Call for Justice exhibit open at gallery

A Call for Justice— Fighting for Japanese Canadian Redress, was inspired by the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Redress agreement.

Ted Fogg

Gallery 2 Art and Heritage Centre is pleased to announce the opening of a new travelling exhibit, A Call for Justice— Fighting for Japanese Canadian Redress (1977-1988) inspired by the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Redress agreement.

A Call for Justice examines the hard work and perseverance of a dedicated group of community members who, for over 10 years, strategized, argued and debated with the government while fighting criticism from the press and from their own community.

This powerful story is told using historic photographs, artifacts, poetry, personal statements, art and video.

In 1942, after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, the Government of Canada considered people of Japanese descent to be a threat to the country. Under the War Measures Act, over 22,000 Japanese Canadians were banned from the B.C. coast, sent to internment or work camps in central B.C., Alberta or Manitoba, lost all their property and belongings, and were later dispersed across Canada.

The National Association of Japanese Canadians, led by Art Miki, worked with community members, media, multicultural and human rights coalitions, two governments and five ministers of multiculturalism before achieving success. On Sept. 22, 1988, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney acknowledged in the Parliament of Canada the past injustices towards Japanese Canadians from 1942-1949. This was the first settlement of its kind in Canada and led the way for future government apologies.

The Redress settlement included:

• an acknowledgment of the injustice of the wartime events

• individual payments of $21,000 to eligible Canadians

• establishment of a community fund of $12 million

• clearing of criminal records for those charged under the War Measures Act

• restoration of Canadian citizenship to those exiled to Japan

• the creation of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, which was established in 1997

“We never really sought what’s called an apology – we were always seeking an acknowledgement. It’s more a type of responsibility, accountability… By seeking redress, we were actually strengthening the democratic system.” – Roy Miki, 2012

The exhibit is possible with the financial assistance of Canadian Heritage, Museum Assistance Program, the City of Grand Forks, and the Province of B.C.

 

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