Press Release

History Colorado Joins Smithsonian’s National Youth Summit on Japanese American Incarceration in World War II

DENVER – History Colorado Center will participate in the “National Youth Summit on Japanese American Incarceration in World War II,” an online outreach program organized by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in partnership with the Japanese American National Museum. The event will take place Tuesday, May 17, 2016 (11am MST) and will link middle and high schools students from across the country in a webcast centered on this event and its lessons for today. History Colorado Center is one of four Smithsonian Affiliate organizations hosting regional youth summits with local activists, scholars, and youth.

President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 in 1942 ordering the imprisonment of Americans of Japanese ancestry. The three-page document changed the course of history for a segment of Americans and challenged their constitutional rights.  During the opening months of World War II, almost 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of them U.S. citizens, were forced out of their homes and into detention camps established by the U.S. government. Many would spend the next three years living under armed guard, behind barbed wire.

     Students participating in the National Youth Summit webcast will talk with a panel of experts including Karen Korematsu, founder and executive director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute; Lorraine Bannai, director of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University School of Law; Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Los Angeles office of the Council on American Islamic Relations; and Lily Anne Welty Tamai, curator of history at the Japanese American National Museum.

      Panelists and students will discuss questions such as, “What was Japanese American incarceration?,” “Could it happen again?,” “What responsibilities do we have to uphold the rights of others?,” and “How does fear affect national policy?” The program will be hosted from the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, a Smithsonian Affiliate, in partnership with the National Museum of American History.

      The regional summit hosted at History Colorado will include a local panel of experts to include brother jeff fard, multimedia journalist, historian and community organizer; Marge Taniwake, former Manzanar internee; Molina Speaks, writer, poet, performer and recording artist; and Nadine Bridges, activist at Rainbow Alley at GLBT Community Center of Colorado. The event will enable young people from across the country to participate in the conversation via the webcast’s online chat.

      The National Youth Summit was designed by the National Museum of American History to provide students with an opportunity to share their views and debate an issue, and the program aligns with the Common Core Standards for Speaking and Listening. Panelists and the audience will explore the history of Japanese American incarceration and will consider how fear and prejudice can upset the delicate balance between the rights of citizens and the power of the state. The program will also focus on the role of young people in shaping America’s past and future. Classroom teachers and other participants will receive a conversation kit, designed to provide ideas for leading discussion topics in age-appropriate ways. Interested teachers can visit to find more information.


History Colorado's mission is to inspire generations to find wonder and meaning in our past and to engage in creating a better Colorado. We serve as the state's memory, preserving the places, stories, and material culture of Colorado through our museums, educational programs, historic preservation grants, research library, collections, and outreach to Colorado communities. Find History Colorado on all major social media platforms. Visit or call (303) HISTORY for more information.

Brooke Gladstone
Communications Manager
303-866-3670 |