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"Stand Up for Justice: The Ralph Lazo Story" Screened

August 29, 2012

The Raul H. Castro Institute of Phoenix College and the Asian Pacific Islander Coalitions from Glendale Community College and Mesa Community College presented a 30-minute docudrama based on the real life actions of one Mexican-American/Irish-American student in Los Angeles to the forced relocation of his Japanese-American friends to concentration camps during World War II.

The free, January 20 event was open to the public.  A reception was held in Pastor Plaza which featured the viewing of JA internment exhibit sponsored by the Arizona State University Asian Pacific American Studies.  Following the screening, the audience was entertained by a dynamic  Taiko Performance by Ken Koshio.  The panel discussion of the screening featuring Mas Inoshita, a former internee at the Gila River Internment Camp in Arizona; Marian Tadano Shee, a former internee at Crystal City Camp in Texas; Kathy Masaoka, co-chair of the Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress in Los Angeles; and Pete Garcia, president of  The Victoria Foundation, was held.

A reception prior to the screening featured authentic Japanese food provided by Nagasaki Grill's Chef Yoshi-San.

As a 16-year-old student from Belmont High School in Los Angeles, Ralph Lazo chose to go to the Manzanar concentration camp in Owens Valley, California with his Japanese American classmates and their families. He was imprisoned for three years before being drafted by the U.S. Army and sent to the Pacific theater.

The 30-minute educational narrative, which has been adopted by many school districts in California as part of the curriculum, explores the enduring values of friendship and loyalty between Lazo and his Japanese American Nisei friends.  In addition to the RCI, other sponsors of the event included the other sponsors of the event included the Asian Chambers of Commerce, The Victoria Foundation, Chinese American Citizens Alliance-Phoenix chapter, Japanese American Citizens League-Phoenix chapter, Doris Asano, Asian American Scholarhship Fund, Judy Bernas, Chicanos Por La Causa, Tomas Leon/People of Color Network, Lisa Loo, Dr. Richard & Peggy Matsuishi, Ted and Michele Namba, Natural Air Technologies, Jim Shee and Marian Tadano, Jason Tadano, Masako Takiguchi, Stephen Tsang, Kevin Uehara/BP Printing, West Valley Foundation.  Special Thanks to the five Nikkei for Civil Rights Committee members, Kathy Masaoka, Carrie Morita, Steve and Patty Nagano and Suzy Katsuda. 

The Stand for Justice Curriculum is available by contacting the Raul H. Castro Institute by email or phone.