“From September 2018 through November 2019, SFAI will bring together 70 artists, creative practitioners, content experts, and innovative thinkers from all over the world to explore how uncovering and acknowledging the truth can be used as a means of reconciliation.”

Process notes, poems, and photographs in my residency studio space at the Santa Fe Art Institute.

Process notes, poems, and photographs in my residency studio space at the Santa Fe Art Institute.

Densho Artists Initiative Funding

Excited to be one of Densho’s 2019 Artists Initiative grant recipients along with facilitator, muralist, and artist, Mari Shibuya.

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From Densho’s blog: “We’re pleased to introduce the two artists who will receive 2019 Densho Artists Initiative funding! Out of a wide selection of gifted artists and their powerful proposals, Brynn Saito and Mari Shibuya submitted ideas that we felt had the greatest potential to provoke important dialogues about trauma, healing, and the legacy of Japanese American WWII incarceration as it relates to contemporary injustices. We are also pleased to share that we were able to give several additional artists smaller grants, and we’ll be sharing their work throughout the year. Follow Densho on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for updates on these projects and for opportunities to engage.”

VOGUE and Yonsei Memory Project

YMP co-founder, Nikiko Masumoto, and I—along with an amazing group of West Coast Japanese American women activists—were featured in “Memory Keepers.” An honor! “As a yonsei,” Nikiko Masumoto says, “I know that in many of our families, we are the last generation to have a personal relationship with survivors of incarceration.”

Nikiko Masumoto stands behind her grandmother, Carole Yukino Sugimoto Masumoto on the Masumoto Family Farm in Del Rey, California.

Nikiko Masumoto stands behind her grandmother, Carole Yukino Sugimoto Masumoto on the Masumoto Family Farm in Del Rey, California.

Brynn Saito in her father’s garden in Fresno, California.

Brynn Saito in her father’s garden in Fresno, California.

Join Yonsei Memory Project on Feb 17, 2019...

Nikiko Masumoto and I are facilitating YMP’s 2nd annual “Memory Bus Ride,” FEBRUARY 17, 2019, 8:30AM-11:30AM. RSVP HERE! Community members and educators are invited to travel through local Fresno history, visiting important Japanese American sites of memory. Together, we will explore local stories through monuments, creative engagement, and conversations. Dialogue will be curated to ask about how we can support public education about Japanese American history and to draw connections with important contemporary concerns about civil liberties and xenophobia in America. This unique journey through memory is not to be missed! Reserve your spot via our RSVP form.

The Memory Bus Ride is YMP’s contribution to Day of Remembrance (DOR) weekend, an important annual date for reflecting on civil liberties, struggles for justice, and Japanese American memories of the World War II incarceration.

The Memory Ride will begin at the Fresno Fairgrounds, Chance Avenue entrance, at 8:30am, and will return to the Fairgrounds by 11:30am. All are welcome and seating is limited! We hope you can join us.

After the bus ride, the Central California District Council of the Japanese American Citizens League will be holding their annual Day of Remembrance luncheon at the Fresno Fairgrounds, 12pm-3pm. We hope you can attend! Please contact Travis Nishi and download flyer for details: tsnishi@aol.com.

Storytelling for Change: A New YMP Fellowship Program Based in Fresno, CA

Very excited to announce Yonsei Memory Project's "Storytelling for Change" Fellowship. The program will train new and experienced writers, artists, activists, organizers, educators, students, and local community members in the power of crafting and telling detailed, heart-moving, and inspiring personal stories that touch upon themes of civil injustice, civil liberties, and resilience. Do you have a story to tell? Please apply by September 1st!

Poetry on San Francisco's MUNI...

Be on the look out for woman warrior poems on San Francisco's MUNI buses... More on the launch here

"The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and San Francisco Beautiful (SFB) today announced the five winners of the 2018 Muni Art Project. This year’s theme is “The Art of Poetry in San Francisco”.  The five winning artists will have their newly created work presented along with five poems selected by the Poetry Society of America, all by local poets, displayed on 100 Muni buses that will be transformed into rolling art galleries throughout San Francisco beginning in January 2018."

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