Racism and renewal

At Portland IndyMedia, journalist and author Lawrence Maushard notes that this May is the 66th anniversary of the internment of Portland's Japanese-American population during World War II -- including Sho Dozono's grandparents, U.S. citizens of Japanese descent.

With businessman Sho Dozono a major player in this year's mayoral campaign -- the primary is set for May 20 -- an incredible local cycle of racism, exile, and endurance has finally come full circle.

That's because May also marks the 66th anniversary of the eradication of the city's thriving Japantown business district when the area's entire population of Japanese and Japanese Americans was forced into a makeshift WWII internment camp at the former Portland International Exhibition stockyards - site of the current Expo Center on North Marine Drive.

Born in Japan and arriving in Portland about a decade after the war when he was 10 years old, Dozono himself was not involved in the American war-time internment of more than 110,000 Japanese nationals and US citizens of Japanese descent. His grandparents, US citizens residing in Portland, however, were internees and had all their assets seized and never returned, according to a Dozono campaign document.

So the symbolism of someone at the threshold of ultimate political power in a city that had jailed and exiled that candidate's entire ethnic community within the living memory of its senior citizens resonates deeply among those who will never forget just how far they have been forced to travel.

Read the rest of the in-depth and extensive personal story of one family's internment. Discuss over there.


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