October 31, 2023

Thank you to everyone who tuned in on October 5 for Densho’s 2023 virtual fundraiser, Our Voices Will Not Be Silenced! 

Densho’s 2023 virtual fundraiser included an inspired mix of story, art, activism, and celebration. The keynote conversation between Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Karen Maeda Allman ended with a powerful call to action and an important reminder that the more we advocate for our own right to speak truthfully about the past, the better we can advocate for others. The evening also included a live musical performance by Tomo Nakayama, a poetry reading by traci kato-kiriyama, and heartfelt commentary from Densho Executive Director Naomi Ostwald Kawamura, board member Nick Oki, and our hosts, Erin Shigaki and Brady Wakayama.

“It is through the work of writers like Maggie, and educators, journalists, historians, and storytellers that we continue to shine a light on history’s darkest moments, ensuring they are not forgotten,” said Naomi during her address. “And Densho will continue to play a role as a memory keeper of the rich stories and experiences that the community has shared with us. This remembrance work has not only brought people together, we also believe that it is restorative, and that it helps to build a resiliency that will enable the next generation to look forward, into the future, with hope.

Thank you from all of us at Densho for your incredible support! We truly couldn’t do this important work without you.

Below are some highlights from Our Voices Will Not Be Silenced. (Watch a recording of the full event here.) We hope you enjoy these moving performances and powerful conversations as much as we do.

Musical Performance by Tomo Nakayama

Born in Japan and raised in Seattle, Washington, Tomo Nakayama is an artist whose melodic, complex, and emotionally compelling music has been praised by NPR, KEXP, and the New York Times. Tomo graced the stage with a performance of his pieces “Hidakamura” and “Pieces of Sky.”

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traci kato-kiriyama performs “No Redress”

Writer, performer, and community organizer traci kato-kiriyama performed a poem, “No Redress,” from their new book, Navigating With(out) Instruments. traci wrote this poem about their grandfather’s resistance to WWII incarceration and was inspired by a photo of traci’s grandfather taken at Manzanar. 

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Love in the Library author Maggie Tokuda-Hall

We are witnessing a new era of whitewashing. Book bans, censorship, and attempts to sanitize our nation’s past are all on the rise – so it’s more important than ever that we raise our voices and collectively refuse to be silenced. 

Love in the Library author Maggie Tokuda-Hall bravely stood up against Scholastic Inc. earlier this year when they attempted to censor her use of terms like “racism” in an author’s note about her grandparents’ incarceration experience. 

Maggie was joined by Karen Maeda Allman, who many in Seattle know as a beloved community member and bookseller from Elliott Bay Books, in a powerful conversation about the importance of telling the stories from our past to inspire action in the present.

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This event was the kick-off to Densho’s end-of-year fundraising campaign, with a goal to raise $1 million dollars by the end of 2023 to ensure the ongoing success of Densho into 2024 and beyond. Thank you to all of the sponsors and donors who have contributed so far — and if you haven’t yet had a chance to donate, please consider doing so today at densho.org/give. Thank you for helping us keep our history alive and accessible!

[Header: Densho staff with speakers and performers on stage at the Kirkland Performance Center, where the 2023 virtual fundraiser was filmed live.]

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