Teaching Our Children

“History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future.”
-Robert Penn Warren

JACL Watsonville-Santa Cruz Liberty Lost Lessons Learned
Scenes from the reenactment of the forced relocation of Japanese Americans from Watsonville in 1942.

Mas Hashimoto and a few other volunteers from the Watsonville-Santa Cruz Japanese American Citizens League visited us at the Community Foundation in 2001, with a big idea.

What they proposed was a staged reenactment in the streets of Watsonville, to educate a new generation about the U.S. government’s forced relocation of all local people of Japanese ancestry on April 27, 1942, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The idea seemed important, of historic and educational value, but maybe overly ambitious for a small band of community volunteers.

After many conversations, we supported the JACL with a $10,000 grant and then we all got to see (again) how a small group of committed individuals joined in common cause can make a big difference.

JACL Watsonville-Santa Cruz Liberty Lost Lessons Learned
Scenes from the reenactment of the forced relocation of Japanese Americans from Watsonville in 1942.

On April 27, 2002, after eighteen months of planning, the streets of Watsonville were filled with an army of volunteers, the cast dressed in 40s vintage clothing.

"Liberty Lost...Lessons in Loyalty" was the story of the 1,301 Nikkei (Japanese and Japanese Americans) in Santa Cruz County that were removed. First to an “assembly center” in Salinas, and then most to camps in Poston, Arizona.

The reenactment called attention to the hardships they experienced being forced to leave their homes. It recognized those, who despite their treatment, went on to serve in the military. It also honored the local residents who supported their neighbors and protected their property during their internment.

In the words of Congressman Sam Farr, “Mas and Marcia created the idea of ‘Liberty Lost...Lessons in Loyalty.’ Their work, and this project, shall be forever cherished for all to remember.”

Mas and Marcia Hashimoto have dedicated their lives to education, as teachers and tireless advocates for civil rights and social justice.

Check out this video made in 1988, for the City of Watsonville, and narrated by Mas. It was sent to Watsonville’s sister city of Kawakami, Japan.