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Friday, April 12, 2013

Free Event: Inspired by History - Hawaii's Youth Take Action - Japanese Cultural Center, 4/13

The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i (JCCH) along with the National Park Service (NPS) are pleased to present Inspired by History, Hawai‘i’s Youth Take Action on Saturday, April 13 from 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i Manoa Grand Ballroom. This event will bring together several high schools from O‘ahu to present a number of student projects that incorporates the lessons of World War II and challenges the students to encourage others to also learn from history. 

In 2012, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i unveiled its new program “Just Youth: Taking the Lessons of Hawai‘i’s WWII Confinement Sites to Our High Schools.” Funded by the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program through the National Park Service, the program goal was to engage students and teachers through classroom outreach, hands-on site tours, and civic engagement projects. The intent was to inspire students to use history to change the world. 

As the school teachers began the instruction of the World War II experience in the classroom, JCCH and NPS partnered to offer an additional class session along with a follow-up field trip to either the World War II Valor in Pacific National Monument or the Honouliuli Internment site in Kunia. The students then applied what was learned to a project concerning a current social justice issue or need.
At the culminating event on April 13, each school will present their top project from its inception to completion. The participating schools include Aiea High School, Campbell High School, Damien Memorial School, Hanalani Schools, Leilehua High School, Mid-Pacific Institute, Nanakuli High and Intermediate School, Pacific Buddhist Academy, Sacred Hearts Academy, St. Andrew’s Priory, and Waianae High School.

“Learning in a normal classroom setting can have its shortcomings,” said Keala Parker-Lee, student from Sacred Hearts Academy. “By visiting the Honouliuli site, I felt the real emotions and hardships that the internees experienced. Seeing the remnants of buildings and hearing true stories of families who went through this traumatic experience taught me that we must stand up to social injustices. As American citizens, we are promised many things through the Constitution, but the most important thing we are promised is our freedom. Let my generation never force its own citizens into situations where their rights to freedom are completely forgotten. May my generation never make these same mistakes.” 

“We were excited to launch this program and eager to see how the students and projects would evolve,” said Jane Kurahara, project director of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i. “The quality and innovative ideas of these projects truly amazed us. We feel these students took these lessons of the World War II experience to a new level.”  

Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, author of Farewell to Manzanar, will be the keynote speaker.
The event is free and open to the public. At the close of the program there will be an informal reception in the courtyard with student displays, gift shop sales, refreshments, and free admission into the JCCH historical gallery. For more information, please contact Emily Zia at (808) 945-7633 Ext. 40 or via email at

This program was made possible by the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program National Park Service.

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