Yonsei Memory Project: Storytellers Speak Of Prejudice, Reconciliation, Redemption

Feb 13, 2019

Last week we spoke with writers Nikiko Masumoto and Brynn Saito about their Yonsei Memory Project. For the past several months, they’ve been working with artists, teachers and others on how to tell personal stories about social injustice in front of an audience. It's all part of a greater effort to get people talking about civil liberties struggles going back to the Japanese American incarceration during WWII. On Feb. 9, the storytellers shared their work at Fresno State. We’d like to play some excerpts starting with one called Expectations. In this story, Cindy Vang is pregnant with her third child and has just learned the baby is a girl. Vang, already the mother of two boys, wonders how she will raise a strong woman in the patriarchal Hmong culture.

In the second story, called The Wall Between, we hear from Will Freeney. He and his son have had a rocky past. The divide between their political and moral values is deep but, Will says, his son is still his son and he's willing to do the hard work of reconcilation.

And finally, we hear from Anjali Kapoor Davis. She tells the story of the racism she experienced in kindergarten as a young girl from India. She wanted to make sure her own son didn’t have such negative experiences so she followed her mother’s lead and introduced her son’s kindergarten class to some of the cultures and traditions of India including Diwali. The Yonsei Memory Project is also doing a Day of Remembrance Saturday Feb. 16 with a Memory Bus Ride honoring the history of Japanese Americans. For more information, go to yonseimemoryproject.com