Today, about 2.2 million people are incarcerated in jails and prisons in the U.S., the highest rate of incarceration of any country on the planet, and a 500% increase in the rate of incarceration from 40 years ago. While Black people make up only about 12% of the U.S. population, about 33.4% of people in U.S. prisons and jails are Black. The systematic targeting of Black communities by racist policing and incarceration policies is a major focus of racial justice movements including Black Lives Matter.

Nikkei communities in the U.S. have our own, but very different, experiences of incarceration during World War II. We aim to hold a compassionate and challenging conversation to draw connections between our own community’s history of racist incarceration to current struggles for racial justice and against incarceration. We’ll also explore how Nikkei communities could benefit from collectively taking a stand against unjust incarceration, and highlight some current Chicago efforts to say no to racist policing and incarceration.

This workshop is designed for people of the Japanese diaspora living in the U.S. to explore these issues and experiences, but is open to everyone. This workshop will be discussion based and will draw upon the knowledge of participants and facilitators