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Contact: Elizabeth Tucker, 510-232-5050 Ext. 6624
(Richmond, CA) – On Sunday, February 19th at 2:00pm, a special panel of speakers will discuss how Executive Order 9066 – issued exactly 75 years earlier – impacted their lives during and following World War II.
President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 authorized the forced removal and mass incarceration of all Japanese Americans on the West Coast during World War II. The order authorized the secretary of war and any military commander designated by him "to prescribe military areas…from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions… may impose in his discretion."
After four long years of living in the harsh conditions of prison camps located in desolate areas of the U.S., many Japanese American families tried to return home. However it was difficult for most to rebuild their lives, since many had lost their homes, businesses, property, and savings.
Some of the Japanese American families from El Cerrito and Richmond, California who owned and operated wholesale flower nurseries prior to the war, were taken to a prison camp in Topaz, Utah. Due to the unusual kindness of neighbors and local businesses, almost all were able to return home and resume living on their nurseries by 1949.
Sunday’s program will be facilitated by Flora Ninomiya, who as a child was incarcerated in a prison camp – Granada War Relocation Center – in Colorado.
Lina Aebi Hale, daughter of Frances Aebi, will speak about her experiences assisting her parents at the Aebi Nursery. Her father agreed to manage three of his neighbor’s Japanese American-owned nurseries in addition to their own during the war.
Edward Downer III, son of Edward Downer, Jr., will discuss his father’s actions as the President of Mechanics Bank in Richmond. During the War, Mr. Downer secretly held the mortgages of many local Japanese nurseries, not knowing if or when the owners would return.
The film, Blossoms and Thorns, by Ken Kokka, highlights the local El Cerrito and Richmond story, and will also be shown during the program.
Space is limited and reservations are required for this program. Please call 510-232-5050 x0 and leave a message with your name and phone number, and specify the date of the program you would like to attend.
The Rosie the Riveter Visitor Education Center is open seven days a week from 10 AM to 5 PM and is located at 1414 Harbour Way South, suite 3000, Richmond, CA 94804. For more information and directions to the Visitor Education Center, please call (510) 232-5050 x0 or visit to https://www.nps.gov/rori/
If you would like to receive information about upcoming park events, visit www.rosietheriveter.org and sign up for the email newsletter. The Rosie the Riveter Trust is the nonprofit association that is building a community of support for this national park.