There is still a need…

A week ago, there was a small 5 min segment in the local news covering an anti-Muslim protest at the Yorba Linda Community Center. The news coverage was vague, focusing on the angry mob of protestors that seemed to be upset over a Muslim event being held at the community center. But after reading a few equally vague articles from the OC register, here are some specifics: the event was hosted by the Islamic Circle of North America, it was a fundraiser to help aid relief efforts that would provide funding for women’s housing, disaster  response, and funeral assistance. Obviously, the fundraiser was not the cause of the controversy, but the people that were hosting and attending the event. Generalizations, and racism was rampant in the signs that the protestors were carrying, and the terse slogans they were chanting. The so-called peaceful protest targeted American Muslims, for being, American Muslim. I remember the 5 second interview broadcasted on the local news when one American Muslim man said the following words: “they told me to go back to where I came from, I’m from Fullerton.” I remember when these words were said to me not too long ago, after a video clip of Pearl Harbor was shown in my first grade classroom. The parallels between the Japanese American community during WWII and the American Muslim community post 9/11 are numerous. The targeted group is different, the culture and the language may be different, but the discrimination is the same. That is why the need for youth programs such as Bridging Communities, that help high school students realize these parallels are so vital in today’s post 9/11 society. With that said, Bridging Communities started off strong this past Saturday with 32 participants and positive reviews! To which other parallels can you draw to other communities with the Japanese American community? Are there other ways that the Japanese American community/People of Color communities can utilize to help fight Islamaphobia? -Yuka Ogino

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