Hirabayashi family will donate Medal of Freedom to UW


Gordon Hirabayashi

Nearly 70 years after defying an order by the United States government to be interned, Gordon Hirabayashi was given the highest civilian honor — the Presidential Medal of Freedom. But Mr. Hirabayashi was not there to receive his medal. He had died four months earlier.

On Saturday, Feb. 22, Susan Carnahan, Gordon Hirabayashi’s widow, will present Hirabayashi’s Presidential Medal of Freedom to his alma mater, the University of Washington.

The medal is part of the collection of Hirabayashi’s journals, recordings, legal papers, and photographs that the family has donated to UW Libraries special collections, where they are available to students, researchers, and the public. Plans to digitize portions of the collection are underway.

Ana Mari Cauce, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president of Office of the Provost and professor in the Psychology Department, will accept the Presidential Medal on behalf of the UW. In the near future, it will be on permanent display on the UW campus.

The presentation is one part of UW’s annual Day of Remembrance of the signing of Executive Order 9066 and on the occasion of the UW Libraries opening the Hirabayashi Collection, “Courage in Action: A Symposium on the Life and Legacy of Gordon K. Hirabayashi.”

The event, with emcee Lori Matsukawa of King 5 TV, will include speakers and exhibitions from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in UW’s Kane Hall. Speakers will include Judge Mary Schroeder, Senior Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Judge Schroeder wrote the 1987 opinion vacating Hirabayashi’s curfew and exclusion convictions on proof of the allegations of governmental misconduct. She will present Hirabayashi’s Timely Lessons About Courage.

Other speakers and moderators include:

• Lane Ryo Hirabayashi, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Asian American Studies, UCLA
• Roger Daniels, Ph.D., Charles Phelps Taft Professor Emeritus of History, University of Cincinnati
• Tetsuden (Tetsu) Kashima, Ph.D., Professor, Department of American Ethnic Studies and Adjunct Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Washington
• Anne Jenner, Pacific Northwest Curator, Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries
• Gail Nomura, Ph.D., Associate Professor, American Ethnic Studies, University of Washington
In addition, the family of Gordon Hirabayashi will share their personal recollections. Panelists include:
• Susan Carnahan (Gordon Hirabayashi’s widow)
• Esther Furugori (Gordon’s sister)
• Sharon Yuen (Gordon’s daughter)
• Marion Oldenburg (Gordon’s daughter)
• Jay Hirabayashi (Gordon’s son)
• Alisha Hurley (Susan Carnahan’s daughter)
• Kim Furugori (Gordon’s niece, Esther’s daughter)

Stephen Sumida, Ph.D., UW professor of American Ethnic Studies, will perform an excerpt from Hold These Truths by Jeanne Sakata (which will receive a staged reading at the Theatre Off Jackson on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23).
Jay Hirabayashi, executive director of Kokoro Dance, which organizes the Vancouver (B.C.) International Dance Festival, will perform a brief Butoh dance in honor of his parents.

And “Civil Disobedience!” — an exhibit of Hirabayashi papers, will be in the Allen Library from 1 p.m.–5 p.m.
The day will include a book signing by Professor Lane Ryo Hirabayashi, co-author of A Principled Stand: the Story of Gordon Hirabayashi v. United States (University of Washington Press, 2013), which he wrote with his uncle Gordon and his father, the late James Hirabayashi. The UW Press and the University Book Store will be in the Walker Ames room in Kane Hall from 3 p.m.–4 p.m. (end)

Admission to the symposium is free, but advance registration is requested. Visit UWalum.com/Hirabayashi.

For more information, call 206-543-9389.

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