Both sides of my parents’ families were interned during the war. However, since three of my grandparents passed away before I was even 10 years old, I never really had much opportunity to speak to them about their experiences. My paternal grandmother was the only one who really remembered the internment years and she lived until my adulthood. Unfortunately for me, she rarely spoke about that period in her life and I didn’t press her for information.
Unfortunately it wasn’t until my early 30’s that I finally felt compelled to learn more about this critical time in my family’s history and learned to embrace my JC heritage. I joined the Tonari Gumi Board of Directors in 2006, and in 2008, I joined the committee to help organize and host the 20thredress anniversary event at Nikkei Centre. Of importance to me, it was during my involvement with organizing a youth panel for the event that I learned of my grandfather Motoi Iwanaka’s involvement with the grassroots movement for redress in the 80s. It was such a shame that he passed prior to realizing his dream of redress for JCs.