The Atlanta shootings and the alarming number of anti-Asian attacks have triggered painful conversations about race all over America, and Alaska is no different.
On Monday’s Juneau Afternoon, a look at why this hits all too close to home for some.
One only has to look to a snow-covered park above the State Capitol, where a bronze, empty chair sits to remember John Tanaka. He was the valedictorian in May of 1942, but never got to attend his graduation ceremony, because his family was uprooted and sent to an internment camp during World War II.
KTOO’s Rhonda McBride talks with Mary Lou Spartz of Juneau, who just turned 90 this month. She recalls losing one of her best friends, Alice Tanaka, when the Tanakas were forced out of their homes and sent to a Japanese internment camp at Minidoka, Idaho. Also interviewed: Marie Nash and Sam Kito, Jr., two Alaskans who spent some of their childhood at that same camp.
Other guests: Leslie Ishii, Jennifer Quinto and Grace Jang reflect on today’s flare up of racism against Asian-Americans. Ishii is the artistic director of Perseverance Theatre in Juneau and works with Asian theatre groups across the country. Jennifer Quinto is an artist and educator in Juneau, a frequent writer of columns about racism. Grace Jang is a veteran Alaska television journalist who worked in Gov.Bill Walker’s administration as Communications Director and later, Deputy Chief of Staff. Most recently, Jang handled communications for the U.S. Senate Energy Committee, when Sen. Lisa Murkowski was chairman.
Join the conversation on Juneau Afternoon, live at 3:00 p.m. on KTOO Juneau 104.3, online at KTOO.org, and repeated at 4:00 p.m. on KRNN 102.7.