February 23, 2024

Last weekend marked the 82nd anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the forced removal and incarceration of more than 125,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. Here in Seattle, we observed this year’s Day of Remembrance with a powerful two-part action led by our friends at Tsuru for Solidarity and La Resistencia: The day began with a ceremony of remembrance at the Washington State Fairgrounds — the site of the Puyallup Assembly Center in 1942 — before moving on to a rally outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, where immigrants and refugees have been staging hunger strikes to call attention to the abysmal and inhumane conditions inside this contemporary concentration camp.

At both sites, we heard powerful testimonies from incarceration survivors past and present, and calls to action to stand with those held inside the Northwest Detention Center today and #ShutDownNWDC for good. This day of remembrance and resistance was part of a week of action organized by Tsuru for Solidarity, during which activists also blocked entry to the federal building in downtown Seattle in order to protest proposed funding for immigrant detention, and marched to the King County Airport to deliver a letter to ICE contractor Signature Aviation demanding an end to the deportation flights serving NWDC. As Tsuru for Solidarity leaders Mike Ishii and Stan Shikuma wrote in The Seattle Times, “It is not enough to commemorate a grave past injustice. We must act together to stop the current one.”

Check out some powerful images from this 2024 Day of Remembrance captured by community photographer and Minidoka survivor Eugene Tagawa — and be sure to follow Tsuru for Solidarity for more ways to take action!

Survivors of the Puyallup Assembly Center, Minidoka, and other WWII concentration camps gather for a group photo after the remembrance ceremony at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup. Organizers gave each survivor a purple uchiwa as they arrived so that they could be acknowledged during the program. Photographer Eugene Tagawa is pictured on the far left.
Dekoboko Taiko opened the ceremony at Puyallup with a lively performance.
Mary Abo was a young child when her father was taken by the FBI shortly after Pearl Harbor. The rest of the family was later removed from their Juneau, Alaska home and incarcerated at Puyallup and Minidoka. She shared her memories — including the story of a family friend who traveled all the way from Juneau to Puyallup just to bring the Abo family a homemade chocolate cake. To carry that act of compassion forward, Mary brought with her a chocolate cake that she shared with members of La Resistencia who organize alongside people detained at NWDC today.
Ruben was detained at NWDC for seventeen months and suffered serious health consequences as a result of the lack of medical care. Now part of La Resistencia, he shares his story to highlight the dangerous conditions inside NWDC and advocate for the release of those still inside.
The crowd huddles under canopies to stay dry at the rally outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington.
Tsuru for Solidarity and Seattle JACL member Stan Shikuma addresses the crowd outside NWDC.
Tsuru for Solidarity members hand drew portraits of people who were detained at NWDC, WWII incarceration survivors, and leaders in the movement to end immigrant detention, which attendees were invited to weave into the fence outside NWDC along with paper butterflies and tsuru.
Sina Sam of the Khmer Advocacy and Advancement Group (KhAAG), which advocates against ICE deportations and raids affecting the Khmer community and all immigrant and refugee communities, speaks outside the Northwest Detention Center.
Immigrant rights leader Maru Mora Villalpando of La Resistencia leads the crowd in chants of “Chinga la Migra!” and “Shut it down!”
Northwest Taiko perform outside the Northwest Detention Center.
Portraits of community members impacted by detention and movement leaders were hung next to artwork by Erin Shigaki honoring Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and expressing Japanese American solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

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