Born in 1908 in Mississippi, Mamie Kirkland died in 2019 at age 111.

Nikkei Progressives in collaboration with the National Nikkei Reparations Coalition (NNRC) invites you to a virtual program on Thursday, June 2. 

The program will start with the screening of the film “100 Years from Mississippi” at 5 p.m. followed by a conversation with the filmmaker, Tarabu Betserai Kirkland, and Nobuko Miyamoto, founder of Great Leap. NP/NCRR Reparations Committee members Nick Nagatani and Sequoia Mercier will co-moderate the conversation and Q&A from the audience.

Ayaka Nakaji of NP/NCRR expressed the hope that the film will encourage many of us to learn more about the history of violence that Black people faced after slavery and continue to face today as well as the joy with which Mamie Kirkland lived her life. Her son, Tarabu, and Miyamoto will share their memories and what her life can teach us. 

Register for the program at http://tinyurl.com/NNRC100 and a link will be provided to see the film and to join the conversation following the screening.

This film screening and conversation is capping off NNRC’s Week of Action to build support for HR 40, a bill to establish a commission to study and make reparations proposals for African Americans. The newly formed National Nikkei Reparations Coalition (NNRC) held three major events during the Week of Action, starting on May 21 with a program on “Strengthening Japanese and Black Solidarity Through Action.”  Musicians Jon Jang and James Newton opened the program with inspiring words about their long relationship performing around the world and demonstrating that solidarity through their music. 

That theme continued with a powerful panel of speakers that included Kennis Henry of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA), Miya Iwataki of the NP/NCRR Reparations Committee, Akemi Kochiyama (granddaughter of Yuri) of the Yuri Kochiyama Solidarity Fund, and Dreisen Heath of Human Rights Watch. 

This was also the official public launch of the NNRC, which held a workshop on May 23 to provide a background on its formation, its Unity Principles (evolving as we learn), what forms reparations can take and what the strategy is now around HR 40 and the push for an executive order. Both of these programs were recorded.

The last event of the Week of Action was a Day of Action on May 25 where we gathered on Zoom to make calls/write emails to the White House and sent out Instagram posts, etc. after an educational on reparations and the necessity/urgency for the executive order (before Juneteenth). There were five sessions during the day that were co hosted by our partners in the HR 40 Coalition: Dems Abroad Reparations Task Force; Dems Abroad Global AAPI Caucus; Reparations4Slavery; and many sponsorships from Japanese American organizations who have joined the NNRC.

It was exciting to see participants join in from all over the country, including southern rural Virginia, Denver, Seattle, Tucson, Nashville, D.C., New York state, Texas, Minnesota, Michigan and all the way from Mexico City, Leipzig and Berlin, committed to speading the information and documents to their organizations and networks.

If you missed the session, you can still take action and find information for calling and emailing on your own here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WfQpyU_zuXbd3CXTQ7A5L1ZeGqiEnR329BzMK6mivow/edit

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