I knew nothing of my family and community history until I was in university and had joined the Asian Canadian Coalition. We Japanese and Chinese Canadian students were encouraged to connect with our communities’ and families’ histories by going through our family albums, learning photography and mounting a photo exhibit that explored our history through our eyes. It was a profound experience that really opened my eyes to the importance of defining our own history and identity.
My past involvement with Tonari Gumi, A Dream of Riches, the Powell Street Festival, Katari Taiko and redress were motivated by a personal and political commitment to community. Over 40 years both the festival and taiko have grown to be a presence and inspiration for so many Japanese Canadians. I am grateful to have learned from and been supported by so many others in those organizations and projects. And for the past few years, I have wondered about the decades of silence in our community around incarceration. That led to Lucy and I exploring that silence, through workshops and discussions within community. I am glad that Tsunagu 2.0 has allowed us to continue the stories and discussion, despite Covid.