Japanese American and American Muslim solidarity march

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Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC). (Fight Back! News/staff)

Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC). (Fight Back! News/staff)

San José, CA - On March 25, 200 people marched from San Jose Japantown to San Jose City Hall to express the solidarity between Japanese Americans and American Muslims. Since the election of Donald Trump, many Japanese Americans have been mobilized to oppose the anti-Muslim government policies such as the travel ban from majority-Muslim countries. The march was sponsored by the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC) and the South Bay Islamic Association (SBIA).

As people assembled for the march, Susan Hayase - former NOC chair and the vice-chairperson of the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund in the period after the fight for redress and reparations - emceed a short program that included welcomes by Reverend Shinya Goto of the First United Methodist Church and Faisal Yazadi of the Evergreen Islamic Center.

The lead banner expressed the theme of the day: “1942-2017, 75 years of resistance. No to concentration camps. No to Islamophobia.” On the way to city hall, the marchers chanted “Hey hey, ho ho, Islamophobia has got to go!” and “Two, four, six, eight, the fight for justice will not wait!” People joined the march along the way.

Once at city hall, emcee began the rally saying, “Welcome, and thank you so much for being here! My name is Lisa Washio-Collette, and on behalf of the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee, we thank you for attending this grassroots day of solidarity between Japanese Americans and American Muslims! The Nihonmachi Outreach Committee is a progressive organization based in the San Jose Japanese American community that is dedicated to educating the public about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, and as a consequence, is committed to defending all people on issues of civil rights, equality, justice, tolerance and peace. We are grateful to be co-sponsoring this event with the South Bay Islamic Association.”

The rally was co-emceed by Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Other speakers at the rally included Judy Mine, Silicon Valley Japanese American Citizens League (JACL); Faisal Yazadi (EIC); Masao Suzuki (NOC); Susan Hayase; Fumiaki Tosu, Casa de Clara Catholic Worker; Jesus Ruíz, People Acting in Community Together (PACT); Ash Kalra, State Assembly District 27 that includes Japantown; Tom Oshidari, San Jose JACL; and Robert Greenfield, African American Community Service Agency.