Press

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 14, 2008

PRESS CONTACTS
Chris Komai - ckomai@janm.org - 213-830-5648

FORMER SECRETARY PENA, GEORGE TAKEI, AUTHOR ADAM SCHRAGER SET FOR 'WHOSE AMERICA? WHO'S AMERICAN?' CONFERENCE

Denver

The national conference, "Whose America? Who’s American? Diversity, Civil Liberties, and Social Justice", organized by the Japanese American National Museum of Los Angeles and set for July 3-6 in Denver, Colorado, will feature former Secretary of Transportation Federico Pena, actor George Takei, 9News Anchor Adele Arakawa, 9News political reporter and author Adam Schrager(pictured left), and many others speaking at formal sessions, workshops, special events, luncheon and dinner programs, as part of this rare national gathering set for the Hyatt Regency Denver.

"Whose America? Who’s American?" is part of Enduring Communities: The Japanese American Experience in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah, a three-year initiative organized by the Japanese American National Museum of Los Angeles in collaboration with educators, students, the Colorado Host Committee, and communities located in the five states. The conference will look at the history of Japanese Americans in the five states as well as note the 20th anniversary of redress to Japanese Americans falsely imprisoned during World War II by the government. People from 40 states are expected to converge on Denver for this once-in-a-lifetime gathering to discuss historic perspectives on current issues.

Of the upcoming conference, Bob Sakata, proprietor of Sakata Farms of Brighton, Colorado, observed, "I am in favor of doing everything possible to preserve the dynamic history of all the contributions that all the Issei (first generation) and Nisei (second generation) made to American society. It should be a proud model for every ethnic group and all Americans."

Pena will deliver opening remarks at the beginning of the conference on Saturday morning. Schrager, author of the book, The Principled Politician: The Ralph Carr Story, will be the keynote speaker at the conference luncheon at the Hyatt Regency with George Takei ("Star Trek", "Heroes") as master of ceremonies. Governor Carr welcomed Japanese Americans to Colorado during World War II when they were being excluded from their homes by the government, an unpopular gesture that cost him his political career.

Arakawa, the award-winning anchor for 9News for over a decade, will be the emcee of the conference dinner set for Saturday evening. Among the keynote speakers for the dinner will be Senator Daniel Inouye, a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his heroism during World War II, and former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, the first Asian American to serve in a cabinet post.

Marking the Fourth of July will be a special veterans’ panel, "Fighting for Democracy", featuring two Japanese American Medal of Honor recipients: George Sakato of Denver and Hiroshi Miyamura of Gallup, New Mexico. Sakato fought during World War II and was recognized belatedly in 2000 by President Clinton. Miyamura served during the Korean Conflict and his Medal of Honor was held in secret while he was a prisoner of war. In conjunction with this panel, the National Museum will set up the display, Beyond the Call of Duty: Honoring the 24 Japanese American Medal of Honor Recipients, at the conference in the Centennial Ballroom Foyer of the Hyatt Regency Denver.

For teachers and educators, continuing education credits from the University of Colorado at Boulder are available for those attending the national conference. Educators can register for all activities for $325. Deadline to pre-register for the conference is Thursday, June 5. All-inclusive pre-registration fees for National Museum members are $405, but on-site registration is $500. For non-members, all-inclusive pre-registration is $465, but it rises to $560 for on-site registration. Conference packages include all July 3-6 sessions and activities, luncheon and banquet dinner on July 5, and a bus trip to the Amache campsite. For more information, call the Japanese American National Museum at (213) 625-0414, or go to http://www.janm.org/projects/ec/conference/.