Invitation from Executive Director Tom Ikeda
Twenty-five years ago, Densho started documenting oral histories from Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II. With the support of our incredible community, we have grown from a grassroots operation to a robust organization and trusted steward of this history. I hope you’ll join us to celebrate the past — and future — of Densho.
Meet our Speakers & Performers
Miya Folick will be performing an original composition about her family’s WWII incarceration experience.
Los Angeles based singer/songwriter Miya Folick spent her formative years studying in New York before returning to California with a newfound interest in music. Folick began writing songs and learned how to produce her own material. Eventually, she knew she had to bring her music outside of her bedroom. Miya put out the Strange Darling EP on Terrible Records in 2015, followed by her debut album Premonitions in 2018 on Terrible/Interscope, starting to uncover the seemingly limitless power of her vocals. In January 2020, Billboard declared that Miya had “set the bar for 2020 with a spellbinding performance of all-new material at LA’s Echo.” Miya is currently working on her next LP, to be released soon.
Photo credit: Ariel Fisher
Densho Artist in Residence
Lauren Iida (she/her) was born in Seattle and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Cornish College of the Arts (2014). Her main medium is intricately hand-cut paper, often incorporating layers of ink washed paper and focusing on negative space and shadow play. Iida shares her time between Seattle and Cambodia, exhibiting her work, creating public art installations, and mentoring and representing emerging contemporary Cambodian artists through Open Studio Cambodia, an arts collective that she founded. In the US, Iida is represented by Seattle’s ArtXchange Gallery, where she will be exhibiting work created during her residency in an exhibition opening in January 2022.
traci kato-kiriyama (they+she) — based on unceded Tongva land in the south bay of Los Angeles — is an award-winning multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary artist, recognized for their work as a writer/performer, theatre deviser, cultural producer, and community organizer. As a storyteller and Artivist, tkk is grounded in collaborative process, collective self-determination, and art+community as intrinsically tied and a critical means toward connection and healing. She is a performer & principal writer for PULLproject Ensemble, two-time NET recipient; NEFA 2021-22 finalist for their show TALES OF CLAMOR. tkk has presented for over 25 years in hundreds of venues throughout North America as a writer, actor, poet, speaker, guest lecturer, facilitator, Artist-in-Residence, and organizing / arts & culture consultant. Their work is also featured in a wide swath of media and print publications. tkk is a core artist of Vigilant Love, member of the H.R. 40 Coalition and organizer with the Nikkei Progressives & NCRR joint Reparations Committee, and Director/Co-Founder of Tuesday Night Project. tkk’s book Navigating With(out) Instruments – a book of poetry, micro essays and Notes To Self will be released November 2021 by The Accomplices/Writ Large Press.
Gerry and Gail Nanbu
Gerry and Gail Nanbu currently live with one canine daughter, Aiko, in Walnut Creek, California. Although born in Chicago, Illinois in 1944, Gail grew up in San Francisco, California. During WWII, her family was incarcerated in the Topaz, Utah incarceration camp. Gerry grew up in Richmond, California. He was born in 1944 in Salt Lake City, where his parents were given permission to work during their incarceration at the Topaz, Utah camp. The family was eventually able to return to the family nursery and flower store in Richmond, California.
Gail and Gerry and their daughter, Nadine, have a deep interest in family history and genealogy. This interest led Gerry and Gail to attend the Topaz and Tule Lake Pilgrimages, write family stories for Topaz Stories, and serve as docents for the 2019 exhibit, “Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII and the Demise of Civil Liberties.” In recent years, they have also been active in Tsuru for Solidarity’s work to close contemporary US concentration camps.
Gabrielle Kazuko Nomura Gainor
Gabrielle Kazuko Nomura Gainor (she/her) is a dancer, activist, and storyteller. Through dance, she brings members of the Asian American community together, and has received grants from Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture, the Washington State Arts Commission, and Humanities Washington. As a 2021 recipient of the Washington State Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Program grant, she will spend the next year learning kagura and traditional Japanese dance with Kazuko Yamazaki (PhD, anthropology of dance, Indiana University). Active with Seattle’s Japanese American Citizens League since 2012, Gabrielle has spearheaded public school tours of her piece Farewell Shikata ga nai, which tells the story of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans. She also led the creation of a public event titled “Never Again is Now: the Art and Activism of Millennial Nikkei” at Wing Luke Museum in response to family separation at the border. During the global pandemic, Gabrielle presented online workshops with JACL focused on Mixed Race identity and uprooting anti-Blackness. In 2020-2021, she worked as a Teaching Artist with TeenTix and Chop Shop Contemporary Dance Festival. She holds degrees in Dance and Journalism from Western Washington University.
Gabrielle will be joined by dancers Sarah Baker, Hailey Bortel, Siena Dumas, Truong Nguyen, Fumi Murakami, Sarah Sakurazawa, and Ayako Shapiro.
Sean Miura (he/him) produces and leads curation for Los Angeles’ Tuesday Night Cafe, the longest running Asian American public art series. Interested in the intersections of Asian American self-determination, research, storytelling, and community organizing, Sean has lectured at, performed for, produced, and moderated programming for organizations such as PBS SoCal, Kollaboration, and Densho. Among other publications, his writing has appeared in Reappropriate, Nerds of Color, and the Harvard Asian American Policy Review. In 2019 he was a subject of the NHK documentaries “Manzanar Revealed” and “All That Remains.” Sean currently works at BuzzFeed as a creative strategist.
Miya Sommers (they/she) is a gosei and a third generation settler on the territory of Huichin, Chochenyo-speaking Ohlone land (Berkeley, CA). Their journey has been framed by the experiences of their maternal grandparents who survived the WWII incarceration and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. In navigating the inheritance of their intergenerational strength and trauma, Miya has been drawn to organizing spaces that offer visions of liberatory futures for communities of color. Currently, they are working on developing those spaces in Nikkei communities as an organizer for Nikkei Resisters. Miya also works as the Assistant Director of Asian Pacific American Student Development (APASD) at UC Berkeley, and is in their second year of a Master’s in Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University.
Make a gift to help Densho continue our work today and for the next 25 years.
During the month of October, our friends at the Oki Foundation will match every gift you make to Densho up to $250,000. That means that a 25th-anniversary gift of $250 becomes $500 thanks to our generous title sponsors!
25th Anniversary Dedication Wall
We’d love to hear about your connection to Densho! Please share a memory or tell us why Densho is important to you. You can also read stories that other members of the Densho community have shared.
Thank you to our sponsors for helping us celebrate this milestone with our friends near and far!
Interested in becoming a sponsor? Contact Fund Development Manager Danielle Higa, email@example.com.