Transformative Solidarity: Black Immigrant Lives Matter draws upon Tsuru for Solidarity’s nonviolent, direct action project of Japanese American social justice advocates working to end detention sites and support front-line immigrant and refugee communities that are being targeted by racist, inhumane immigration policies. The talk stands on the moral authority of Japanese Americans who suffered the atrocities and legacy of U.S. concentration camps during WWII and declares, “Stop Repeating History!” Ishii and Yee will discuss Tsuru Rising!, their Covid-era social activism and ask for our participation in Tsuru Folding, their origami crane-folding protest project.
Mike Ishii is a yonsei living in NYC where he has split his time as a performing artist, organizer and clinician. Michael is the co-leader and co-founder of Tsuru for Solidarity and has been the co-chair of the New York Day of Remembrance Committee for 30 years. He is the chair of the New York Japanese American Oral History Project which received a 2018 JACS Grant, and he is a former president of the JACL, New York Chapter. Michael also serves as a volunteer for the Tule Lake Pilgrimage Committee and sits on the board for the Hudson Valley Park for Study and Reflection. He has written and performed spoken word and performance art pieces related to his family’s incarceration in the WRA camp, Minidoka, exploring themes of remembrance and healing from intergenerational trauma.
Tsuya Yee Tsuya is a yonsei, mixed heritage Japanese and Chinese American from New York City. Her family was incarcerated in Manzanar and Jerome during World War II. She has served as co-chair for the New York Day of Remembrance Committee for the past 20 years. Tsuya’s grandfather, William Hohri, spearheaded the National Council on Japanese American Redress (NCJAR) class action lawsuit, which sued the U.S. government for $27 billion for injuries suffered as a result of the exclusion and imprisonment of Japanese Americans in WWII U.S. concentration camps. Tsuya works at the New School for Social Research and co-leads communications work for Tsuru For Solidarity.